Purpose of review: Despite the promising success rates of IVF, many couples have to undergo several cycles before achieving live birth. In counseling patients faced with subfertility, it is important to provide cumulative live-birth rates. This review evaluates the current knowledge on cumulative rates, summarizing recently published evidence.
Recent findings: Existing data have been mostly presented in the form of live-birth rates per IVF cycle as a function of maternal age or reason for subfertility. Recent publications have been reporting IVF success rates in terms of cumulative live-birth rate (CLBR) per woman, thus providing a more realistic estimate that becomes applicable to individual couples. In general, CLBR following IVF has been reported between 45 and 55%. Maternal age has been shown to significantly reduce these rates, as has preimplantation genetic diagnosis. On the contrary, techniques mostly used to decrease the chance of multiple births, such as elective single embryo transfer and natural cycle IVF, do not affect CLBR while achieving a significant reduction in the rates of multiples.
Summary: Couples should be counseled that CLBR following IVF lies mostly around 50% and that maternal age as well as genetics of transferred embryos remain factors that influence success.