Natural Conception after Successful IVF Treatment

Michelle recently contacted IVI Midland Fertility via the patient Forum to share some wonderful and amazing news – and medical director Dr Gillian Lockwood offers an explanation of how and why this can happen:

“Morning ladies, I’ve not been on here for well over a year now. I just wanted to post a little something to give some of you a bit of hope after what can seem a very desperate sad time when things don’t turn out right.
“My husband and I tried for over two years to get pregnant never caught…ever. Long story short he has a low sperm count I have a high percentage of killer cells in my uterus. We only found out about the cells on our third try of IVF. I suffered two miscarriages with the first two goes of IVF but the third try where I had scratch, baby aspirin and steroids we got pregnant and have our beautiful little boy, who is now four months old! I have to pinch myself everyday and I know how lucky we are.
“Anyway…..by some miracle I am feeling sick for the fifth day now, I can’t remember my last period as I haven’t had a need to keep track and I’m exhausted more than usual. Turns out that I am pregnant! I did a very cheap test yesterday thinking I’ll do one just to put my mind at ease but it came up positive immediately. I had a mini heart attack to be honest! I don’t understand how it’s happened! Obviously unprotected sex!! But how on earth after everything we have been through and so much heartache and hopelessness over the years and I get pregnant just like that? I’m going to do another test later when my husband gets home from work as it could be wrong….but I wanted to share with you all not to say oh look at me I’m one of the lucky ones but to show that miracles can and do happen!
“I used to read posts like this and slam the phone down in anger because it seemed to happen for everyone else but I’m proof it can happen to anyone
“I wish you all the luck in the world xxx”

Response by Dr Gillian Lockwood:

“I’m sure all our Forum users will have been thrilled and happy to have read Michelle’s wonderful news about their surprise  ’DIY’ baby. In fact spontaneous pregnancies after successful (and even unsuccessful) fertility treatment are not that uncommon. The reason this happens is not well understood, but I’ll outline some of the ideas that may explain these everyday miracles.

“Unexplained infertility: An Australian study found that couples with ‘unexplained’ infertility who conceived on their first cycle of IVF were just as likely to get pregnant naturally within two years of the birth as couples who had experienced no difficulty conceiving.

“Stress: We know that the ‘stress’ hormone, prolactin, which women produce when they are breast feeding is designed to inhibit ovulation, so when a couple finally has a baby to love, they may have much lower stress levels. Similarly, we have all heard about couples who ‘give up’ on fertility treatment after years of failure and decide to adopt or go on the ‘holiday of a lifetime’ or change careers, only to find they are pregnant.

“Endometriosis:  Severe endometriosis is a common cause of infertility which is amenable to help from IVF. During the nine months of pregnancy when the periods stop, the endometriotic deposits ‘shrivel up’ and there is a window of opportunity after delivery to get pregnant naturally before the endometriosis returns.

“Failed IVF: The high hormones levels (Estradiol , progesterone and hCG­) in even a failed IVF cycle, mimic those seen in early pregnancy and they may help to ‘kick-start’ a natural conception.  We often have patients who ring to say that they want to book a new treatment cycle but their period hasn’t started!  They always seem surprised when we ask if they have done a pregnancy test, but sometimes they phone back to tell us the test is positive and can they book a scan?

“Following miscarriage:  When a pregnancy has ended there seems to a time (about three months) when the women is ‘extra’ fertile. Couples used to be told to ‘wait a few months’ before trying again, but now we recommend they they start ‘trying again’ as soon as they feel ready.

“If the early miscarriage follows an IVF cycle then it is generally a good idea to wait a few months before starting another treatment cycle.”

Issued: 20/1/17/JAA