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Dr. Rebecca Chilvers Talks to Romper.com About Breastfeeding and Fertility Meds

 February 18th, 2020


“Hurry up and wait.” It’s a common thread that ties the #TTC community together. Wait for appointments. Wait for results. Wait for those inevitable two weeks …  And, when the endless waiting gives way to that beautiful bundle of joy you realize every moment was worth it.

And, you’re ready to do it all over again.

Many families start planning for baby No.2 while baby No. 1 is still nursing, which begs the question, “Does breastfeeding mix with fertility meds?”

Dr. Rebecca Chilvers, a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Specialists of Texas, spoke to Romper.com to weigh in on the potential risks and the sweet rewards of embracing the wait.

Read the full Romper.com article.

Additional guidance provided by Dr. Chilvers:

“I am a big proponent of breastfeeding, which I did for 18 months for each of my two children, though I do believe in ‘fed is best’. It’s wonderful if you can breastfeed your children, or pump as I did, but it’s also great if your baby is healthy from formula if suitable and well-tolerated. 

To my knowledge fertility drugs have not been extensively studied during pregnancy. It is known that many [fertility medications] such as Clomid and Femara affect hormones, estrogen receptors, and estrogen production respectively. Though only temporary, these changes can decrease milk supply and can be transferred to Baby via breast milk with uncertain effects.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) medications like injections are more potent than pills and can have an even more profound effect on milk supply.

Breastfeeding, in general, decreases fertility by increasing prolactin and decreasing estrogen production in the body, which in turn affects ovulation and thins the uterine lining. For many women, this is enough to prevent pregnancy altogether, though there are always exceptions.

When trying to conceive, families want the best chances, especially when investing time, energy, and finances into fertility treatments. For these reasons, I recommend patients wean from breastfeeding before starting treatment at Fertility Specialists of Texas. Mom should have regular cycles and have her prolactin checked to confirm normalcy after weaning so she can proceed with fertility treatments without limitations.

There is another side to consider, which is cryopreservation. Having frozen eggs or embryos stored in our IVF lab or at an offsite facility removes pressure and time constraints, which allows women to enjoy breastfeeding Baby before embarking on a new fertility adventure.”

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