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Under Right Conditions, Fertility Treatment Can Equal Natural Conception Rates: Study
Date:6/27/2012

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- With enough cycles and the right egg and age of a woman, the chances of in vitro fertilization resulting in a baby approaches that of natural conception, a large new study finds.

A woman's age is the best predictor of whether in vitro fertilization will result in a baby, with women under age 34 having the greatest chances of success. But older women can largely overcome poorer odds by using donor eggs from a younger woman, according to the research.

Those are among the findings of a massive study on in vitro fertilization that, while offering few surprises, provides what experts say is the most detailed, nuanced look at who is likely to be successful using assisted reproductive technology.

"What this study does is look at a woman's chances of conception based on adding all cycles together and taking into account her age, the diagnosis that brought her in for fertility treatments, whether there were additional embryos [preserved] and the stage the embryos were transferred," said lead study author Barbara Luke, professor and epidemiologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing. "When women come in for treatment, there isn't a simple answer about their chances of conception. There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration."

For example, after the third treatment cycle, women aged 31 and younger had a 63 percent to 75 percent chance of ending up with a baby, while women 41 or 42 using their own egg had a 19 percent to 28 percent chance. Those 43 or older had a 7 percent to 11 percent chance.

When donor eggs were used, the rates were much higher -- 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, for all ages.

"If you use a younger egg, you will vastly improve the chances of conception," Luke said.

In other findings: The chances of getting pregnant were higher when physicians transferred a "blastocyst embry
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