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Fertility Treatments Show 'Diminishing Returns'
Couples' chances of becoming pregnant with various forms of fertility treatment may start to fall after two or three tries with the same tactic, a new study suggests.
The findings, reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility, may offer some guidance on a question under debate in the infertility treatment field: How many treatment cycles should a couple undergo before proceeding to another — often more intensive and expensive — form of treatment?
In the new study, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) looked at the rates of success with three treatments — fertility drugs, IUI and IVF — among 408 couples seen at one of eight infertility centers. Couples who had one to two cycles of treatment with fertility drugs alone had a pregnancy rate of 85 percent. Those who underwent IUI had a pregnancy rate of 71 percent after one round of treatment, and 59 percent of those undergoing IVF became pregnant after one cycle.
However, the advantage of each of the three treatments declined after a certain number of attempts.