How Common is Miscarriage After IVF?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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In most cases, miscarriage after in vitro fertilization (IVF) is only slightly higher than in a normally conceived pregnancy. Many times, the added risk comes from physical abnormalities in the mother which led to infertility to begin with. These can normally be fixed or alleviated, although sometimes they may lead to miscarriage, depending on the problem. For the most part, miscarriage after IVF is around the 10 to 20 percent experienced by any other pregnant woman.

The cause of miscarriage after having IVF is likely very similar to any other pregnancy loss. Most miscarriages are thought to be due to chromosomal abnormalities in the developing baby, with some of them being caused by external forces such as uterine malfunction, placenta abnormalities, or hormonal issues in the mother. Occasionally, miscarriage will occur due to something the mother consumes.

One of the main differences between normal pregnancy loss and a miscarriage after IVF, is that it is harder for many mothers emotionally to lose a pregnancy after years of infertility. IVF treatments are typically reserved as a last resort, after all other methods of getting pregnancy have failed, because it is highly expensive and carries a greater risk of multiples and pregnancy complications. Success is less than 50 percent, so losing a pregnancy that does occur can be a devastating loss.


The loss caused by a miscarriage after IVF can be doubly devastating if the couple cannot afford additional treatments or if additional treatments are not advised. Sometimes, if the mothers’ body is to blame for one or recurrent losses, she may begin to blame herself and feel a sense of worthlessness at not being able to carry a baby to term. This is not true, of course, but an inability to get and stay pregnant can have a tremendous impact on a woman’s self esteem.

Therapy is advised for many who experience a miscarriage after IVF before trying for another pregnancy. Even if not given professional counseling, any mother who has experienced a miscarriage should wait until she is emotionally ready to try for another baby. Miscarriages are a loss and should be grieved just as any other.

In most cases, miscarriage after IVF has no bearing on future pregnancies unless a specific abnormality in the mother’s hormones or anatomy is discovered. There is often no increased risk for pregnancy loss until two or more consecutive losses have occurred. If this happens, genetic testing and counseling may be advised.


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Post 3

@MrsWinslow - I can't find the article now, but I'm pretty sure that I read recently that PGD with IVF (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) actually slightly reduces the chance of carrying to term. To do the genetic testing, they have to remove cells from the embryo, and that might be causing other problems.

Now, that's for couples with no family history of genetic problems. If something runs in your family, that changes the equation and you may want to talk to your doctor about having either pgd or maybe having testing done on yourself and your husband.

Post 2

@BambooForest - A lady I know got pregnant after IVF for her first child. She carried to term and had a healthy daughter. They wanted another, so she weaned her daughter after about fifteen months in preparation for another round of IVF. But as soon as she weaned her baby, she got pregnant the old-fashioned way! I hope something like that happens for your cousin.

I'm currently considering IVF. I've heard that you can have the embryos tested genetically to make sure they're healthy. Is that a good idea? Will it make it less likely that I'll miscarry (by making it less likely that I'll be carrying a baby with genetic defects)?

Post 1

I have a cousin who got IVF. She miscarried the first time, but then the second time the pregnancy was fine. She worries, though, that if she gets IVF again she might miscarry multiple times. I guess there is something to that concern after all.

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