How Successful is IVF Each Time You Have It?
Article from medical experts from our clinic

How Successful is IVF Each Time You Have It?

Before you commit to a fertility journey and choose to undergo an IVF treatment cycle, you will naturally want to know more about its success rates. After all, knowing more about your chances of success will probably factor into your decision-making process. So, how successful is IVF likely to be if you decide to have the treatment? Is it always successful, or is it more likely to be successful a second time? Are there things you can do to help make it successful?

We have answered these questions and more for you below, so please read on if you want to learn more about the success rates involved with IVF. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us right away if you would like to hear more from an experienced professional about IVF treatments and how they may be your next step on the road to parenthood.

How Successful is IVF Overall?

There is no single overall success rate that can be associated with IVF treatment. This is because the success rate of the process will vary depending on the patient. A person’s age, general health, and the type of infertility they may be experiencing all have an impact on how successful any fertility treatment might be, with age being the most significant factor in most cases. 

In 2019, the NHS reported that the percentage of IVF treatments that were successful was:

  • 32% for patients under the age of 35
  • 25% for patients aged 35 to 37
  • 19% for patients aged 38 to 39
  • 11% for patients aged 40 to 42
  • 5% for patients aged 43 to 44
  • 4% for patients aged over 44

The patients recorded in these figures all used their eggs in their treatment, and the sperm used in their treatments were collected from their partners.

How to Make IVF Successful the First Time

Most things that a person can do to increase their chances of success with IVF are things they can do to increase their fertility potential overall. Most of these are lifestyle factors that doctors would recommend anyway, and can be implemented in a person’s everyday routine with little trouble:

  • Make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet (this includes healthy fats such as oily fish, avocado, whole dairy, and nuts)
  • Make sure you are getting moderate, regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight 
  • Make sure you are moderating alcohol consumption, or even avoiding it entirely
  • Make sure you are not smoking
  • Make sure you are not using recreational drugs
  • Try to reduce factors in life which may be causing stress

Is IVF More Successful the Second Time?

IVF is not always successful the first time. It may take cumulative attempts, after the first fresh embryo transfer, to see the procedure result in a viable pregnancy. The cumulative pregnancy rate from transferring embryos in multiple cycles (for instance, having one fresh embryo transfer and then 3 frozen embryo transfers after this) is higher than the pregnancy rate from having a single embryo transfer. This is because each transfer represents a new chance for success.

The cumulative chance of success with IVF increases the most with the first 3 cycles of treatment, but after this, the pregnancy rates per patient will likely start to plateau. 

We are sorry to say that patients who have experienced multiple failed fertility treatments will have lower chances of success in general, regardless of the number of cycles they undergo. Having one cycle after another will therefore not give them a significantly higher chance of success each time. Added to this is the fact that as time passes between treatment cycles, patients will be getting older and their eggs will be declining in quality.

The Success Rate of Frozen Embryo Transfers

The latest information available from the  Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) suggests that frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles have improved in recent years to the point where they are now slightly more successful than fresh embryo transfers (23%, compared to 21%). 

This progress is owed to advances in embryo freezing techniques, and increased use of single embryo transfers. As a result, patients can rest assured that FET is as likely to result in embryo implantation and pregnancy as a fresh transfer.

How Successful is IVF with Donor Eggs?

For some patients, the success rate of IVF is likely to be higher when using donor eggs, in comparison to trying to use their frozen eggs. This is particularly the case for patients aged 40 or over, where it has been found that the chance of achieving a successful pregnancy through cycles of IVF doubles when using donor eggs. If the patient is 43 or older, the chances increase again to around 7 times what they would have been if the patient chose to use their eggs instead.

This is likely to be the case because, statistically speaking, egg donors are likely to be younger. As a result, they are more likely to have a healthier ovarian reserve that produces eggs with a greater chance of developing into viable embryos.

How Successful is IVF with PCOS?

IVF is one of the most popular and widely used Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, it may only be necessary to take this step if it is not possible to manage PCOS with fertility drugs and medications, as well as lifestyle changes that may increase fertility potential overall.

Most patients with PCOS will find that they have at least a 20% chance of becoming pregnant with any one cycle of IVF.

Signs of a Successful IVF Treatment

We understand that the time between having an embryo transferred and the pregnancy test that will tell you if the treatment has been successful can feel like a very long, emotional wait. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms or signs in particular that you may experience during this time that will also confirm that the IVF treatment has been successful. This is because many of these same signs and symptoms will also be related to the fertility drugs and medication that may have been used as part of your treatment process.

Here, we have provided a list of common signs and symptoms that patients experience after an embryo transfer. Whether or not you experience them yourself, you may wish to take note so that you know you understand their role in the process:

Bleeding or Spotting

Bleeding or spotting is a common first sign of pregnancy, and seeing a small amount of blood in your underwear or when you wipe about a week after the procedure can often indicate successful implantation. Naturally, it is also often regarded as quite a concerning sign.

