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IVF mums conceiving after childbirth

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, January 11, 2008 | 0 comments

IT'S a mystifying phenomenon - IVF mothers conceiving spontaneously months after childbirth - and experts say it may be on the rise.

Women who have resorted to IVF after years of failure are regularly falling pregnant naturally soon after baby No. 1.

According to some doctors, the number of IVF parents conceiving naturally second time around may be growing.

"Twenty-five per cent of women who've been through IVF will conceive within the next two years," said IVF Australia director Prof Michael Chapman.

"It's probably increasing, and that's because IVF is being used more and more to treat unexplained infertility."

The IVF couples conceiving naturally second time around are not completely infertile, but rather have reduced fertility.

So they may have fallen pregnant naturally the first time if they had kept trying.

Other experts say the rise in the phenomenon may simply be because more people are using IVF as it becomes more affordable.

Some experts believe the secret to falling pregnant naturally after IVF lies in a relaxed state of mind.

"I have a personal belief that part of it is related to relaxation," Prof Chapman said.

"You've got your baby, and you're not trying any more. That's one factor, and maybe the body does know how to get pregnant."

Spotswood bookkeeper Penny Stevens tried for 18 months to conceive naturally before having IVF baby Jack 14 months ago.

So she was stunned to discover only months after Jack's birth she was pregnant naturally.

Ms Stevens, 39, is convinced the stress of desperately wanting a baby, combined with work stress, was the reason she failed first time, and the absence of that stress was why she succeeded for baby No. 2.

"You think you're doing the right thing - you go to uni, work really hard, you get a beautiful house. It wasn't until I got to 34 or 35 I thought, 'OK, I'll have babies now'," said Ms Stevens, who is due in weeks.

"And suddenly I couldn't. It frightened the living daylights out of me. It was my worst fear to not have a baby.

"This time there was no stress, no pressure, because I had Jack.

" I was amazed that we were pregnant naturally because I just had it in my head that we wouldn't."

Prof Chapman recently advised the mother of two IVF babies to use contraception if she didn't want another baby.

Eleven weeks later she was pregnant.

Monash IVF national medical director Gab Kovacs treated one woman who tried for seven years to conceive naturally before having an IVF baby.

Prof Kovacs said the woman tried naturally for two more years before having a second IVF baby, then about six months later conceived a third naturally.

Prof Kovacs believes the phenomenon of IVF mums conceiving naturally for subsequent pregnancies comes down to pure chance.

"The longer you try, the greater the chance," he said.


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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