15 eggs optimal for IVF live birth

August 1, 2011

Researchers in England have found a strong link between the number of eggs retrieved in a single cycle of in vitro fertilization and live birth rate.

Researchers in England have found a strong link between the number of eggs retrieved in a single cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and live birth rate. They say fertility doctors should retrieve about 15 eggs to have the best odds of a live birth while minimizing the risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Although previous studies have looked at the association between numbers of eggs and rates of pregnancy, this is the first study to look at the relationship between number of eggs retrieved and live births.

The researchers evaluated data from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, which contains information on 400,135 IVF cycles that occurred throughout the UK between April 1991 and June 2008.

During 2006 to 2007, the investigators found the predicted live birth rate for 15 eggs retrieved from women 18 to 34 years of age to be 40%.

For women 35 to 37 years of age, those 38 to 39 years of age, and those 40 years and above, the predicted live birth rates were 36%, 27%, and 16%, respectively. The researchers found a steady increase in the live birth rate per egg retrieved over time since 1991.

Sunkara SK, Rittenberg V, Raine-Fenning N, Bhattacharya S, Zamora J, Coomarasamy A. Association between the number of eggs and live birth in IVF treatment: an analysis of 400 135 treatment cycles. Hum Reprod. May 10, 2011. Epub ahead of print.