ART: how long should we try?
Adjusting expectations to your treatment programme
Giving yourself time
If your initial experience of fertility treatment hasn’t ended in success it’s natural to feel discouraged. But be reassured. Improvements in medication, microsurgery and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) make pregnancy possible for the majority of couples.
You’re in the hands of a group of medical professionals dedicated to identifying the source of your fertility problems. Often that takes time. It may be just too early to expect a positive result. In most cases multiple cycles are necessary.
Talk to your doctor about your specific case. Every journey is different depending on the results of tests and the kind of treatment you decide to pursue. In the meantime, take encouragement from these statistics:
A high success rate
A Danish study from 2009 shows that within five years of starting ART treatment, almost 70% of couples succeed in having at least one child.1
Reaching success often takes time and multiple attempts
Most couples who succeed undergo multiple treatment cycles. In the same study 28% conceived within a year, but it took three years for 62% to conceive. More than 40% of couples went through four or more cycles during the length of the study.1
Look beyond averages
Success rates depend on multiple factors including diagnosis, clinic expertise and the age of the women treated. In the Danish study success rates over the 5 year period varied from around 52% for women aged 35 or older to almost 75% for the ones younger than 35.1 Speak with your specialist. It’s important to be sure that your diagnosis is complete and that you’re following the best treatment strategy.1
|Often, the most stressful stage of the treatment cycle is the waiting time – the 14-day period between the embryo transfer and the pregnancy test. Discover how to maintain a positive outlook throughout your treatment cycle.|
How to give yourself the best chance
Fertility treatment is strenuous, physically as well as emotionally. Couples who abandon treatment – without any apparent medical reason to give up hope – often attribute their decision to psychological stress.2-5
Here are some steps you and your partner can take to make sure you give yourself the best chance of success:
- Use the Fertility Compass to discover your coping style and learn new strategies to reduce emotional strain.
- Build a support network that works for you.
- Balance your life during treatment by creating a week-to-week planner.
Deciding how long to continue
Knowing that overall success rates of ART are high may help you psychologically. But at some point, you and your partner may question whether you’re in need of a break. It’s a personal decision that only you and your partner can make. Reflecting on four key questions may help make up your mind.
1. Pinbourg A et al, Prospective longitudinal cohort study on cumulative 5-year delivery and adoption rates among 1338 couples initiating infertility treatment. Hum Reprod.2009;24: 991-999 2. Rajkhowa M, et al. Reasons for discontinuation of IVF treatment: a questionnaire study. Human Reprod. 2006; Vol. 21(2): 358–363. 3. Olivius K, et al. Why do couples discontinue in vitro fertilization treatment? A cohort study. Fertil Steril. 2004; Vol. 81(2):258-261. 4. Hammerberg K, et al. Why do couples discontinue in vitro fertilization treatment? A cohort study. Human Reprod. 2001; Vol. 16(2):374-383. 5. Domar A, et al. Impact of psychological factors on dropout rates in insured infertility patients. Fertil Steril. 2004; Vol. 81(2):271-273