In vitro fertilization efforts end too soon, study suggests

Too many women give up on in vitro fertilization too soon, a new study suggests. After analyzing more than 250,000 in vitro fertilization attempts by more than 150,000 women over nearly a decade, researchers found that women could keep increasing their chances of having a live birth through up to nine IVF cycles, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. What's more, the researchers defined an IVF cycle more expansively. Instead of considering each attempt to transfer one or more embryos into the womb as an individual cycle, study authors counted each attempt to stimulate the ovaries and retrieve eggs as the beginning of a new cycle. That means each cycle may include multiple attempts to transfer embryos. The conventional wisdom in assisted reproduction circles is that women who do not have a baby after three embryo transfers suffer "repeat implantation failure," the authors wrote. Also, doctors are still guided by an outdated study that said live birth rates decline after four IVF cycles. Together, these have prompted many women to abandon fertility treatment after three or four unsuccessful embryo transfers.

- Los Angeles Times