Many parents would like more than one child. In fact, in the US only 3% polled by Gallup a few years ago feel one child is ideal. On average most families want two or three children, the cliched 2.5 kids!
Even if parents are happy with one child, there is plenty of outside pressure to encourage them to have another. Family, friends and random outsiders ask new parents when they plan to have another!
There are lots of reasons why it is attractive to have more than one child. Often, parents feel it is beneficial. You often hear that siblings are great playmates, they teach sharing, comfort and are less self-centred.
Parents with more than one child are also statistically less likely to divorce. There is a 2% reduction in divorce for each child according to the University of Ohio. You certainly get more for your money! A second child can take advantage of the outlay for the first one by using baby equipment, clothes and toys.
Some say its double trouble, but these concerns are outweighed as more tell you it’s much easier the second around.
But is this true of babies that are created with the help of assisted reproduction technologies?
Is it really easier the second time around in terms of the mechanics of having a baby?
Success of second IVF baby
Women actually have a good chance of having a second child with the help of fertility treatment after the birth of a first child born this way.
The chances of having a second baby through IVF are between 51% and 88% after 6 cycles of treatment. This is according to Australian research published in Human Reproduction, one of the world’s leading medicine journals.
However, the chances of a second IVF baby lessened as the mothers’ ages increased. Women aged 35-39 were 22% less likely to have a second IVF baby with frozen embryos than women aged under 30. And this dropped to 50% less likely with a fresh embryo cycle.
The role of male factor infertility
They were also shown to improve their chances further if they had only required one cycle and a single embryo transfer to achieve their first pregnancy. Also increased success was noted if infertility was due to male factor.
The study looked at 35,290 women who achieved a live birth with IVF. This was between 2009 and 2013 and followed them up until October 2016. Of these women, 15,325 (43%) returned for a second round of treatment to conceive another child.
Although the average age of the women was 36, the research also looked at older women. These women, aged between 40 and 44, also fared well with a second IVF baby. They achieved 38-55% success when they utilised a frozen embryo from a previous cycle.
Reassurance for couples
Professor Georgina Chambers, University of New South Wales, Australia ran the project. She said, “Couples can be reassured by these figures. Our findings underline the fact that ART treatment should be considered as a course of treatment, rather than just one single cycle of treatment. If couples don’t achieve a pregnancy in the first cycle, it could very well happen in the next. However, it would be best not to wait too long, especially if a new stimulation cycle is needed.”
Her colleague, Dr. Devora Leiberman added, “These results can be used to counsel patients, but it is important to note that these are population estimates and every couple is different.” She suggests some caution in that the analysis. It does not take account of all individual factors that affect a woman’s chance of ART success. This includes duration of infertility and BMI.
Dr. Leiberman said, “Whether ART treatment should be commenced or continued should ultimately be a decision for the fertility clinician and patient. This should take into account all medical and non-medical factors. But this study provides the range of results that could be expected.”
So, overall, it’s good news for couples who may be looking to add another IVF-conceived child to their family. The study provides welcome reassurance that, in most cases, the chance of them having a second baby through IVF is still favourable.