Gotta believe that biology always wins. I was reminded of this as Kevin Richardson, the Backstreet Boys star of our movie If I Could Tell You, recently revealed his own infertility journey to People magazine. Given his great performance in the film, it’s no surprise he came into it guns loaded with emotional ammo.
Sex and Candles
After failing numerous “western” medical treatments including IUI and IVF, Kevin and his wife Kristin abandoned scientific medicine and went “east” to acupuncture. And, lo and behold, Maxwell Haze was born. No shots, no egg retrievals, just sex and candles.
Shaking and Baking
The amazing thing is, their story is not all that uncommon. I see this a lot in my male fertility practice around holiday time, as the cards roll in with more and more kids on them. And when I call to ask, “Was that new little one from a frozen embryo transfer?” I often hear: “Nope, Doc, she’s from normal shakin’ and bakin’!”
There’s even research to suggest how often this happens. In a French study of 2,100 couples who took the IVF journey, researchers contacted them almost a decade after their treatment. They were asked whether they’d had a child on their own after fertility treatment. Here’s what they found:
- Among parents who’d had a baby with IVF: 17% had a subsequent child naturally
- Among couples who failed to have a baby with IVF: 24% had a subsequent child naturally
That means that over 40% of couples conceived a child at home after IVF treatment! Although these findings might be biased because only slightly more than half of couples (58%) invited to participate in the study actually responded, it’s clearly not a rare event.
No Fairy Tale
So, no, IVF is not always the end of the fertility rope. In fact, it’s pretty common to conceive after exhausting all earthly resources on fertility treatments, whether they work or not. Kevin’s story is not just another Hollywood fairy tale, but in fact is a common scene in the play of life. It’s also a testament to the power of “eastern” medicine and believing—in yourself, in biology, and the human spirit.