A recent internet survey of women in the UK who had previously undergone at least one cycle of IVF or ICSI has revealed some very interesting results.
Advanced Assisted Reproductive Technologies such as IVF (In-vitro fertilisation) and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) are used for the treatment of infertility. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Irish couples now experience difficulty conceiving and in some cases no cause can be identified. This is classified as 'unexplained infertility'.
Advanced treatments such as IVF / ICSI are physically, emotionally and financially demanding.
Despite all of the scientific and medical advances in Assisted Reproduction over the past 30 years, these treatments continue to have relatively low success rates.
- In this study 27% of women who conceived by IVF/ICSI conceived naturally after discontinuation of the treatment.
- In the group who did not conceive by IVF/ICSI, 35% conceived naturally after discontinuation of the treatment.
- 87% of natural conceptions occured within 2 years of stopping treatment.
Couples with 'unexplained infertility' were more likely to conceive naturally after discontinuation of IVF/ICSI treatment rather than those with male factor or tubal problems.
How can these results be explained? Are couples opting for treatments such as IVF/ICSI too quickly?
Further research in this area is needed but this study provides hope for all couples struggling with infertility.
Read the full study here