Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

If you're hoping to make a baby the high-tech way, 15 is the magic number.

15 eggs, that is.

To boost the chances of a live birth, fertility doctors should aim to collect about 15 eggs from a woman's ovaries in a single cycle (more than the norm in Canada), according to a report published in the journal Human Reproduction.

Story continues below advertisement

The study of 400,000 in-vitro fertilization cycles in Britain found the live birth rate rose as the number of eggs retrieved increased to 15, but steadily declined with 20 eggs or more.

"This is the first study to look at the association between the number of eggs and live births," said Arri Coomarasamy, co-author of the report.

Aiming for 15 eggs, instead of more, minimized the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS, which is associated with a high number of eggs - usually over 20, Dr. Coomarasamy added.

Up to 10 per cent of IVF patients may develop OHSS, with symptoms including edema (swelling), severe abdominal pain and respiratory distress, says Assisted Human Reproduction Canada.

The norm in young women is to collect 10 to 12 eggs per IVF treatment cycle, notes the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada. But women aged 40 to 42 on average produce less than seven eggs per cycle, according to a Chicago-based fertility centre.

While 15 eggs may be the perfect number, it doesn't offset the effects of aging. In the British study, the predicted live birth rate with 15 eggs retrieved was 40 per cent for women aged 18 to 34, compared with 16 per cent for those aged 40 and over.

That's not much better than the overall live birth rate of 12 per cent for women over 40 using IVF, according to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, if you're an aspiring mom over 40, that extra 4-per-cent chance could mean the world.

Does research like this benefit couples desperate to have kids - or does it fill them with false hope?

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies