Fertility treatment is measured in cycles and is timed to coincide with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Sometimes, physicians might recommend taking birth control to better regulate the start of fertility treatments. A typical cycle can range from 4-6 weeks, depending on the steps involved. If the process will use the participating woman’s eggs, then follicular stimulation and egg retrieval will be part of the process. If the man’s sperm is used, a sample will be collected around the same time as the egg retrieval. The sample will be used to create a fertilized embryo which is then transferred to the uterus in hopes of implantation.
As with many other health procedures, individual success rates depend on an individual’s overall health and any underlying conditions. For example, women under age 35 in generally good health have higher success rates than participants 40 or older. Likewise, factors such as obesity or having a known fertility issue can also decrease the potential for a successful pregnancy after an IVF cycle. Recent statistics show that IVF success rates hover around 21.3% for women under age 35, 17% for people between 35-37, 11.1% for 38-40 years, and much lower for older populations.
If the first attempt fails
Achieving a live birth after a single IVF cycle isn’t always possible. In many cases, a woman or couple might have more success with a second or even third cycle. This is especially true if the participant is older or the egg quality is not ideal. However, 2 significant factors come into play before continuing onto another cycle. IVF is costly and can take an emotional toll on participants, so people often choose to delay another round for such practical reasons. However, even for willing participants ready to try again, a wait time is suggested.
When to try again
Reputable fertility specialists won’t encourage immediately trying another cycle right after a failed transfer. Instead, most doctors will recommend waiting for at least 1 complete menstrual cycle to pass before resuming treatments. For most people, that means a 4-6 week break. This break allows medications to leave the system, gives the patient an emotional break, and spreads out treatment costs. With the start of a new period, another round can take place.
Making the call
Choosing when and how often to pursue fertility treatments is a personal decision that only the couple can determine. While some people have the fortitude to continue with IVF cycles as soon as a doctor approves, other individuals might want to wait even longer for various reasons. No right or wrong answer exists, and no person is wrong for having doubts or wanting to seek counseling before making a decision. For a better understanding of the best timeframe to try a second round of IVF, consider speaking with a fertility specialist.