Is getting pregnant on your own after fertility treatments just an urban legend? Not always, according to one writer who had it happen to her.

By Dorothy Sasso
Advertisement
gpointstudio/ Shutterstock

After going through a successful pregnancy, I knew the signs, but as I sat in my bathroom, seeing the positive symbol show up immediately on the test, I thought to myself, "This is not how I get pregnant!"

It took us five rounds of in vitro fertilization to conceive my first daughter and here I was, less than a year after her birth, pregnant again, this time 100% on our own, without fertility treatments.

Once I started looking into it, I heard many stories of spontaneous pregnancy after infertility and realized my situation was more common than I thought.

Here are just some of the tales I learned, which might just give hope to the many, like me, who thought they couldn't get pregnant on their own.

Stories of Secondary Fertility

It was the symptoms that gave it away

Christine K. from Baltimore was told she had a 10% chance of getting pregnant naturally with her second child, since she needed IVF for her first due to her husband's low sperm motility and morphology diagnosis.

"At my initial visit, they told me I was pregnant, through ultrasound," she shares. "I thought it wasn't possible. I [was] taking Lupron to start the IVF cycle. I missed my period and my breasts were sore, but I automatically assumed it was side effects from the Lupron."

RELATEDWhat is IVF?

There's nothing like morning sickness

Jaclyn D. from Columbus, Ohio went through the wringer to achieve her first pregnancy.

"We tried to conceive for one-plus years by ourselves, then did 13 rounds of double IUIs [intrauterine inseminations]—two inseminations within 48 hours. When those all failed, we did three rounds of IVF."

She was told that there was zero percent chance of getting pregnant without IVF. They, therefore, had no plan to get pregnant following their daughter's birth. When her daughter was around two, "I went to both my family physician and my OB/GYN trying to figure out why I was so sick. [I] joked and laughed with both that I couldn't be pregnant."

However, one morning, "a smell 'triggered' my morning sickness. At that moment, I knew I was pregnant. There was no doubt in my mind."

An ovulation miracle

Cathy Stefano of Philadelphia shared a similar story. Initially diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, she endured three rounds of ovulation drug Clomid, two cycles of injectables with IUIs and finally IVF. However, after producing a batch of bad eggs and then not responding well to a second IVF cycle, she tried another IUI, which resulted in her daughter.

Stefano's first pregnancy was tough. "We didn't discuss a subsequent very often. IVF was totally out of the question. How was I supposed to work and care for [my daughter] on that roller coaster ride?"

However, when Stefano stopped breastfeeding, she noticed she was ovulating, which she never had before because of PCOS. She and her husband decided to take a chance despite just having booked a trip to Las Vegas.

"My daughter was only six months old when I conceived naturally. I had no idea if [getting pregnant would work], but it worth a try. [In the end] I was three months pregnant for the trip to Vegas. Food never tasted so yummy!"

A post-pregnancy surprise

Jenifer Coscia from Westchester County, N.Y. also got pregnant when her first was under a year. She was initially diagnosed with pockets in her tubes, which prevented the egg from traveling to the uterus. IVF helped bypass the tubes entirely, leading to the birth of her son.

"I was told that it was unlikely I would conceive naturally, that there would be a risk of a tubal pregnancy. However, when my son was 5 months old, I was surprised to find out I was pregnant again, naturally."

The Truth Behind Pregnancy Affecting Fertility

These stories seem to crop up a lot so is it true that a first pregnancy can "jump start" fertility?

Jennifer L. Nichols, D.O., from Abington Reproductive Medicine in Pennsylvania explains that the data isn't strong enough to prove this one way or the other. At Abington, she says, "we do not routinely follow [former] patients." Without a retrospective study, it's difficult to determine a statistic of spontaneous pregnancies after fertility treatments.

However, Nichols shared a few studies that have looked at this phenomenon.

"One study [from 2012] looked at 2,134 couples who began IVF and followed up with a questionnaire seven to nine years later. In patients who were successful through prior treatment 17% conceived spontaneously and gave birth."

A second study from 2000 "looked at 513 replies from 530 questionnaires mailed and found the spontaneous conception rate (20.7%) was higher in younger women (<34), with shorter duration of infertility, diagnosed with either unexplained or endometriosis."

A final study from 2008, which looked at families in Germany who initially conceived with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) reported that "of the couples trying 20% conceived with a live birth rate of 16.4% with maternal age being the only critical factor in the spontaneous conception."

What is clear from this data is that not all formally infertile couples will be lucky enough to conceive naturally.

A diagnosis like endometriosis or unexplained infertility has a better chance of spontaneous pregnancies after fertility treatment.

"It is possible that pregnancy may improve the status of endometriosis," Dr. Nichols states. "[Pregnancy] could improve the blood flow to the uterus and could affect anatomy therefore improving embryo implantation."

The hormonal changes from pregnancy could also help women who previously had irregular cycles.

"Pregnancy may play a role in regulating these abnormalities and a woman could have a higher chance to conceive naturally," Dr. Nichols adds. She explains, "the factors that likely have a lower chance of success for future natural conception are male factor and tubal factor."

Comments (3)

Anonymous
February 18, 2020
I want to use this medium to thank Dr oyama for helping me cure fertility through his herbs.i was childless for 10 years and I have tried different doctors with surgery but they where all in vain ,a friend of mine introduce me to  about herbal cure I decided to give it a try to it.i contacted him and explained my situation to him,he prepared a herbal medicine and sent it to me.he instructed me on how to use it and to my greatest surprise after using the fertility herbs for just 21 days I notice some changes in me and so I decided to visit the hospital and my doctor confirm that I was pregnant, today I am a happy mother of my own child.thank God for everything for sending Dr oyama to me you can contact him via email droyamasolutiontemple@gmail.com or Whatsapp +2348108264684  
Anonymous
November 24, 2019
I never thought that there will be a miracle on the internet until i came in contact with Priest Babaka, finally i made it with his help, with his spiritual power which was recommended by a lady in baby center he help before, i never believe it was real until i confirm it now because i have tried so many things to make sure i get pregnant but no luck, immediately i contact him. he did some spiritual prayers and send me a medicine which i took, i got pregnant three weeks after, and i now have a son to show. thank you so much priest and i recommend Priest Babaka for everyone out there that is willing to have a child of her own out there. contact him for help too he is real and powerful, i have confirmed it, contact him on email: babaka.wolf@gmail.com or Facebook at priest.babaka
Anonymous
August 7, 2019
Hello Couples! I am here today to share the good news. I and my husband have been married for 4 years, he was diagnosed of Azoospermia, retrieving sperms from his testicles wasn't an option for us because there were no sperms found there either. Thank God we found a Psychic online who helped us. with just one spell casting session, i and my husband had sex as usual, in the first month, i started feeling weird and funny. God used this Chinese Psychic to turn our sorrows into joy. I'm now in my second trimester, healthy and happy. If you are experiencing similar issues with your health or any other issues, Dr Lee's spell casting is definitely what you need to be happy again. I won't be selfish, i'll share his contact here. You're lucky to have found this post.