In vitro fertilization (IVF) is when doctors fertilize a human egg outside the body and then implant it into the women’s uterus. The success rate for a live birth is about 25-30%. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods have failed. In 1978, Louise Brown was the first “test tube baby.” Dr. Robert Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010 for developing the treatment.
Israel has the highest world incidence of IVF, with Iceland in second. In the USA, the procedure is less common, perhaps because the costs are over twelve grand. When insurance companies do cover the treatment, they will usually cap the number of procedures that they offer to pay for. The cost can place parenthood out of the range of many Americans.
In a 2010 paper, Dr. Sebiha Ozkan of Kocaeli University in Turkey, working under senior author Dr. Lubna Pal of Yale University, and colleagues, conducted a simple experiment. They wanted to know if vitamin D levels were associated with IVF success.
Ozkan S, Jindal S, Greenseid K, Shu J, Zeitlian G, Hickmon C, Pal L. Replete vitamin D stores predict reproductive success following in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril. 2010 Sep;94(4):1314-9. Epub 2009 Jul 8.
They studied a prospective cohort of 84 women undergoing IVF and classified them as vitamin D deficient (<20 ng/ml), insufficient (>20 but <30 ng/ml) and > 30 ng/ml, finding about an equal number of women in each category. Women with the lowest vitamin D levels only got pregnant about 20% of the time, compared to women with the highest vitamin D levels who got pregnant 50% of the time. For each one ng/ml increase in 25(OH)D, success increased by six percent.
As I wrote before, if you want to get pregnant, both the man and the woman should take 5,000 IU per day before attempting pregnancy. It will greatly increase your odds of pregnancy, even if you need IVF, which you will probably not.