How Many Fertility Treatment Cycles are “Enough”?
When undergoing fertility treatment such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), it is important to view each treatment cycle as an independent event. This means that if the first cycle fails, the next cycle has an equal chance of working! Drs. Hummel and Kettel tell their patients that this cycle independence holds true for each type of treatment for at least three treatment cycles. Examining the clinical efficacy of a given treatment protocol, the cumulative pregnancy should be viewed as the likelihood of conception within a reasonable time frame, approximately 3-4 cycles, and NOT after only one attempt.
When deciding when to move from one fertility treatment protocol to another, our physicians review what has been learned from the preceding treatments. Did the ovaries respond appropriately? Is sperm quality as expected? Did the endometrium reach a target thickness? Is egg quality good? Were the hormone levels appropriate? By examining the response to a treatment cycle, the couple and their fertility doctor can decide when it is appropriate to move from one treatment protocol to another.
By and large, if a treatment is going to work, it will be effective within three cycles. The majority of success occurs during the first three attempts and this presents a reasonable interval in which to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hummel or Dr. Kettel.