Does IVF Get You Pregnant?

Medically Reviewed on 1/17/2023
In vitro fertilization
Various factors can impact the success rate of in vitro fertilization.

Many factors impact in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates, including the cause of infertility, age, medical history, the state of the egg, and how the egg is stored.

Though there is no assurance that IVF will result in a pregnancy or a healthy baby, there are things you may do to improve your chances, which may involve:

  • Investigating clinic success rates
  • Adjusting your food and lifestyle for fertility
  • Addressing any underlying issues
  • Choosing procedures, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection
  • Preimplantation genetic testing when advised

According to statistics from the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, the rate of one egg retrieval cycle resulting in a live birth is:

  • 41 to 43 percent for individuals younger than 35 years
  • 33 to 36 percent for individuals younger than 35 to 37 years
  • 23 to 27 percent for individuals younger than 38 to 40 years
  • 13 to 18 percent for individuals older than 40 years

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy entails extracting an egg from a person's ovaries and fertilizing it in a laboratory with sperm. A fertilized egg is called an embryo. This is returned to the uterus to develop.

If you have trouble conceiving or want to be a single parent, IVF is an option.

What happens in IVF?

Usually, one in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle will last between four and six weeks in most women.

The six steps of the IVF process include:

  1. Suppression of the ovaries
    • Medications could be used to cease egg production in the ovaries.
    • This increases the effectiveness of the drug used in the following step of treatment.
  2. Ovarian stimulation
    • Hormone therapy helps the ovaries produce more than one egg at a time, unlike your natural cycle.
    • This can be self-administered using daily injections or a nasal spray.
    • Ultrasound scans are performed daily or one time every two days during your ovarian stimulation to assess how your ovaries react and look for symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
  3. Egg retrieval
    • The eggs will be retrieved using a needle inserted into your vagina in a clinical setting.
    • This process requires the administration of anesthesia and pain relievers.
    • You may go home after the procedure, but you could need assistance to drive home.
    • You are recommended to get rest.
  4. Sperm collection
    • Your partner could be requested to provide a sperm sample at the same time the eggs are retrieved.
    • If their sperm count is insufficient or of poor quality, other options in addition to IVF are intracytoplasmic sperm injection and sperm donation.
  5. Fertilization of the eggs
    • Both eggs and sperm are placed together in an incubator such that the eggs can be fertilized by the sperm.
    • The fertilized egg becomes an embryo.
    • Embryos are incubated for up to six days.
  6. Embryo transfer
    • The embryos are subsequently implanted in the uterus using a catheter through the vagina.
    • You and your doctor will discuss the number of embryos to be transplanted.
    • More than two embryos should not be transplanted at the same time.
    • This decision could be dependent on certain factors, such as:
      • Age of the woman and egg
      • Quality of embryos
      • The success rate of previous IVF cycles

What factors impact successful IVF?

Various factors can impact the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF), such as:

  • The quantity and quality of the eggs or embryo
  • The amount and quality of sperm
  • The stimulation protocols and timing of ovulation
  • The responsiveness of the endometrium or uterine lining for implantation
  • Minimal complexity of the process of embryo transfer

The person’s age significantly influences the quality of the egg and embryo. After 32 years, things start to get more complex. By the time a person turns 40 years, their chances of getting pregnant drop by about 13 percent.

Suppose the person had a successful pregnancy earlier, the odds of conceiving with IVF increase. IVF could be less likely to succeed if the person has a reproductive issue, such as fibroid tumors or uterine abnormalities.

Lifestyle factors, such as cigarette smoking, vaping, alcohol use, or drug use, and a high body mass index can impair pregnancy success.

Fertility physicians conduct several tests to determine people's reproductive and physical health before they undergo IVF.

Doctors consider ovarian age to determine the dosage and type of fertility medicine to employ during an IVF round. The ovarian age is determined using a hormone test called antimullerian hormone (AMH).


Men and women are equally likely to have fertility problems. See Answer

Who could be able to conceive faster with IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) typically helps people overcome fertility issues and conceive quickly.

  • Reduced ovarian reserve: Because the quality and number of a person’s eggs decline with age, those who are older than 35 years find difficulties conceiving without IVF.
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes:
    • Pelvic inflammatory illness or past abdominal or pelvic surgery damages the fallopian tubes and impairs fertility.
    • Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes, and any damage to the fallopian tubes reduces the chances of fertilization.
    • IVF surpasses these obstacles.
    • The eggs will be fertilized by an embryologist, and the embryo will be transferred directly to the uterus by a fertility specialist.
  • Endometriosis: The uterine lining begins to develop in other regions, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries, which cause infertility. IVF could help conceive.
  • Ovulation disorders:
    • Individuals with ovulation issues, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, have difficulty ovulating.
    • Ovulation medicines used during an IVF cycle can help overcome these obstacles.
  • History of miscarriages or unsuccessful fertility treatments: IVF could be beneficial for people who have had numerous miscarriages or fertility procedures that did not result in conception.
  • Male infertility: People with sperm abnormalities may benefit from IVF in addition to using intracytoplasmic sperm injection. An embryologist injects the egg with a single healthy sperm.

What are the side effects of IVF?

The common side effects of in vitro fertilization (IVF) include:

  • Higher chances of multiple births, which can cause complications; precautions are made to minimize this risk
  • Risk of preterm delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Medication-induced side effects

More serious side effects of IVF

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
    • Because of the effects of medication, the ovaries become enlarged and painful. Symptoms include:
    • Severe instances can be dangerous, and you will require immediate medical assistance. Your current treatment cycle could be terminated and restarted with a lower dose of fertility medication.
  • Borderline ovarian tumors
    • Abnormal cells grow in the ovarian tissue.
    • Are not cancerous and are generally treated surgically.
    • People who undergo IVF have a slight chance of developing borderline ovarian tumors in the future.
  • Miscarriage
    • Quite common.
    • The chance of miscarriage and birth abnormalities rises with age.
Medically Reviewed on 1/17/2023
Image Source: iStock image

In vitro fertilization (IVF).

A Step-By-Step Look at the IVF Process.

IVF – In Vitro Fertilization.