IVF is not a silver bullet - and one Kiwi woman who didn't fall pregnant after $60,000 worth of treatments wants to share her advice.

*Denise Smith (not her real name) tried seven fertility treatments after she experienced secondary infertility, the inability to conceive after having had children.

The Auckland credit manager was 35 and her son was 2 when she tried for her second child in 2015.

"My first child was conceived naturally and naively we believed that the second one would be easy. I think many first-time mums make this same mistake."


But after nine months of no pregnancy Smith and her husband sought medical advice.

They found she had low ovarian reserves but nothing else to cause alarm.

The Auckland woman had three rounds of IUI and four rounds of IVF after she experience secondary infertility. Photo / Supplied
The Auckland woman had three rounds of IUI and four rounds of IVF after she experience secondary infertility. Photo / Supplied

The couple decided to undergo three intrauterine insemination treatments - a process where sperm is prepared, then put directly into the uterus.

As they had no success they then had three rounds of in vitro fertilisation and another one with additional treatments.

Now 38, Smith said she would have skipped the three rounds of IUI as they have a lower success rate and gone straight into IVF.

She would have done one normal round of IVF and then add on additional treatments in the second round. If that had been successful their bill would be $30,000, not $60,000, Smith said.

The alternative treatments Smith referred to are: Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (checks the embryo for abnormalities before transferring it to the uterus), Time Lapse Morphometry Imaging (time lapse photography which identifies embryos with low potential, it also allows them to develop in an interrupted environment) and Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (where a superior sperm is selected and injected into the egg).

After the first two unsuccessful IVF rounds Smith opted to do PGS. She underwent the third round of IVF but only got three embryos, they were recommended to have at least four embryos for PGS. They "bit the bullet" and did a fourth round of IVF to get more embryos.


"However at the first scan, my heart fell when I heard only one of the follicles was at a reasonable size."

The eggs turned out to be too small to use.

Currently Smith has three frozen embryos. She is tossing up whether to transplant them and see what happens, do PGS and then transplant them or to just stop trying altogether.

"After spending over $60,000 on treatments, we are none the wiser on whether the fertility issue lies with my eggs or implantation.

"We are however much more educated on the IVF process and if we had this knowledge upfront we would have done things a lot differently.

"I think this is a major issue with many women seeking help with fertility, there should be more time spent on explaining the IVF process and the pros and cons of the add-ons like PGS. If we had known the benefits of it, we would have requested it straight away."