First Steps

Are you wondering about your personal chances of pregnancy success with in vitro fertilization (IVF)? We share five tips to help you make the most out of your IVF cycle.

1. See a doctor promptly
Whether conceiving on your own or with fertility treatments, do not wait until it is too late to seek help for pregnancy. The younger you are, the more likely it is that you will achieve pregnancy success with IVF.

To increase your chances of IVF success, it is best to seek help from a fertility specialist as early as you can. Fertility specialists recommend the following if you are unable to get pregnant on your own:

  • Seek help after one year of trying if you are under age 35.
  • Seek help after six months of trying if you are over age 35.

2. Seek female fertility testing
When pregnancy does not come easily, it is important to see a doctor to find out if health problems could be making you infertile. Your OB/GYN or a reproductive endocrinologist may run many tests to evaluate your reproductive health. They will be looking for structural problems, hormonal, or ovulation irregularities, among other causes of infertility.

3. Encourage your partner to get male fertility testing
Many couples that are unable to conceive are not just experiencing problems with female infertility. Many couples have infertility issues that stem from both the male and the female. Male infertility problems can contribute to up to half of all couples’ infertility. Your partner should have a full semen analysis done to rule out male fertility issues. He may hesitate to get tested, but it could increase your chances of IVF success.

4. Choose the right clinic
It is important to screen potential fertility clinics and fertility specialists wisely. Ask questions at your first appointment and be an active participant in your treatment.

You can even look up IVF success rates at fertility clinics near you. Ask potential doctors about the ages of patients that he or she has treated, and his or her preferred methods of treatment. Does your doctor have experience treating your specific age group and medical condition? Share your concerns with your doctor and choose wisely.

5. Learn about embryo transfer
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) has clear recommendations regarding the number of embryos transferred during IVF. Usually, younger women have a greater chance of getting pregnant with fewer embryos.

Why not transfer many embryos, no matter what your age is? Transferring two or more embryos might increase your chances of pregnancy, but it can also increase your chances of pregnancy complications and multiple birth. (Remember Octomom?) A birth of multiples can put you at a greater risk for premature delivery and health problems for your babies.

Predicting IVF success
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can affect your chances of IVF success. In vitro fertilization is a very emotional and stressful experience for everyone involved, and it takes a lot of time, work and money to get to a healthy pregnancy. Do not feel guilty about your feelings as you work towards your dream. It is normal to experience many difficult emotions when going through IVF.

It is important to be open and honest with your fertility specialist. Ask your doctor about the different factors that might affect your IVF cycle and make sure you have an infertility support network to get you through.


  • CDC. 2006 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report: Commonly Asked Questions.
  • American Pregnancy Association. In Vitro Fertilization: IVF.
  • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Acupuncture Shows Promise in Improving Rates of Pregnancy Following IVF.
  • CDC. 2006 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report: Commonly Asked Questions.
  • The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Practice Committee of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. SART. Success Rates. 2009