Failed IVF doesn’t always mean no baby, research suggests

Some couples go on to conceive naturally after unsuccessful IVF treatments, according to new study


Couples who’ve tried IVF and haven’t fallen pregnant could still conceive naturally – even if they’ve been told they’re infertile – a new study suggests.


Dr Penelope Troude from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) shared results from a France-based study of 2,100 couples, with Reuters Health.

Of the 2,100 couples, who started IVF treatment in the early 2000s, around 1,300 had a baby as a result of the treatment. Around 10 years later, the couples were asked if they’d gone on to fall pregnant naturally. Of those who’d had successful IVF treatments, 17% had another baby naturally. Of the couples with unsuccessful IVF treatments, 24% had gone on to have what doctors have reportedly dubbed a “spontaneous” pregnancy.

Dr Penelope said, “It must be borne in mind that infertility did not mean no chance to conceive but low or very low chance to conceive”.

In a letter to Reuters, Dr Johannes Evers, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Masstricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, suggested couples’ behaviour could be a driving force behind the figures. “Successful couples already had their child(ren), so they will have used contraception.” Dr Johannes also noted the effect of age, with 45% of the women under 35 going on to conceive naturally after failed IVF.

Dr Penelope said the findings could be a good sign for couples with unexplained infertility trying to have a baby (as opposed to those who have a clear reason for not initially getting pregnant). However, Dr Penelope made it clear more research was needed due to the long follow up time, in addition to a lack of participation during the follow up. Dr Penelope said, “Pregnant couples will have been more likely to answer than disappointed childless couples.”


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