Pregnancy after a failed IVF cycle

How a patient responds after a failed IVF cycle is critical to the results of their next IVF cycle and future pregnancies.

All of us know of patients who have failed an IVF cycle and then got pregnant in their own bedroom ! This sometimes raises a lot of questions - how did they get pregnant when they failed the IVF cycle ? Was the IVF doctor good enough ? Or did he do a bad job with the IVF treatment ? Doesn't this suggest that IVF doctors are greedy and tend to over-treat patients, by advising expensive treatments like IVF, even when they that the patient could get pregnant in their own bedroom ?

All these are valid questions ! All of us see treatment independent pregnancies - patients who get pregnant while they're waiting for the IVF treatment ; or have failed the IVF treatment. There are many reasons for this.

For example , some patients with unexplained infertility will become much more aware of their body's fertility signals after they've done an IVF cycle . They pay more attention to these , which helps them to increase the chance of achieving a natural pregnancy in the bedroom ! Others get so highly motivated because they never want to do another IVF cycle , that they will redouble their energies on trying to achieve a pregnancy in the bedroom !

Interestingly, we have also seen patients with very poor uterine linings in an IVF cycle , as a result of which their IVF cycle fails, who then get pregnant in the natural cycle , presumably because the uterine lining in the natural cycle was better than it was during the IVF treatment.

It's very hard to pinpoint what the particular problem was in these patients - and what caused it to improve after the failed IVF cycle. While lots of IVF doctors are quite happy to take the credit for these IVF independent pregnancies, the common denominator amongst these successes seems to be that these are highly motivated patients , who don't just give up simply because their IVF cycle has failed - they continue trying actively in their own bedroom ! The one thing which differentiates them from the rest is their sexual frequency - and the rule is simple: the more often you have sex the better your chance of getting pregnant. On the other hand, there are other patients who go to pieces after a failed IVF cycle, and assume they are doomed to never having a baby all their life. This is not true !

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.