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As if fertility problems weren’t frustrating enough, new research shows that some fertility treatments’ effectiveness may go down after two or three tries with the same method.
In findings published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco studied 408 couples, looking at their pregnancy success rates using three different methods -- fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) -- in an attempt to see if there was a correlation between how many fertility treatment cycles couples underwent and their pregnancy rates. Their conclusion: “Cycle-based fertility treatments may offer a point of diminishing returns for infertile couples.” In other words, after two cycles of medications, three cycles of IUI, and two cycles of IVF, the chances of success may diminish.
Still, there’s a positive side to the findings, according to the researchers: They could help couples who are struggling to conceive know when to move on to another method, rather than subject their bodies, psyches, and wallets to additional, possibly unhelpful rounds of the same treatment.