A recent study out of Stanford University described the 5 most important factors to consider in assessing a future IVF success. I will describe what the 5 factors are below.
The findings of this study are of no surprise to those of us in the fertility field but I think that it is very important for every patient to know about these factors not after their first failed cycle but before they go through their first IVF cycle.
If you’re aware of the predictors of success as you go through a cycle you will go into the 2 week wait with the right set of expectations. Become educated about the predictors of success beforehand. Then if it doesn’t work, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether it is worth it for you to go through another cycle.
1. Higher rates of blastocyst formation from fertilized eggs. A blastocyst is a sphere of about 150 cells that forms after the egg is fertilized. A beautiful video can be seen here: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/cellmovie.htm. We use the term “day 5 transfer” when referring to an embryo transferred 5 days after an egg retrieval. This is the same thing as a blastocyst transfer.
2. Total amount of gonadotropin that is administered. Gonadotropins are the hormones a woman takes to stimulate her ovaries. Women can now inject these hormones into the skin of the stomach. The needles are no more than 5 mm in length. There are a number of different drug companies that make these hormones but basically women take a combination of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) to stimulate eggs to grow.
3. The number of 8-celled embryos. An 8 cell embryo is the goal for embryo development 3 days after fertilization. Image pictured on the right.
4. Whether embryos were cryopreserved . If you have embryos frozen (cryopreserved) after a fresh IVF cycle this will allow you to transfer embryos for a future pregnancy without going through another IVF cycle.
5. The age of the patient. We all know that it becomes increasingly more difficulty to conceive as we get older.
Whether you’re about to start your first IVF cycle or your second or third, knowing about the 5 factors above will help you.
Click here http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/07/16/1002296107 for access to this study