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What Are My Chances of Success with Fertility Treatment?

Exploring success rates for IVF and IUI, the data behind the science, and other factors that can impact your results.

February 27th, 2024 | 17 min. read

By Ilana Ressler, MD, FACOG

Over 10 million babies have been born with the help of IVF treatment since 1978, making it the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). But with so many unique factors that can affect your outcome, you may wonder, "What are my personal chances of success as a fertility patient?"

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Balancing Hope with Reality

With today’s advanced technology, extensive fertility testing, innovative treatment options, and hyper-focused medical experts in place, we are able to ensure that every patient has the best chances of success. Add in the immense work, love, and determination that each patient provides, and the odds of a healthy pregnancy increase. 

Fertility clinic success rates now soar higher than ever before, and fertility doctors do everything in their power to help bring patients across the finish line - the start of their lives together with a new baby. 

Fertility doctors frequently receive heartwarming pictures of tiny babies in onesies that proudly declare, "Made with love and a little bit of science." Love is invaluable. Science is powerful. And yet, not every hopeful IVF patient will end up with a baby.

The Difficult Truth

As a reproductive endocrinologist, I witness every day how hard it can be to build a family. Some patients spend years in treatment, trying desperately to become parents or give their child a sibling. Their tenacity and courage are inspiring, and many of their stories do resolve with a happy ending.

In my work as a physician, one of the hardest conversations to have with patients comes well before any injections or pregnancy tests. It’s when I have to tell every patient that walks through my door that assisted reproductive technology (ART) is not a guarantee for anyone.

As an ethical, responsible doctor, I cannot promise you a baby. What I can promise is that we will utilize science, innovative technology, and problem-solving to give you the best odds of achieving your goals. But I can’t give you a guarantee. 

What is SART?

To help explain why ART doesn't always lead to a baby, let's explore data gathered by a trusted source in the field of fertility, called the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). This organization is focused on providing accurate data, IVF success rates, and clinical information for patients entering the world of fertility treatment.

SART collects data from over 86% of the nation’s IVF centers and organize it in clear "snapshot" reports, providing fertility patients with an idea of how their age range and cycle type performs at a particular practice.

A clinic that reports to SART is considered to be an honest clinic, as they must submit truthful data, all their successful (and unsuccessful) cycles, and use nationally-accredited laboratories. These clinics are committed to providing patients with the highest-quality care possible.

Note: Illume Fertility has been a proud member of SART since our founding in 2002.

Factors That Impact IVF Success

There are many biological and external factors that can impact your odds of success. Before we dig into the data, there are a few considerations to go over so that you truly understand the realistic likelihood of how well these individual treatments work on different groups of patients.

Let's start with the basics:

Biological Factors


This is a hugely important factor, as the age of the egg is one of the most important predictors of success. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and that supply runs out at menopause, though some women struggle with low egg quality or quantity much earlier.

Well before menopause, age begins to impact fertility, statistically seen starting in your mid-30s. Being less than 35 years old puts you in the best prognosis category, and there is a slow decline in success from that point. This is due not only to a decline in the quantity of eggs, but also in quality.

A normal egg has 23 chromosomes, and as women age, an increasing number of their eggs begin to have more or less than 23 chromosomes. This means that if fertilization occurs, the embryo will be aneuploid (with too many or too few chromosomes).

As women age, the ratio of "good" to "bad" eggs decreases, leading to higher rates of negative outcomes, miscarriages, and aneuploidy. Ultimately, it can be thought of as a numbers game - it’s all about finding that "golden egg."

Does age impact men's fertility?

Age does affect male fertility, but in a much slower, more subtle manner. Sperm quality does decline with age, but typically isn't a problem before age 60. Even with these changes, there is no male "menopause" or maximum age to father a child.

Note: There are additional genetic risks associated with advancing paternal age.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Having a healthy body mass index (BMI) is important when trying to conceive. A BMI of 19 to 24.9 is considered normal, less than 19 is classified as underweight, between 25-29.9 is overweight, and anything greater than 30 is classified as obese.

Some studies have shown that obesity decreases the chances of success with ART. Women with BMIs greater than 30 typically have lower pregnancy rates and higher miscarriage rates.

There are additional pregnancy-related risks associated with obesity, including gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and preeclampsia, a higher rate of needing a cesarean section, and some birth defects. Obesity in men may be associated with changes in testosterone and other hormone levels, as well as lower sperm counts and motility. 

If your BMI is 19 or below OR 30 or above, it is important to discuss it with your physician. Depending on other factors, including age, it might be recommended to attempt safe, balanced weight management prior to fertility treatment and/or seek assistance.

You should always consult with your fertility practice on their BMI limitations.

Note: At Illume Fertility, we require a BMI of less than 45 prior to starting an IVF cycle and less than 50 prior to starting an ovulation induction cycle to decrease the risk of medical complications.

Disorders & Diseases

Depending on the disorder or disease, a multitude of systems within the body could be affected. Consult with your doctor to better understand how your health history and current status can impact your success.

Genetics & Natural Occurrences

Sometimes, what you're born with can work against you. That's why it is important to undergo genetic testing and compare your personal genetic panel with your partner or donor.


Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a commonly used marker of a woman's fertility potential and ovarian reserve. The hormone is secreted from the egg follicles within the ovary and can be measured at any point in the menstrual cycle, even if you are on birth control pills.

If your AMH levels are low, this may indicate your ovarian reserve (i.e. amount of eggs "left" in your ovaries) is also lower than expected, and could pose a challenge. 

Low Egg Quality

While AMH can indicate the quantity of eggs, it can't measure quality. Egg quality can be affected by a number of contributing factors, but age is the most important one (and affects all women universally).

IVF Success Stories

Meet dozens of parents who built their families with the help of IVF treatment - from those impacted by breast cancer all the way to male factor infertility.

Read Their Stories

Lifestyle Habits


Optimizing overall health is important for increasing your chances of success with fertility treatment, as well as a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. The key is a good balance of the necessary vitamins and nutrients. It is important to consistently take a prenatal vitamin while trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy.

Some studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet is helpful for fertility. Other basic recommendations include eating food rich in antioxidants and omega-3s and avoiding processed foods and trans fats.

Balance is key, restriction is harmful. Maintaining good nutrition and achieving a healthy weight can increase fertility success. At Illume Fertility, we have two registered dietitian nutritionists on staff to guide you with personalized advice.

Physical Movement

As we all know, exercise has many benefits, such as helping to reduce long-term risks like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even some cancers. It also has a more immediate benefit on bone and muscle health, weight management, and brain health.

Note: Lack of regular exercise may also be associated with obesity, which is linked to several reproductive issues, as outlined above.

Movement is important, but modifications of your usual routine may be needed while undergoing fertility treatment, so always discuss with your doctor. Remember: There isn't one perfect exercise routine that is best for fertility (or for PCOS or other conditions), the key is simply finding physical activities you enjoy so that you actually want to do them!

Smoking & Drinking

It's no secret that smoking and excess alcohol intake are not good for us - there are a plethora of health issues they can both cause! Add a negative impact on fertility to the list.

Smoking in women is associated with lower pregnancy rates and increased risks of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It also speeds up the rate of egg loss, leading to earlier menopause (by 1 to 4 years).

Smoking in men can negatively impact semen parameters. It may also decrease the sperm’s ability to fertilize eggs. Heavy alcohol consumption (>2 drinks per day), use of recreational drugs and heavy caffeine consumption have all also been associated with reduced fertility.

External & Environmental Factors 

In addition to the above, there are other things that can directly or indirectly affect your success with fertility treatment. The external factors below continue to be studied for better understanding in the context of fertility. We always advise patients according to the most recent available data.

Occupational Hazards

Certain jobs may expose you to physical or mental interferences to pregnancy or conception.

Environmental Hazards

Even your living situation and location can affect fertility. Think: chemical agents, stress, noise levels, stability, safety, etc.

Medications or Other Treatments

Certain treatments have the potential to harm fertility, like radiation and chemotherapy, which are most often used in cancer treatments. Additionally, there are herbs and supplements we advise against when trying to conceive.

Anxiety & Other Emotional Stressors

We still don't know exactly how stress affects fertility, but some studies suggest a correlation between stress and fertility. Coping with the realities of fertility treatment can be very difficult at times, and we want to help you manage those feelings any way we can.

We always encourage patients to focus on their mental health. If you are a patient at Illume Fertility, please reach out to your Patient Navigator to get connected with more resources.

Your Odds of Success with Fertility Treatment

Now, let's get back to SART and how you can use this data to better understand your chances of having a baby with the help of fertility treatment. We will explore what the data says about different age groups, hurdles, and treatment pathways.

Remember to keep in mind the above influencers of fertility so that you can more accurately gauge where you might fall on the spectrum.

Disclaimer:  A comparison of clinic success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics, treatment approaches, and entry criteria for ART may vary from clinic to clinic. 

You can view our most recent detailed clinic summary report at

What are Illume Fertility's IVF success rates?

The data points below are pulled directly from the 2021 Clinic Summary Report, meaning they are specific to all IVF cycles performed at Illume Fertility during the 2021 year. That may seem outdated, but the 2021 data set is actually the most current and accurate set SART has to date.

Why? It takes a long time to fully acquire the data from a year’s worth of cycles - some people freeze embryos for later usage and pregnancy itself takes time. All cycles conducted in 2021 won’t necessarily have been completed for quite some time after 2021.

Knowing that these numbers are the most up to date, let’s dig in!

Live Births Per Intended Egg Retrieval

The number of live singleton births per intended egg retrieval (this includes all embryo transfers), using own eggs at Illume Fertility:

  • Age 35 or younger = 53.3%
  • Ages 35-37 = 43.5%
  • Ages 38-40 = 26.1%
  • Ages 41-42 = 12.9 %
  • Ages 42+ = 3.4 %

Live Births Per New Patient

The number of live singleton births per new patient, using own eggs at Illume Fertility (in other words, the odds of you having a baby using your own eggs doing IVF as a new patient at our practice, are as follows):

  • Age 35 or younger = 76%
  • Ages 35-37 = 69%
  • Ages 38-40 = 51.9%
  • Ages 41-42 = 32.1%
  • Ages 42+ = 10.3%

What is the national average IVF success rate?

