The term “infertile” is often a misnomer when describing a couple’s difficulty conceiving. Infertility is complex, with a number of causes and prognoses.
For some, infertility means just that – the inability to produce offspring.
For others, a designation of infertility means that the couple has trouble conceiving, but is anatomically and physiologically capable of conceiving.
A recent study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that some couples who had tried IVF eventually became pregnant naturally.
The researchers collected data from 2,100 couples who had begun fertility treatment in France in the early 2000s, 1,300 of which had successful pregnancies via IVF.
The couples were then asked to report if they had a child naturally in the 10 years following their treatment.
For parents who had a baby through IVF, 17% eventually conceived naturally. Of couples who did not successfully conceive via IVF, 24% were able to conceive naturally.
These data suggest that the definition of infertility does not mean that a couple cannot conceive. Rather, they have trouble conceiving.
These results should give hope to couples struggling from unexplained infertility who do not have a clear reason for being unable to initially conceive.