Fertility after IVF

June 21, 2023

A new study conducted at UCL has found that one in five women become pregnant naturally after having a baby conceived with IVF.

The first-of-its-kind research analysed data from 11 studies of over 5,000 women around the world (including over 1000 women from the UK) between 1980 and 2021. The study aimed to look at how common it is for women to get pregnant naturally after having a baby conceived through fertility treatments, such as IVF.

Fertility treatments are becoming more common; infertility is estimated to affect 1 in 7 heterosexual couples and now over 10 million babies worldwide have been born using IVF.

It is typically thought to be ‘rare’ for a woman who has gone through IVF to get pregnant again naturally, however this study highlights that it is actually not an unusual event; with 20% of women going on to conceive naturally.

The findings of this study are really important, as many women may not realise that they could conceive naturally following fertility treatment. This could result in them getting pregnant again too quickly or when they aren’t ready – which could cause problems for the health of both the mother and child.

Patient story

Shema Tariq, a doctor and academic from London, was diagnosed with low ovarian reserve and told that her chances of conceiving without IVF were almost zero.  She now has two children aged 3 and 4. 

She says: “It took six rounds of IVF to conceive our son, who was born in 2018.  My GP briefly mentioned contraception to me after he was born, but we both laughed and agreed that it wasn’t relevant. It never occurred to me that I might get pregnant (despite being a sexual health doctor).  I was 43 and had been told that my chances of conceiving naturally were less than 1%. 

“Eight months later I was unexpectedly, and naturally, pregnant with our daughter.  She has been the most wonderful surprise, but when we first found out I felt overwhelmed and unprepared for another pregnancy.  If I’d known that one-in-five women conceive naturally after IVF I’d have used contraception until I was ready both emotionally and physically.”

For more information, read the full paper here.