There are some questions which IVF doctors cannot answer accurately, and one of these is the commonest questions patients ask - How many IVF cycles will it take for me to get pregnant?
Patients know that IVF doesn't have a 100% pregnancy rate and that they need to be patient. They are prepared to repeat the cycles, and this is a perfectly valid question to ask , because this helps them to prepare mentally and financially for a journey which can be taxing and stressful.
However, the frustrating reality is doctors can't answer this simple query accurately for the individual patient. Yes , we can provide group statistics and offer cumulative conception rates for a group of patients. Thus, we know that if 100 patients do 3 IVF cycles, then 80% of them will get pregnant, we don't know what the individual patient's chances are.
Now patients don't really care what happens to the other patients in the clinic - they only want to know what their own chances are. This is a variable which depends on multiple factors, including their age, their egg equality, their endometrial receptivity and other biological intangibles we still can't measure.
This is why when we counsel patients,  we tell them what the average success rates in our clinic are, but we tell them that we can provide a much more precise estimate of what their specific chances are only after we have done their first IVF cycle, and can assess their embryo quality properly.
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