IVF can be time-consuming, costly, and emotionally draining for those going through it. And if it doesn’t work, there is inevitably disappointment.
But a new study has offered hope for those who are unable to conceive through treatment, as it found one in six couples go on to get pregnant naturally.
Within five years, 17% of couples who had undergone IVF with no success went on to have a live birth without help.
The University of Aberdeen study looked at conception rates in those who had undergone IVF. Researchers studied data from 2,133 women who received treatment between 1998 and 2011 at an IVF unit in Aberdeen.
They were followed up for a minimum of one and a maximum of 15 years.
Of the women whose IVF treatment resulted in no pregnancy or pregnancy loss, one in six then went on to have a baby.
And of those who had achieved a live birth through treatment, 15% went on to have another live birth independent of IVF treatment.
“Hopefully with this information [couples] will be able to make an informed choice about their next moves after treatment.”
Lead researcher Dr David McLernon believes the study will give couples a “clearer idea” of their chances of conceiving naturally, even after IVF has been unsuccessful.
“IVF treatment is not something that couples take on lightly, and it can be a physically and emotionally demanding process even if treatment is successful,” he said. “When it is unsuccessful, understandably couples can be left distraught.
“Hopefully with this information they will be able to make an informed choice about their next moves after treatment.”
The study, which was funded by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office, is thought to be one of the biggest of its kind.
“There have been a number of limited studies looking at this area previously, but most of them have been based on surveys with poor response rates and a small sample size,” said Dr McLernon. “This study looked at data from more than 2,000 women, which we think makes it one of the most robust studies of its type.”
Researchers also hope the study will help clinicians inform couples who are undergoing, or who have gone through IVF already, a clearer picture of their chances of conceiving after treatment.