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Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 21, 2005
Contact: CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Press Office: 770-488-5131

CDC Report Shows that Age Continues to be a Major Factor in Determining Success of Assisted Reproductive Technology

More than 48,000 babies were born in the United States as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures carried out in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. This is up from the 45,751 babies born as a result of ART in 2002. ART includes infertility treatment procedures in which both egg and sperm are handled in the laboratory. The most common ART procedure is in vitro fertilization.

CDC’s ninth annual ART report summarizes national trends and provides information on success rates for 399 fertility clinics around the country. Overall, 28 percent of ART procedures resulted in the birth of a baby for women who used their own fresh eggs.

The 2003 report offers more evidence that a woman’s age is one of the most important factors in determining whether she will have a live birth by using her own eggs. “Women in their 20s and early 30s had relatively high rates of success for pregnancies, live births, and single live births,” said Victoria Wright, a public health analyst in CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health. “But success rates declined steadily once a woman reached her mid-30s.”

Overall, 37 percent of the fresh non-donor procedures started in 2003 among women younger than 35 resulted in live births. This percentage of live births decreased to 30 percent among women aged 35-37, 20 percent among women aged 38-40, 11 percent among women aged 41-42 and 4 percent among women older than 42.

Women 40 or older are more likely to have a successful ART procedure if they use donor eggs. Egg donors are typically in their 20s or 30s. The average live birth rate for women who used ART with donor eggs is 50 percent, and is independent of age.

About 35 percent of ART deliveries among women who used their own fresh eggs were multiple births (twins or more), compared with 3 percent in the general U.S. population during the same time period. This is because multiple embryos are often transferred to increase the likelihood of a live birth. Multiple births are associated with greater risk for both mothers and babies, such as cesarean section, low birth weight, premature birth, and infant disability or death.

In general, the findings for 2003 were similar to those for 2002. More procedures were reported (122,872 in 2003 compared to 115,392 in 2002), and more infants were born as a result of ART (48,756 in 2003 compared to 45,751 in 2002).

“For many people, the dream of having a baby is difficult to achieve,” said Wright. “ART has been used in the United States since 1981 to help women become pregnant. Many people use this report to make informed decisions about options for overcoming infertility.”

Wright adds the use of ART services is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a physician and encourages caution in comparing success rates of various clinics. “A clinic’s history of success is only one factor to be considered in making a decision. Equally important are the causes of infertility and a woman’s age.”

Reporting of clinic fertility success is required by the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992. The 2003 report was prepared by the CDC in consultation with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

The full report, including an in-depth frequently asked questions section, is available at An interactive version of the report is also included as part of CDC’s Reproductive Health website (, which features information on topics of concern to women and men of reproductive age.

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This page last updated December 21, 2005

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