IVF Success Plummets After 2 Tries

Amy Kuras

needleHere's the good news: Almost two-thirds of couples who do IVF get pregnant on the first try. Here's the bad: After three unsuccessful tries, your chances of success are only about 35 percent. 

That's what scared us off IVF back when we were trying: It's incredibly expensive, around $10,000 to $15,000 per attempt. Insurance covers pretty much none of it in most states. And it's no walk in the park, from what I hear from friends: Daily injections with crazy-making hormones, the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, the need for frequent doctor's appointments, and the importance of nearly perfect timing take a toll. And then there's the two-week wait to test and see if all this effort at least led up to a pregnancy.

The stats hold true for less invasive treatments like intra-uterine insemination, which injects washed sperm right into the uterus (I can tell you from personal experience that those are exactly as much fun as they sound), or just several courses of fertility drugs. The lead researcher on the study that gave us these happy stats said, "If women are not getting pregnant after several cycles, a change to a different strategy is probably warranted." Really, you think so? Sheesh.

A new test may be able to predict the chances of success in future IVF cycles, but it's still being studied. Until then, knowing that "just one more try" is unlikely to be successful without changing things up a little can help you goose your doctor into action. Our frustration with our clinic experience was that we felt we were being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach; being able to say, "This didn't work, let's find out why and see what else we can do" would have felt like a little bit of control was handed back to us.

If you did IVF, how many tries did it take for you?

Image via RogueSunMedia/Flickr

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