ART Success Rates

ART includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are manipulated

ART Success Rates by Cause and Women's Age

A national survey provided by the CDC Division of Reproductive Health answers a common question by women concerning age and fertility success rates. The answer often depends on the cause of the infertility. As the science of reproductive medicine continues to advance it offers women of all ages more options.

What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

Although various definitions have been used, ART includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are manipulated. In general, ART involves surgically removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman's body or donating them to another woman. It does NOT include procedures in which only sperm are manipulated (i.e., artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination) or procedures in which a woman takes drugs only to stimulate egg production, without the intention of having eggs retrieved.

The Types of ART Include:

  • IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
  • GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)
  • ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)
  • TET (Tubal Embryo Transfer)

In Addition, ART is Categorized by the Following:

  • Nondonor (a woman's own eggs)
  • Donor (eggs from another woman)
  • Fresh (newly fertilized embryos)
  • Frozen (previously fertilized, frozen, and then thawed embryos)

Four basic ART types

IVF (in vitro fertilization)
Involves extracting a woman's eggs, fertilizing the eggs in the laboratory, and then transferring the resulting embryo(s) into the woman's uterus through the cervix.
GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer)
Involves using a fiber-optic instrument called a laparoscope to guide the transfer of unfertilized eggs and sperm (gametes) into the woman's fallopian tubes through small incisions in her abdomen.
ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer)
Involves fertilizing a woman's eggs in the laboratory and then using a laparoscope to guide the transfer of the fertilized eggs (zygotes) into her fallopian tubes.
ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection)
Involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg; the embryos are then cultured and transferred as in standard IVF.
Types of ART Procedures Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos 2010
Types of ART Procedures Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos, 2010 (chart courtesy CDC)

What are the causes of infertility among couples who use ART?

The diagram below shows the infertility diagnoses reported among couples who had an ART procedure using fresh nondonor eggs or embryos in 2010. Diagnoses range from one infertility factor in one partner to multiple factors in either one or both partners. However, diagnostic procedures may vary from one clinic to another, so the categorization also may vary.

Tubal Factor
Means that the woman's fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, making it difficult for the egg to be fertilized or for an embryo to travel to the uterus.
Ovulatory Dysfunction
Means that the ovaries are not producing eggs normally. Such dysfunctions include polycystic ovary syndrome and multiple ovarian cysts.
Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Means that the ability of the ovary to produce eggs is reduced. Reasons include congenital, medical, or surgical causes or advanced age.
Endometriosis
Involves the presence of tissue similar to the uterine lining in abnormal locations. This condition can affect both fertilization of the egg and embryo implantation.
Uterine Factor
Involves the presence of tissue similar to the uterine lining in abnormal locations. This condition can affect both fertilization of the egg and embryo implantation.
Male Factor
Refers to a low sperm count or problems with sperm function that make it difficult for a sperm to fertilize an egg under normal conditions.
Other Causes of Infertility
Include immunological problems, chromosomal abnormalities, cancer chemotherapy, and serious illnesses.
Unexplained Cause
Means that no cause of infertility was found in either the woman or the man.
Multiple Factors (female only)
Means that more than one female cause was diagnosed.
Multiple factors (female and male)
Means that one or more female causes and male factor infertility were diagnosed.
Infertility Diagnoses Among Patients Who Had ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs of Embryos, 2010
Infertility Diagnoses Among Patients Who Had ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs of Embryos, 2010 (chart courtesy CDC)

Does the cause of infertility affect the chances of success using ART?

The diagram below shows the percentage of live births after an ART procedure according to the primary cause of infertility. (See the glossary for an explanation of the diagnoses.) Although the national average was about 29%, the percentage of ART cycles that resulted in live births varied somewhat depending on the couple's diagnosis. However, the use of these diagnostic categories may vary from clinic to clinic, and the definitions are imprecise.

Percentages of ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos That Resulted in Live Births, by Diagnosis, 2010
Percentages of ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos That Resulted in Live Births, by Diagnosis, 2010 (chart courtesy CDC)

Do ART success rates differ among women of different ages?

A woman's age is the most important factor affecting the chances of a live birth when her own eggs are used. The diagram below shows percentages of pregnancies, live births, and singleton live births for women of different ages who had ART procedures using fresh nondonor eggs or embryos in 2010. Percentages of ART cycles resulting in live births and singleton live births are different because of the high percentage of multiple-infant deliveries counted among the total live births. The percentage of multiple-infant births is particularly high among women younger than 35. Among women in their 20s, percentages of ART cycles resulting in pregnancies, live births, and singleton live births were relatively stable; however, percentages declined steadily from the mid-30s onward.

Percentages of ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos That Resulted in Pregnancies, Live Births, and Singleton Live Births, by Age of Women, 2010
Percentages of ART Cycles Using Fresh Nondonor Eggs or Embryos That Resulted in Pregnancies, Live Births, and Singleton Live Births, by Age of Women, 2010 (chart courtesy CDC)

What are the ages of women who have an ART procedure?

The average age of women using ART services in 2010 was 36. The largest group of women using ART services were women younger than 35, representing 39% of all ART cycles performed in 2010. 20.3% of ART cycles were performed among women aged 35-37, 20.3% among women aged 38-40, 10.2% among women aged 41-42, 5.7% among women aged 43-44, and 4.6% among women older than 44.

ART Used by Age group, United States 2010
ART Used by Age group, United States 2010 (chart courtesy CDC)