What influences the success rate of in vitro fertilization?


In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a very accessible medical procedure that gives individuals and couples who are unable to conceive a baby on their own the ability to have their own child biologically or through intention by using donor eggs. Since 1981, at least a million children have been born in the United States thanks to assisted reproductive technologies.

While many women can become pregnant via IVF, the process is not guaranteed to be successful. In some cases, IVF can fail to produce a viable pregnancy even after many attempts. This reality, paired with the high cost of each attempt, leaves many people desperate for exact success rates before starting their surrogacy journeys.

Age is the single largest variable in IVF success

According to an April 2015 article published by NPR, 40% of IVF cycles performed in women under the age of 35 were successful, whereas a 4.5% success rate was observed in women ages 42 and above.

In the case of surrogacy, these rates can improve because the surrogate candidate is being screened and admitted for her physical ability to carry a healthy pregnancy. In many cases of women doing IVF and attempting to carry the pregnancy themselves, they may have other health factors that provide risks to the pregnancy and to the mother herself. A surrogate would not have these risk factors. When donor eggs are introduced to the equation, the success rates increase dramatically. At Growing Generations, we require that our egg donors be 30 years of age or younger. When our clients use a surrogate and egg donor, we see success rates as high as 85% on the first pregnancy attempt, with nearly 100% of clients pregnant within three attempts.

Other factors

In addition to age, other factors that play a part in the success of IVF include the amount of time the intended mother has spent trying to conceive, previous pregnancy/infertility histories and what drugs are used in the medical protocol.

Success predictors

There are currently two success rate predictors available to use online. The Templeton predictor and its competitor, IVFPredict, are two popular options. The IVFPredict incorporates newer technology including embryos created with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). However, even with the improved reliability of IVFPredict, online predictors have been found to be accurate only about half of the time.

IVF success, in large part, has to do with the individual’s health, fitness and personal fertility. However, when working with a surrogate, many of the obstacles that prevent people from having a child on their own are removed.

The embryo transfer is just one of many steps of Growing Generations’ surrogacy program. Check out our six steps to becoming a parent through surrogacy.


Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.