Many women give birth naturally after IVF failure


A Scottish study looking at conception rates whose IVF procedure was unsuccessful found that 17% (about 1 in 6) of women went on to have a live birth, without treatment, within five years.

The study, funded by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office and published in Human Reproduction, is thought to be one of the biggest of its kind. The University of Aberdeen team studied data from 2,133 women who received IVF 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.

Roughly half (1,060) achieved a live birth with the help of IVF. Of these, 15% went on to have another live birth without treatment within five years. However, of the remaining 1,073 whose IVF treatment resulted in no pregnancy or pregnancy loss, 17% went on to have a live birth.

Lead researcher Dr David McLernon said: “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. When it is unsuccessful, understandably couples can be left distraught …  

“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. 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.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge




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