How long do I need to wait between cycles? Should I take a break? When can we start the next procedure? Do I need to wait? These are all questions Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility get asked quite frequently—and truthfully, the answers can vary.
We know how stressful and heartbreaking it can be when a fertility procedure isn’t successful. When it happens, we often see couples want to go in two directions with their journey: pause it and recuperate or keep moving along full speed.
Our approach is to carefully evaluate every treatment and cycle to be able to make the right decision for the next one. Here are some things to consider after a failed procedure and what we think are typically the best next steps.
Wait Time Between Treatments
The length of time you should wait between fertility treatments depends on several factors. Not too long ago, it was believed that back-to-back procedures would reduce fertility, but now research indicates that repeated attempts may actually be more effective.
This is especially true if you are person with ovaries who’s 35 years or older, because the longer you wait between treatments, the more the quality and quantity of your eggs decrease. For example, if you have your first procedure at 38, then wait six months or so before trying again, your chances of a successful pregnancy can decrease dramatically.
Attempting another procedure directly following an unsuccessful one also gives us a chance to adjust our approach or potentially try something new. If you don’t get pregnant on the first try, we’ll analyze what happened—considering ovulation, timing, sperm quality and quantity—and use that information to enhance the next treatment. We work closely with our patients to choose the next treatment cycle to help them conceive in the shortest amount of time. Using this method to individualize treatment plans for each patient increases their chance of pregnancy.
Reasons to Consider a Break
All that being said, there are some legitimate reasons to take a break between cycles. Here are the most common reasons our patients do decide to wait a while between treatments.
Some people need to take a break for financial reasons. Unfortunately, most insurance plans will not full cover every fertility treatment you may need, so it might be necessary to pause treatments as you make financial arrangements for the next one. But you can rest assured, our team at AZCREI works with you to get the most out of your insurance benefits; we also do our part to reduce the financial burden of the tests and procedures to make overall treatment costs more reasonable.
There are sometimes physical reasons to take a break between cycles. Some of the hormone medications used for ovarian stimulation may cause inflammation; so, for example, if we’re completing an IVF procedure using fresh embryos, we may wait for the inflammation to subside before starting another cycle of treatment. However, if we’re using frozen embryos there appears to be no physical side effects (which there rarely are), we should be able to continue to move forward with your treatment plan.
One of the most common stumbling blocks we’ve seen over the years is abandoning treatment after a failed attempt. Sometimes the treatments get too difficult or arduous, or patients get too disappointed or depressed because they haven’t yet been successful. We encourage our patients to stick with it, but your comfort is always the most important thing to our team. We make sure you have all the information you need to make your decision and won’t push you one way or another.
At AZCREI, we have the confidence that we can help you achieve your dreams of having a family, and we’ll stay the course along with you—even if you decide to take a break—until you’re ultimately successful in getting pregnant. If you’d like to find out more about our center or schedule a visit, contact us online or call (520) 326-0001.