When the same fertility treatment is used for a prolonged period, the effectiveness of the treatment could diminish greatly according to new research published in Fertility and Sterility. A total of 408 couples were involved in the study after requesting an evaluation of infertility. Telephone and in-person interviews were used to complete research.

Based upon responses from each couple, fertility medications were most effective in the first or second cycle. After the second cycle, effectiveness reduced dramatically. The same was found in couples receiving Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). The first three cycles created a prime environment for conception. If couples were not able to conceive during this time, IUI was no longer as effective.

Finally, the team of researchers tested In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Cycles one and two carried higher rate of conception. By the third and following treatments, the chance of conception dropped by about 50%.

This information can be used by fertility doctors to increase rate of conception by switching fertility treatments every two cycles or so. According to collected data, if couples use a given treatment for only two cycles before switching, they will constantly stay in the prime fertility range for the given treatment.


  1. One round of fertility drugs = 85% conception rate. Three or more rounds = 29% conception rate. 
  2. One round of IVF = 59% conception rate. Three or more rounds = 35% conception rate.


Source: James F. Smith M.D. M.S., Michael L. Eisenberg M.D., Susan G. Millstein Ph. D, Robert D. Natchigall M.D., Natalia Sadetsky M.D. Ph. D, Marcelle I. Cedars M.D., Patricia P. Katz Ph. D, Infertility Outcomes Program Projects Group - Fertility and Sterility - 26 July 2010.