As reported by SART, Illume Fertility's 76% success rate for new patients age 35 or younger was 8% higher than the 2021 national average for new patients age 35 or younger (68%).  

If you'd like to dig a little deeper into the data or compare national averages of these same demographics, visit SART. You can also utilize their interactive data tool to calculate your cumulative chances of success with IVF.

You will be able to specify if you are using your own eggs or donor eggs/embryos, look up information on implantation rates, and even use the success rates of various clinics to help determine which practice you choose to help with your family building.

Disclaimer: A comparison of clinic success rates may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics, treatment approaches, and entry criteria for ART may vary from clinic to clinic. 

What are Illume Fertility's IUI success rates?

SART does not currently collect data about the success rates for intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles. However, IUI success rates typically range from 5-15% per cycle, depending on the patient's situation.

Once again, age plays a big role in predicting success. Other important factors include the underlying diagnosis, a patient’s specific medical history, and the fertility medication being used to stimulate the ovaries.

IVF, step-by-step.

Learn everything you need to know about in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment by downloading our free Step-by-Step Guide to IVF now. 

Get My Guide

How do I increase my chances of success?

The best way to increase your chances of success is to focus on what is in your control. Let your lifestyle choices, nutrition, and physical movement work for you instead of against you. Together with your Care Team, you will create a plan to increase your odds.

Fertility Testing

Before devising a treatment plan to help you achieve your goals, your reproductive endocrinologist will have you (and your partner, if applicable) undergo a round of diagnostic tests that will evaluate your current fertility and uncover any hidden obstacles to conception. 

While jumping straight into treatment can feel tempting, it's critical to spend time completing your diagnostic cycle first to ensure no stone is left unturned. This will save you lots of time, money, and grief in the long run.

Holistic Fertility Support

At Illume Fertility, patients have access to our Integrated Fertility & Wellness (IFW) program, which offers holistic support focused on caring for your mind and body. We believe that community support groups, acupuncture, counseling, nutritional guidance, and movement (all disciplines within our IFW team), are critical in shaping your overall experience, and ultimately, your success.

If your practice does not have an in-house team dedicated to treating the whole patient (beyond their typical protocol), ask them for local recommendations to these types of mind/body connectors.

Scientifically proven to help improve your mental and physical wellbeing during treatment, these modalities can help you to clear your mind, connect with others, and learn more about yourself.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)

Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is another helpful tool for many patients, particularly those who are older. PGT can provide you with an assessment of your embryo quality during IVF and detect chromosomal and other structural abnormalities that might impact successful implantation or your future child's health.

Can I predict my outcome with IUI or IVF?

It’s important when beginning a fertility journey and using treatments like IUI or IVF to know that science, your doctors, and your support systems will do everything they can to help you achieve your dream of growing your family. And while there is no guarantee with any procedure, understanding the data is helpful to maintaining a hopeful, yet realistic outlook.

After absorbing all of this scientifically-backed data, you may want to dig deeper by checking out this tool on SART's website to better understand what your personal odds might look like. Remember, this is just a simple online tool and cannot substitute for a full fertility evaluation.

Only after a complete diagnostic workup and an consultation with a fertility specialist can you understand the full scope of what your personal odds are.

What if my odds of success are low?

Even if your likelihood of becoming pregnant with your own eggs or sperm is only 1%, our team here at Illume Fertility will do everything we can to make it happen. If you end up deciding to explore other pathways to parenthood (such as donor conception or surrogacy), we have a full team of professionals to help guide you from start to finish.

When to See a Fertility Doctor

If you are under the age of 35, in an opposite-sex relationship (male/female), and have been having unprotected sex for one year and haven't gotten pregnant, set up a visit with your OB/GYN or a fertility clinic for assistance. If you are over 35, this recommendation drops to only six months. 

However, if you are a single parent by choice, a same-sex couple, or someone who knows they are at risk of having a child with a serious genetic disease, talk to a fertility specialist right away. Additionally, if you have experienced one or more miscarriages (or simply feel concerned about trying to conceive) don't hesitate to set up a consultation sooner. 

Stay Hopeful About Your Future

We know these numbers can feel overwhelming, and may even dim your hope. But all this data speak is nothing without your love and commitment. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your mind and body while going through treatment. 

Take advantage of holistic support offerings such as acupuncture, counseling, movement, and support groups as you navigate your fertility journey and try to maintain balance and self-care throughout the process. 

Here's what we can guarantee you: If you bring the passion, your reproductive endocrinologist will bring the science. And if your hope is completely broken (which we understand), we will help you pick up the pieces, because that’s our job, and we love what we do. 

Helping you build your family is why we come to work every single day.

Ilana Ressler, MD, FACOG

Dr. Ilana Ressler is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist who joined the Illume Fertility team in 2017. Dr. Ressler has a special interest in treating patients with PCOS and advocating for ovarian and breast cancer awareness in the Jewish community through her advocacy work.

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