IVF and Breastfeeding

(11 posts)(5 voices)
  1. xposted to IVF General board....

    Hi all,

    Question for those of you who may know/experienced.....

    Can you do IVF while breastfeeding? I've got a 12 month old, and would like to continue breastfeeding until at least the WHO recommendation of two years. Though I know I will want to do my second round of IVF next year sometime.

    Does anyone know if you can do IVF while breastfeeding? I worry about the meds going through my milk - and also the fact that it could hurt my chances of conceiving as well.

    I really, really don't want to wean - but also don't want my babies too far apart in age.

    For reference, we are male factor only, I'm 31, previous IVF cycle was a successful eSET. We would want to go for another eSet this time around too.

    We actually want to try our one FET first before going into a fresh cycle.

    Any info you can give me would be great!

  2. Hi there,

    We have unexplained infertility and were blessed with success on our first IVF. Our beautiful DS is now 3 years and 9 months of age.

    It is somewhat controversial and most clinics will not deal with you if you are still breastfeeding, but I continued to breastfeed my DS, and still do.
    Anyway to have another baby, we attempted 9 IVFs, 4 were cancelled, so we completed 5. I got pregnant 3 times, sadly one was ectopic, I miscarried another pregnancy, and finally and beautifully, I gave birth to our DS2 16 weeks ago.

    So I continued to breastfeed even through pregnancy and am now tandem feeding. So it can be done.

    I did lots of research before I did it, bought the Thomas McHale, Medications and Mother's Milk. My clinic did not know and still dont that I was breastfeeding. I never lied to them, they didn't ask me. I stopped feeding DS through the night at 12 months (which was when I started back doing IVFs) and cut back to feedings only in the mornings, evenings and nap times. My periods returned and were immediately back to normal when he was 8 months old.

    Like you my concerns centred on 2 things, 1) that meds would pass to DS and 2) that it would inhibit success. After researching both, I felt satisfied that neither would be the case, and indeed I got pregnant 3 times, so clearly not. Losing 2 pregnancies and having 4 cancelled IVFs did take its toll and it was hard not to wonder about the breastfeeding on my darker days, but I know that in those circumstances you are casting around madly for answers and reasons why to help you through the pain.

    I am 39. I hope that helps with your decision.

  3. I breastfed my son until ET. I was only feeding him at night and naptime (he was 3) for about 4 months prior to my cycle. I ended up having my best cycle ever that cycle, way better quality embryos. I did end up pg that cycle. My RE wasn't happy about the bfing but didn't make me stop either. Good luck to you


  4. Kimionis, you are doing an FET right, not IVF?

    For an FET, I believe you will need to be ovulating ...at least menstruating regularly. Did you get your period back yet?

    ChristineJ & daisie, had you gotten your period when you got pregnant?

    If not I believe it will be difficult, because you need a good lining for implantation. Me, I would reduce b/f, perhaps cut back on some feedings, until your period returns, then do a natural FET (me I will do no meds for my own FET, just to be safe).

  5. Hi ulke!

    Yes, we will start with a FET but if it doesn't work, then hopefully we will move to a fresh IVF cycle once more. And no, I haven't gotten my period yet. :-(

    (ever think one would frown for that??)

    We cut back on night nursing and that still didn't bring my period back, perhaps when I am closer to the process I will cut back additonal nursings and see if it comes back. I'll feel better cutting back on nursing when he's a little older - he's only 12 months now and nursies are his life!! But yes, good idea. I've also read that that's what other women have done to bring their period back.

    I read a really cool article on Kellymom about the whole thing too.

    Are you bf when you do your FET?

    One thing I also wonder about is the oxytocin rush that comes with BF, I heard it makes the uterus cramp? I would hate for it to punt my little blast out of its uterine place if this is the case. I saw another woman say she didn't bf on the day of transfer, I wonder what others have done on that front as well.

