Wait to start IVF after pregnancy?

September 12, 2011Carole 3 Comments »

My posts have been fewer lately but but this morning I found a patient comment that tugged me back to the blog. On an old post, Wishing for a Happy Father’s Day, Elizabeth left me this comment and question:

“I miss your insightful posts.

Here’s a post idea: IVF after pregnancy. Need to wait awhile or….?
this question is for those of us who are infertile, maybe already having gone through IVF the first time, and want another baby….”


Thanks for your kind comment and blog idea!

Pregnancy spacing can affect the health outcome of the baby, according to this study reported in WebMD. If the next pregnancy comes either very soon (less than one year) or very late (more than 5 years) after the last birth, the risk of poor health outcomes increase. This study was done looking at outcomes in the general population and not specifically IVF pregnancies.

Most obstetricians will probably suggest that you wait about a year to get your body back to its full strength before you try again. When to try another IVF cycle is a great question for your physician.  He or she would be best able to advise you regarding any medical issues that might need to be addressed  before the next pregnancy.

The March of Dimes organization also recommends a pre-pregnancy check-up with your doctor and offers more “Getting ready for pregnancy” advice on their website. If you are older, your doctor may even recommend a cardiac evaluation or other testing before starting an IVF cycle.

If you are fortunate enough to have oocytes (or embryos) in storage, you can quiet the ticking of your biological clock and increase the spacing between pregnancies without having to worry about the effect of maternal age on egg quality. Your stored eggs aren’t exposed to the effects of aging-unlike the eggs in your ovaries.  If you are doing fresh IVF cycles after 35, you might want to shorten the time line between pregnancies. Again, these are issues you will want to take up with your doctor.

You didn’t ask about this but women in remission from cancer (eg. some breast cancers) are typically advised to delay conception until the risk of relapse is statistically less likely. Fertile Hope specifically addresses pregnancy after cancer on their website. Some other medical conditions may also warrant caution before starting another IVF cycle.

If the medical issues are out of the way, then it’s up to you and your partner to decide when it’s the right time for the both of you. Lot’s for you to talk about! 🙂

Best wishes,





© 2011 – 2012, Carole. All rights reserved.

3 Responses to this entry

  • Marial Says:

    I have just learnt from my clinic that I will need to stop breastfeeding my (now 8 month old) son three months before they will treat me for a frozen cycle to try for a second baby. So this is another factor to take into account. I wonder if you can explain how breastfeeding affects treatment?

  • Carole Says:

    Hi Marial,
    This is a better question for your reproductive endocrinologist, but broadly speaking, nursing can disrupt your normal cycles. Some women are able to use breast feeding as a kind of natural birth control because they don’t cycle at all while nursing. Prolactin and oxytocin are two hormones that are produced by lactating women and they affect the regularity of your menstrual cycle. Here’s a brief explanation https://www.zocdoc.com/answers/4322/how-does-breastfeeding-affect-period-length#. SO my guess is that your doctor wants to see that you have had one or two normal length cycles as a sign that your system is reset and ready to be treated hormonally to prepare the endometrium (uterine lining) for a FET cycle. But again, you are paying lots of money to your doctor, don’t be afraid to take up these sort of questions with him/her. Congratulations on the birth of your son and good luck with a future FET! Carole

  • Marial Says:

    Thank you Carole!

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