Optimum Number of Eggs for IVF Success is 15

Live birth rate decreases when more than 20 eggs are retrieved by ovarian stimulation

THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- The chances of success after in vitro fertilization (IVF) are maximized when 15 eggs are retrieved during ovarian stimulation, according to a study published online May 10 in Human Reproduction.

Sesh Kamal Sunkara, M.R.C.O.G., from King's College London, and colleagues examined the relationship between the number of eggs retrieved during ovarian stimulation and live birth following IVF treatment in order to identify the optimal number of eggs for successful IVF outcome. Data were acquired from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority on 400,135 IVF cycles carried out in the United Kingdom between April 1991 and June 2008. Based on the number of eggs and the age of the woman, a nomogram was produced to predict the live birth rate (LBR) after IVF.

The investigators found that, on average, nine eggs were retrieved per cycle. For each fresh IVF cycle, the LBR was 21.3 percent. A strong correlation was identified between the number of eggs and the LBR, with the LBR rising as the number of eggs increased, up to approximately 15. The LBR stabilized between 15 and 20 eggs and decreased steadily with more than 20 eggs. The LBR per egg retrieved has increased steadily since 1991.

"Our results show a strong relationship between the number of eggs and the LBR in a fresh IVF cycle. The best chance of live birth was associated with the number of eggs of around 15 and showed a decline with >20 eggs," the authors write.

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