Understanding Pregnancy Rates and Treatment Options
by Genoveva N. Prisacaru, M.D., FACOG
When it comes to calculating likelihood of conceiving, every scenario is different. For those struggling with fertility issues and considering options to help increase their chances, the stakes are even higher.
In general, the natural chance of pregnancy per month of ovulation depends on the age of the woman, starting at 20% in her 20s for a couple with proven fertility in the past and dropping by 5-10% every ten years to 15% within her 30s and to just 5% within her 40s. Couples considering Artificial Reproductive Techniques (ART) should realize that it is intensively emotional, physically arduous and expensive. One of the first questions that often comes to mind is “What really is the chance for success?”
We see pregnancy success rates defined many ways: pregnancies per cycle, live births per cycle, live births per egg retrieval (or per embryo transfer).
The overall cycle fecundability* for intrauterine insemination (IUI) is about 17%, (using IUI + gonadotropins or Clomid /Femara ). For most IVF-ET (embryo transfer) technologies, the “take home baby rate” is about 27%, as documented per most IVF-ET registries.
The success rate for at home cervical cap-like insemination techniques is about 20%. (1,2). This rate is similar to both IUI and the chance of pregnancy with normal intercourse within the 20s age range.
Together, patients and their doctors can consider these and other factors—including any data on the causes of the couple’s infertility, costs, medical risks and side effects, and lifestyle impacts—to make the choice that is best for them.
*Fecundability- The probability of a woman conceiving within a given period of time, especially during a specific month or menstrual cycle.
1”Therapeutic donor insemination: A prospective randomized trial of fresh versus frozen sperm.” Leslee L. Subak, MD, G. David Adamson, MD, Nancy L. Boltz, RNC. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 166, Issue 6, Part 1, June 1992. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/1615966/
2”The cervical cap for home artificial insemination.” Corson SL, Batzer FR, Otis C, Fee, D. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, May 1986; 31(5)349-52. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/3746786/
Genoveva N. Prisacaru, M.D., FACOG, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Her practice, Seven Hills Women’s Health, serves South Austin, TX, and the surrounding area and is one of only two Ob/Gyn offices in Texas awarded with SCOPE certification (Safety Certification for Outpatient Practice Excellence) by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. www.sevenhillswomen.com.