For millions of people throughout the world, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a beacon of hope that making their dream of parenthood can become a true reality. No matter the circumstances that brought them to IVF, the journey can be a mental, emotional, physical and financial rollercoaster. While modern medical technology has increased success rates for achieving a successful pregnancy with the procedure, it is not a 100 percent guarantee. This can add stress for many individuals trying to conceive with IVF, as each attempt requires funding and significant emotional investment. If your first IVF cycle is unsuccessful it is important to determine the cause in order to address the problem and increase your chances of obtaining a viable pregnancy.
The following are three of the most common causes of failed IVF:
1. Chromosomal Abnormalities
Chromosomal abnormalities are the most common reason for miscarriage or failed implantation for both IVF and natural pregnancies. If an embryo has a chromosomal abnormality but is transferred to the uterus, it will result in a failed IVF cycle. The woman’s body will naturally reject the embryo in the case of aneuploidy (an irregular number of chromosomes in the embryo) or genetic or molecular abnormalities because it will be unable to result in a healthy baby. The risk of carrying embryos with chromosomal abnormalities increases with age, with women in their mid-40’s at the greatest risk.
2. Implantation Dysfunction
It is essential for the embryo to implant into the uterus in order for pregnancy to occur. In cases of implantation dysfunction, the embryo cannot properly attach to the uterine lining. If the embryo is unable to attach, then it will result in a failed IVF cycle. Implantation dysfunction may be the result of:
- Immunologic dysfunction
- Surface lesions such as scar tissue, polyps or fibroids
- Thin endometrium
IVF has been used to obtain pregnancies around the world since the late 1970’s, but the procedure has adapted and improved with modern technology. While the procedure remains relatively the same between IVF clinics, the key difference lies in the experience of your fertility specialist. Every fertility specialist is going to have a different level of knowledge, skill and experience, which will either increase of decrease your odds of obtaining a pregnancy.
If you have a failed IVF cycle and there are no underlying medical complications that could be the cause, then it may the result of technical skill. Embryo transfer, during which the specialist transfers the embryo to the uterus, requires a substantial amount of both skill and experience. It is therefore important to review the prior cycles and learn about what may have gone wrong. If the embryo transfer was difficult or there were other variables, these can be improved in the next embryo transfer cycle.
How to Increase Chances of Success with IVF
These three causes of failed IVF should always be evaluated before continuing with additional IVF attempts to ensure your chances of obtaining a pregnancy are as high as possible. If the cause is chromosomal abnormality, there are a few solutions that can be discussed with a fertility specialist, such as Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). PGS will screen your embryos for chromosomal abnormalities prior to embryo transfer to increase the odds of transferring only genetically healthy embryos. For implantation dysfunction, the solution will need to be determined after further evaluation and will be dependent on the underlying cause of the dysfunction.
You have the most control over choosing the fertility specialists you entrust with your care. Selecting an IVF clinic is a major decision and there are many factors that should be considered before moving forward with an IVF cycle. Always research the clinic and ask questions about their experience, success rates and successful births. If you have had a failed IVF cycle or are looking into this procedure to start or grow your family, speak with our fertility specialists at LA IVF. Our specialists are uniquely trained and experienced with a wide variety of fertility concerns, and can help you find the right solution for you.