Many different factors affect the success of IVF treatment. One is the number of eggs your doctor retrieves during the egg retrieval procedure. Instinctively, you might think that the more eggs retrieved, the better. You might think, “I had eight eggs retrieved in IVF – is this good? Should it be more?” However, numerous complex factors affect egg yield and quality. Often, this means that more isn’t necessarily always better. This article discusses how the number of eggs retrieved affects IVF success.
The Egg Yield vs. Quality Hypothesis
Researchers have investigated the hypothesis that more eggs, or oocyte yield, leads to more high-quality, chromosomally normal embryos. The study found that statistically, the more eggs retrieved, the more chromosomally normal embryos were available for transfer. Furthermore, the researchers found that it was a numbers game for all intents and purposes; the more chromosomally normal embryos available, the higher the cumulative chance of live birth after that IVF cycle. This is because chromosomally normal embryos have the most significant potential for pregnancy.
However, the study found that the benefit of high egg yield decreased with age. Researchers found that to produce between 1 and 2 chromosomally normal embryos, 5 and 14 eggs would be required if the patient was under 35.
Therefore, if you’re under 35 and ask yourself, “I had eight eggs retrieved in IVF – is this good?” the answer is yes! However, if you’re over 35, between 10 and 24 is arguably a more desirable yield.
This study also suggested that higher egg yields due to ovarian stimulation did not affect egg quality. However, this is a controversial debate; other studies have found that intense ovarian stimulation can negatively affect egg quality.
I had 8 eggs retrieved in IVF – is this good? Is there an optimum number of eggs?
While the debate about whether or not egg yield affects egg quality continues, several factors will impact the optimum egg yield depending on the individual case. For instance, age and ovarian reserve are important variables. Equally, whether or not the embryo is transferred fresh or frozen can affect the outcome. There are also non-medical factors, such as laboratory procedures and the patient’s wishes.
While the evidence suggests that aiming for a high egg yield increases the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is compelling, new methods can reduce this risk. Previously, an egg yield of more than 15 was considered an indicator of OHSS. Therefore, if you’re thinking, “I had eight eggs retrieved in IVF – is this good?” you can be confident you’re unlikely to be experiencing OHSS.
However, fertility specialists are constantly working towards streamlining the IVF process. If patients can get pregnant in one IVF cycle, it can reduce the financial, physical, and emotional cost of fertility treatment.
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