Can a successful round of IVF improve your chances of conceiving naturally?

Dear Professor Winston,

I’ve just turned 37, I was very fortunate that my first round of IVF resulted in a healthy pregnancy but I developed gestational diabetes in the last trimester and I delivered quite a small (5lb). He’s now two and is very healthy.

I have PCOS (my BMI is 21) and my husband has a low sperm count. We had two miscarriages before having IVF.

We have five 10 day blastocysts in storage and are considering our options. We haven’t been actively trying to conceive but I’ve heard from a few people that once you’ve had a successful round of IVF in some cases it can improve your chances of conceiving naturally. I think the odds are against us but I would be keen to know your thoughts?

Warm regards,

Kelly

 

Dear Kelly

Essentially, I don’t think there are good data to support this view, namely that a successful outcome after IVF increases your chance later of a naturally conceived birth.  However, it is certainly true that far more in vitro fertilisation cycles fail than succeed, and a huge proportion of people who fail IVF, often even repeatedly, certainly get pregnant perfectly normally subsequently. They rush into IVF, or are rushed into IVF too quickly not unreasonably because of anxiety about becoming too old. There is much evidence suggesting that many IVF cycles are really unnecessary. Pursuing IVF rather too rapidly and without effective investigations about the cause of infertility is a serious mistake

I think that as you have blastocysts in storage and in view of the fact of your husband’s subfertility, having those blastocysts transferred might make good sense.

With Best wishes

Robert Winston