Spotting is also a common occurrence when taking certain hormonal medications, such as progesterone, during the 2 weeks after embryo transfer. Your doctor may instruct you to keep taking progesterone to help your body continue to produce the same level of hormones as it would in the early weeks of pregnancy.

As a result of both of these, spotting may or may not be a sign that the treatment was successful.


The increase in progesterone levels in your body can also lead to bloating. When this hormone increases, as it does when you are pregnant or taking fertility medication, your digestive tract can slow down and cause this uncomfortable sensation. 

This can be a symptom of periods, pregnancy, or taking progesterone during the IVF treatment and after the embryo transfer.

Changes in Discharge

If your fertility specialist prescribes progesterone in a vaginal preparation (meaning they prescribe suppositories, gel, or vaginal tablets) to use in the wait after your embryo transfer, there may also be changes to your vaginal discharge. These discharges in particular will have nothing to do with whether or not implantation was achieved. 

On the other hand, it is also possible to experience changes in your discharge which may be related to pregnancy. An increase in vaginal discharge specifically may, for instance, be an early sign that the treatment has been successful. Some patients may also notice a thin, white, mild-smelling discharge during the early weeks of pregnancy.


It is commonly known that cramping is one of the most noticeable signs of menstruation, but it may also be a sign that the embryo transfer was successful and a symptom of taking progesterone. It’s also possible that you are one of the many patients who experiences discomfort after any type of pelvic procedure.

Increased Need to Urinate

An increased need to urinate, including an increase in trips to the bathroom at night, may also be an early sign of pregnancy. This is the result of an increase in the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone and a spike in levels of progesterone in the body.

We must note, however, that an increased need to urinate can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful urination
  • Urgency to urinate

Missed Period

A missed period is the most recognised sign that someone may be pregnant. If you have been tracking your cycle and know its pattern, being late may indicate that you are pregnant.


This is not necessarily a symptom that most people notice in the 2 weeks following an embryo transfer. Most patients that report this symptom report it 2 weeks after they have missed a period.

If you do experience nausea in the time frame between the embryo transfer and the pregnancy test, take note of it and speak to your doctor. This is especially important if nausea becomes frequent.

Sore Breasts

One early sign of pregnancy that some people may experience is sore breasts, owing to a hormonal shift. If your breasts are swollen, tender to touch, and hurt when you bump them against things, this may be a sign that the embryo transfer was successful and implantation was achieved.

However, it is also possible that this same breast tenderness may be a side effect of the medication taken in between the embryo transfer and the pregnancy test.

Tiredness or Fatigue

You may feel sleepier or more tired in the early stages of pregnancy, when you are nearing your period, or when progesterone levels in the body increase for any other reason.

Having No Signs or Symptoms

If you do not experience any of the signs or symptoms listed above, there is no need to be concerned. Everybody is different, not every patient will experience the same specific symptoms, and in most cases the signs or symptoms experienced are not any great indicators of the success of the treatment. More commonly, they are related to fertility drugs and medication that is taken as part of the treatment.

Experts have suggested that between 10% and 15% of patients have no symptoms at all during this time, but still receive a positive pregnancy test. As such, the only way to know for certain if you are pregnant as a result of an IVF treatment cycle is to wait for your pregnancy test after the embryo transfer.

Where is the Most Successful IVF Clinic?

According to the HFEA, 53% of patients listed success rates as one of their top five most important factors when choosing a fertility clinic. This is understandable, as anyone looking for assistance and support in expanding their family is going to associate clinics with the highest success rates as offering them the best chances of a positive outcome. 

However, the HFEA also makes a point of noting that most clinics will all be as good as each other, with differences in success rates normally being down to different types of patients being treated. Because of this, even if it is tempting to simply choose what appears to be the most successful IVF clinic in the UK, their experts would usually advise people to broaden their criteria.

Rather than simply choosing the most successful IVF clinic you can find, you should instead aim to find the clinic that offers you the most comfortable experience possible. This includes seamless administration, a friendly, compassionate team that makes you feel welcome and supported at every step, and transparent pricing to suit your budget. Combining these with state-of-the-art treatments is likely to help you find the right clinic.

Book a First, Free Consultation with Us

If you are searching for a clinic you know will provide all the support you need when taking the next step on the road to parenthood, contact GENNET City Fertility today. We will be glad to invite you to our private fertility clinic in London for a tour of our facilities, give you a chance to meet our team, and a free, 30-minute mini consultation with a discreet and understanding specialist.

You will also get to spend some time with one of our coordinators, who will help you form a bespoke treatment plan that’s completely tailored to your needs. This will never be an obligation, and you will never be pressured into continuing your treatment if this is not what you want. Speak to our staff and you will soon see if we are the clinic for you.

Article from medical experts from our clinic