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One in six women 'conceive naturally after failed IVF' - UK research suggests

By Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor

Around one in six women conceive a baby naturally following failed IVF, research suggests.

A new study from the University of Aberdeen could offer hope to couples struggling to have a much longed for child.

Researchers studied data from 2,133 women who received IVF treatment between 1998 and 2011 at a fertility unit in Aberdeen.

Around half the women (1,073) had IVF treatment that resulted in no pregnancy or miscarriage. But 17% of these went on to have a baby naturally within the next five years.

A further 1,060 women had successful IVF that resulted in a baby, of whom 15% went on to have another baby naturally within five years.

The study, funded by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office and published in the journal Human Reproduction, is thought to be one of the biggest of its kind.

Lead researcher, Dr David McLernon, said: "IVF treatment is not something that couples take on lightly, and it can be a physically and emotionally demanding process even if treatment is successful.

"When it is unsuccessful, understandably couples can be left distraught.

"This study will give couples a clearer idea of their chances of conceiving naturally even after IVF has been unsuccessful.

"Hopefully with this information they will be able to make an informed choice about their next moves after treatment.

"There have been a number of limited studies looking at this area previously, but most of them have been based on surveys with poor response rates and a small sample size.

"This study looked at data from more than 2,000 women which we think makes it one of the most robust studies of its type."

Around 75,000 fertility treatments are carried out in the UK each year.

Almost 70,000 of these are IVF.

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