If at first—or third, or fourth—you don’t succeed, keep trying

Couples having trouble getting pregnant may have a better chance if they have more than the usual three to four cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), a new British study suggests.

Among more than 150,000 women in the study, 29.5 percent had a baby after the first cycle. The rate remained above 20 percent for each cycle through the fourth, and 65 percent of women had a live birth by the sixth cycle, the researchers said.

“IVF should be thought of as a relatively long-term treatment, with repeat treatment cycles if success is not immediate,” said lead researcher Debbie Lawlor, Ph.D., M.P.H., a professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol.

On average, most couples receiving IVF can have a baby if they repeat treatment up to six times, she said. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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