For parents who thought their IVF journey was ‘one and done’, a recent wide-ranging study from UNSW brings new information – and perhaps, new hope.
Any person who has struggled with infertility understands the heartbreak of trying – and failing – to conceive. And for those who decide to undertake IVF, it’s never a decision taken lightly. The financial cost alone is considerable, not to mention the toll IVF treatments can take on your physical and mental health.
It’s a huge process to complete even once – let alone multiple times. But, if your first child was conceived via IVF and you were hoping to have the same success the second time around, a new study has found that the odds are in your favour.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) examined the statistical chances of women being able to have more than one IVF-conceived baby, information that might be critical to many parents wondering whether to go through the physical and financial cost of trying a second time.
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If you’re looking to expand your family, the chances are good. Image: iStock
The study examined over 35,000 women across Australia and New Zealand who undertook IVF using their own eggs and successfully gave birth between January 2009 and December 2013. The women were followed over two years and among these mothers, almost half (43 percent) decided to repeat their treatment in order to have a second child. Of these, 73 percent had frozen embryos available from their first IVF cycles.
The study found that after a live birth using IVF, a woman’s chance of a second ART baby is between 51 percent and 88 percent after six cycles.
The study also found, however, that choosing to use frozen or fresh embryos has an impact on the success rate, with a higher chance of success with frozen embryos – 43.4 percent versus 31.3 percent.
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Various factors have an impact on your success. Image: iStock
Age does have an impact
One further thing the study confirmed was that a woman’s chance of repeated IVF success declined with her age. For women aged 40 to 44, the chances of a live birth peaked at 55 percent with a frozen embryo, and 25 percent with a fresh one.
City Fertility Sydney CBD Clinical Director Dr Devora Lieberman co-authored the study and said that while every couple is different, having this research was very helpful in being able to counsel patients about their choices.
“The statistics are useful population estimates, but there are many individual factors that affect a woman’s chance of ART success including duration and cause of infertility,” she explained, adding, “I discuss ideal family size with all my patients from the first consultation, and talk about IVF as a course of treatment over time, rather than each cycle as a one-off event. Having this data allows for a more informed conversation, ” Dr Lieberman said.
You can read the full study in the journal of Human Reproduction or learn more on the UNSW website.
The study allows for more informed fertility counselling. Image: iStock