  6. I researched this quite extensively before doing my FETs too, and came to the conclusion that I would BF while doing an FET without hesitation! There is just no conclusive evidence that it makes any difference that I could find, and I think the advice to wean is purely precautionary (like the bedrest after tx or no sex)

    I cut back on my bf and finally got my AF back at 14 months, and was immediately regular so was able to jump right back into my FETs---I actually weaned over the next few months before I did my first tx (long story why), but the only precautionary measure I was planning to take was to try limit or omit BFing before and after tx and then on day(s) of implantation---but realistically I probably wouldn't have done it, as DD was quite fond of her BF and I would have had a hard time denying (since I truly don't believe it would have made a difference anyway)--There is no evidence that the brief oxytocin spike or the brief prolactin spike right after BFing do anything to prevent pg, purely hypothetical---Both these spikes last much longer diretly after birth, so likely do have a contraceptive effect

    From what I've read of your posts, sounds like you've done your research and come to the same conclusions as I did--I didn't do any research about an IVF cycle (re the meds and tx into bmilk) so have no info on that, but sounds like you've got that covered too


  7. Thanks for your supportive response, Mindy!

    On your FETs - did you do unmedicated FETs or with meds? If with meds, which ones?

  8. Technically "unmedicated" because I didn't do BCP or anything pre-tx, but I did do the trigger shot and progesterone (Prometrium) afterwards for support, but would have skipped those too if I felt any reason to, as I feel with a natural cycle my body is producing everything it needs to support a pg (my IF dx is tubal so I have a lot of faith that my body knows what to do)

    Feel free to ask anything else if you want more info!

    Oh, btw, my RE wanted me to wean before my FETs but I told him outright that I didn't think that it mattered and requested that if all my pre-FET b/w came back OK we proceed with the FET---I have a great RE and he was fine with doing this and would not let me if he felt it was really hurting my chances--That speaks volumes, to me!


  9. ulke, yes, I did have my period when I cycled....my son was 3 lol. I agree it seems like a must have to cycle.

    I also had my labs back before I made any decision about weaning and they were great, my prolactin was as low as a non-bfeeder. Just keep in mind, my son was nursing only a couple times a day and was 3. It was too hard to choose between cycling and weaning until that time, I didn't feel comfortable with either so I just waited. I was also hesitant to nurse during an IVF pg, I just didn't trust my body enough.

    Tough decision....


  10. Oh yes, I kind of assumed you had got your periods back, LoL.

    I intend to b/f through my FET. But right now I'm only doing around 2 nursings a day. And my periods are like clockwork. Periods came back after 3 months, even though I exclusively b/f. If my hormone levels check out, it will be a natural FET. I won't even be doing progesterone.

    For IVF, if I were still nursing, I would do a natural cycle (no stims), and pump/dump for the day of the trigger shot. You can also do a tiny amount of stims (75IU on day 8 and 10, pump/dump those days). Both these methods will result in one egg retrieved, sometimes two. Of course you have to be ovulating to cycle, and especially for natural IVF it is better to have predictable, stable ovulation. You should know that with a natural IVF there is considerable risk that you might ovulate before they can pick up the egg. If you choose to go that route, you should find an RE that does lots of natural IVFs, so they are familiar with the timing.

  11. Hi there,
    as previously mentioned my periods came back at 8 months DS was establised on solids) and were regular from the start. I started cycling when he was 1, and weaned him ay nighttime, as I had heard it was the night feedin that had greater impact on prolactin levels. He continued to feed at bedtime, wake up and nap time. I really tried to keep him to this during early pregnancy and 2wws, but was more laid back about it the rest of the time. At this stage (he is 3 years and 9 months) it is only a little nip in the morning and evening, but I have had to guide him to that, as he is absolutely mad about the boobie!

    My first pregnancy occurred when he was 18 months but was sadly proven to be ectopic, the second pregnancy occurred when he was 2 yrs and 4 months (miscarriage) and third (and successful pregnancy) happened in oct 08 when DS was 2 years and 9 months.

    I did worry also about the uterine contractions, but all my reading showed me that it wasn't enough to cause loss. Although I did experience 2 losses and 4 cancellede cycles they were in no way connected to breastfeeding, and would have happened anyway.

    I am glad I persisted

    Good luck hope it works for you

RSS feed for this topic


You must log in to post.