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One IVF pregnancy raises chance of second time success

25 September 2017
Appeared in BioNews 919

Women who miscarry during their first IVF cycle still have a higher chance of a live birth with subsequent treatment, compared with women who do not get pregnant after their first round.

'Miscarriage can be a devastating experience for any couple, but especially for those who have already struggled with infertility,' said Ms Natalie Cameron, one of the research team at the University of Aberdeen. 'We hope our findings will provide reassurance to these couples as they consider their options for continuing treatment.'

In 2014, over 52,000 women in the UK underwent IVF or ICSI. The chance of a live birth with IVF treatment in the UK is 26.5 percent, however 22.3 percent of IVF pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is the first study to investigate the likelihood of live birth in women who have experienced miscarriage in their first complete IVF cycle.

The researchers studied data on 112,549 women who started IVF treatment involving fresh or frozen embryos between 1999 and 2008. In the first cycle, 25.7 percent of women experienced miscarriage, regardless of whether they had a previous live birth, and 62.3 percent had no pregnancies.

Over two additional complete cycles of IVF, women who had given birth after their first cycle had the highest likelihood of a successful live birth, at 49 percent.

Women who had miscarried following their first IVF cycle, had a 40.9 percent probability of live birth. This compared with only a 30.1 percent chance for women who had not become pregnant at all after a first round of IVF.

The researchers acknowledge their study does not take in to account other confounding effects such as history of previous miscarriage, smoking, BMI (body mass index) or ovarian reserve. However, they suggest the results could be useful for couples making a decision on whether to continue treatment after suffering a miscarriage from their first cycle of IVF.

The results were published in Human Reproduction.

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