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Should You Take a Break Between IVF Cycles?

Unwanted pregnancy, contraception fail, safe concept. Frustrated couple checking a pregnancy test; blog: Should You Take a Break Between IVF Cycles?

If you are struggling with infertility, you already know that there is a ton of information available about treatments. All that information can make the process seem confusing and overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to talk to a fertility specialist to get the facts straight. For instance, there is some conflicting advice on how much time you should take between IVF cycles. Again, it’s best to talk to your doctor, but we’ve rounded up some helpful information for you to consider in the meantime. 

Spacing Between Cycles

While every person is different, the standard space between IVF cycles is one full menstrual cycle. A fresh IVF cycle should not be done two months in a row without a menstrual cycle in between them. That means waiting about 4 to 6 weeks after the embryo transfer and negative pregnancy test to start another full cycle for most women. Doing this several times in a row is referred to as having back to back IVF cycles.

When cycles are further apart, they may be referred to as delayed. According to research done for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), there is no statistically significant difference in pregnancy or birth rates between cycles done immediately and delayed cycles.

Physical Reasons to Take a Break

In some cases, there are physical reasons a woman should take a break between cycles. The medications used for ovarian stimulation may cause some inflammation. While that in itself is not usually an issue, many doctors think it’s beneficial to wait for the inflammation to subside before going forward with another fresh cycle. However, some clinics will go forward with a frozen embryo transfer after a fresh IVF cycle even if they won’t start a new stimulation cycle.

Mental & Emotional Wellbeing

Another reason that taking a break, whether it is for the recommended single menstrual period or longer, is for emotional and mental health. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back for a bit so you have a window of time when your sole focus is not IVF. Fertility journeys can be stressful and tiring and it can be good to take a breather. It may also benefit you if you get a bit of stress relief and rest.

However, making that decision is hard for many people. It may seem like the clock is ticking louder and faster after a cycle has not resulted in a pregnancy. Some people have a mindset that they want to power through the process and feel like taking breaks drags things out. Others do benefit from a pause in cycles. If age is a factor and you’re worried about taking a break, then talk to your doctor about what the best course of action is.

If you decide to take a break between, you will likely still be thinking about getting pregnant during that time. You can try to take that time to learn new ways to cope with stress.  You may even decide to start looking further into other options like using frozen embryos, or donor eggs or embryos.

Financial Considerations

Finally, some people need to take a break for financial reasons. Unfortunately, even insurance plans that cover fertility treatments will not cover everything. So it may be necessary to pause treatments to assess things and make arrangements for the next cycle. At Carolinas Fertility Institute, we price our services fairly so you don’t have to worry about being overcharged for your treatments. Take a look at our financing page for more information on how treatment can be accessible to you.

A Personal Decision

As you can see, whether or not you take a break between IVF cycles is a personal decision you should make based on how you feel and what your fertility specialist recommends. If you are physically and emotionally ready for another cycle, you can start another cycle when your doctor gives the ok. The most important thing is to do is listen to your body and feelings. Your fertility specialist should work with you to figure out the best treatment plan given your circumstances.

Whether you are just beginning your fertility journey or have been on the road for a while, Carolinas Fertility Institute is here to provide you with compassionate care. Our team is made up of three renowned fertility experts that will provide you with personalized care. We invite you to view our success rates as objectively tabulated by CDC on the website of Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART). Call us at (336) 448-9100 to make an appointment in the Triad, or (844) 686-2233 for our Charlotte office.