IVF Success Rates By Age In 2024


Medically Reviewed

​​Dr. Ghazal is a double board certified fertility specialist, a Southern California native and an award-winning top doctor.
Sanaz Ghazal, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Fertility / Reproductive Health / Obstetrics and Gynecology
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A woman’s age is the main factor affecting the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Particularly after the mid-30s, and especially over the age of 40, IVF success rates start to drop off, in part due to the natural age-related decline in both egg quantity and quality as a woman ages. Further illustrating this point, a 2022 study found that the clinical pregnancy rate for women under 30 who’d undergone an embryo transfer was 69.4%, whereas for women ages 40 to 43, that figure declined to 9.4%[1].

That said, age isn’t the only factor at play when it comes to success in IVF, which is defined as a live birth. Here’s a look at what else may play a role in IVF success.

What Is IVF?

IVF is a form of fertility treatment in which an egg is fertilized in a laboratory with sperm.

During IVF, the ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs and then the eggs are removed from a person’s ovaries during an egg retrieval. After the retrieval, sperm is placed with mature eggs in the laboratory in order to fertilize them and create embryos. From there, an embryo is transferred back into the uterus, where it will hopefully develop and grow, resulting in the birth of a baby.

Why Use IVF?

A major reason why someone might turn to IVF is due to infertility. Infertility can be due to blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, complications of endometriosis or ovulatory problems. IVF may also be used in instances of male factor infertility, such as a low sperm count or a blockage.

“IVF is used when simpler fertility treatments just haven’t been successful—it’s sort of the next step up with a greater success rate,” says Valerie Baker, M.D., director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility and a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins, based out of Lutherville, Maryland.

Further, same-sex couples may turn to IVF in order to conceive, as IVF can be done using your own egg or sperm or that of a donor. IVF may also be used among people who carry serious genetic disorders that they would like to avoid passing on, in which case they could opt for preimplantation genetic screening to avoid using an embryo that carries a particular gene. Additionally, individuals would rely on IVF to conceive if they had previously frozen their eggs.

IVF Success Rates by Age

IVF success rates generally decline as the age of the person whose eggs are being used increases. In preliminary data for 2021, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reported the following numbers of live births per intended egg retrieval across age groups spanning from under 35 to over 42 years of age[2].

AgeLive births per egg retrieval (all embryo transfers)
Under age 3544.5%
Ages 35-3732.4%
Ages 38-4020.2%
Ages 41-429.6%
Over age 422.9%

IVF success rates using donor eggs are usually higher compared to older patients using their own eggs, assuming the donor eggs were from a younger woman[3]. It’s also important to remember that the risks to both the mother and the baby are higher when the mother is older at the time of pregnancy[4].

Success With Fresh vs. Frozen Embryos

“Historically, frozen embryos were associated with a lower success rate because the freeze and thaw methods were not as good and also because we were freezing embryos of lower quality. These methods have evolved a lot, such that now the fresh and frozen embryos are very comparable,” says Dr. Baker.

In SART’s preliminary data from its 2021 national report, for instance, it found that the transfer of fresh donor eggs resulted in a 41.4% live birth rate, whereas the transfer of frozen eggs had a rate of 39.1%[5].

Additionally, the success an individual sees with fresh versus frozen embryos can be “very personalized,” notes Shilpi Agrawala, M.D., a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist with Duke Obstetrics & Gynecology. Some people “have a tendency to do a little bit better with a fresh embryo transfer,” whereas others may benefit from waiting and doing a frozen embryo transfer when their body is no longer hormonally impacted by the IVF process, says Dr. Agrawala.

How Many Cycles of IVF Will I Need?

The number of IVF cycles needed to result in a live birth can vary significantly.

“For a woman with a high egg supply, it’s really common to have a viable embryo from their first cycle. If they have not only one but multiple embryos available, they can have a very good chance of getting pregnant with just one cycle,” says Dr. Agrawala.

However, if a person has a low egg supply or is older, more than one cycle of IVF may be necessary, explains Dr. Agrawala. “It’s not rare to need two egg retrievals,” she says, noting that ultimately, there’s “no absolute limit to the number of cycles that someone could do.” However, she notes that after six cycles, “there may be diminishing returns.”

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What Impacts IVF Success Rates?

According to Dr. Agrawala, “age is the greatest predictor of success in IVF.” However, it’s not the only factor impacting IVF success.

Egg supply plays a major role in IVF success. “The success of IVF is very tied to how many eggs are retrieved,” says Dr. Baker. A person’s egg supply and odds of success from IVF is usually measured through testing the levels of anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) in their blood.

Still, Dr. Baker cautions that “even if someone has a low AMH it doesn’t mean they can’t get pregnant—it just means they will get fewer eggs from any one egg retrieval.” Additionally, Dr. Agrawala notes that when it comes to natural conception, “AMH, no matter what number, does not predict having a live birth unassisted.”

Beyond age and egg supply, other factors that can influence IVF success rates are the cause of a person’s infertility(including the condition of their uterus), as well as a person’s weight and lifestyle factors, like smoking and alcohol and drug use[6][7].

How to Increase Chances of IVF Success

According to Dr. Agrawala, “the data is not super robust” when it comes to actions like taking certain supplements to increase an individual’s chances of IVF success. That said, some studies have suggested that adhering to the Mediterranean diet—a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes with limited sugar, sodium and processed foods—can positively impact IVF success rates[8].

Other actions that may increase an individual’s chances of IVF success include maintaining a healthy weight and steering clear of alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking during treatment[9]. Additionally, Dr. Baker recommends doing what you can to minimize stress throughout the procedure.

When to See a Doctor

Generally, it’s recommended to see a doctor if you’ve been having unprotected sex for a year and have not gotten pregnant (this guidance drops to six months for those over the age of 35). “The clock starts when you stop using contraception. Typically, [for most people who] just stop using contraception—even if they’re not actively monitoring—they really should be able to conceive,” says Dr. Baker.

Other groups who may consider seeing a doctor about their fertility options include single men and women hoping to have a child, same-sex couples and people who know they’re at risk of having a child with a serious genetic disease, says Dr. Baker. Additionally, Dr. Baker advises those who have experienced miscarriages to “go in and have an evaluation and not necessarily wait the full time.”

People should consider seeing a doctor “whenever they want, as soon as they have concern,” says Dr. Agrawala. “I think that it is a long and hard discussion to have, and you should do it with a board-certified or board-eligible reproductive endocrinologist who can help you best decide what—if anything—you want to do.”

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