Should You Take a Break Between IVF Cycles?

WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

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1. Perfect Timing

When you have a failed IVF cycle, it’s natural to want to try again and give yourself another chance to get pregnant. But, what is the best time frame to wait in between IVF cycles? Is it better to give yourself a break, or to jump right into another cycle?

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Which one gives better success rates? It can be hard to figure out what to do, and up to this point, science really has not been too helpful. There haven’t been many studies done on the recommended time frame between IVF cycles. Read on for more information about what we do know.

2. The Case For Waiting

The a cold advice has usually been that women need to wait between IVF cycles. The basis of this theory is that doctors have long believed that using too much FSH during an IVF cycle would deplete the available amount of follicles that could be used for subsequent cycles, thus making the subsequent cycles less effective.

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The idea has always been that waiting in between IVF cycles gives the follicles time to replenish in order to allow maximum effectiveness during the next cycle. Also, there is also the issue of money. IVF treatments are, as we all know, incredibly expensive.

Not all couples have the funds available to receive multiple treatments back to back. Some couples might need to break after one cycle, get their finances in order, and come back again once they have the funds. That is completely understandable.

3. The Case For Not Waiting

However, in recent years, there has begun to be some new research done on the subject that indicates that waiting in between cycles does not really have as much benefit as previously thought. Studies show that the number of eggs retrieved from subsequent cycles was not affected by the original cycle.

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Also, further studies are now showing that when an IVF cycle is failed, and the doctor then tweaks the stimulation and changes it for the next cycle, it allows the patient to have a more ideal cycle the second (or third, or fourth) time around. Your doctor will have the chance to fix the things that went wrong in your previous cycle, and hopefully that can improve things in your subsequent cycles.

Another reason that women might not wish to wait between cycles is because of the old biological clock. If a woman is to the age where she is already battling age-related fertility issues, waiting between cycles is likely not going to make things any better. She is probably going to be better off doing subsequent cycles in order to have the best chance of conceiving.

4. What To Remember

The decision on whether to break between IVF cycles is a very personal one. Not only does a couple need to take into consideration a woman’s health, but also their financial situation and if they can afford to continue on without taking a break. Also, age is an important consideration as well.

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Finally, couples should consider their emotional needs when deciding whether or not to break between cycles. Some couples might need a few months in between treatment cycles to rest, regroup and recharge, and that is perfectly understandable. Talk with your doctor to determine the right time frame for you between IVF cycles.

Dr. Karen Leham, MD

Dr. Karen Leham is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocronology and Infertility. Dr. Leham completed her residency at Loyola University, followed by a fellowship at UCLA.