Although treatment for infertility is light years ahead of where it once was, there are no guarantees that these treatments, such as IVF, will work for everyone. In fact, just under 30% of IVF cycles actually result in babies, and for those women over 40, the numbers decrease. The end result of IVF may not be a baby, but an overwhelming emotional toll you didn’t expect. It’s wise to be aware of what can prevent the success of your treatment, and what can be done about it, before you embark on your IVF journey.
The Reasons for Failed IVF
There can be myriad reasons why IVF fails. The causes are complex and, possibly, the result of multiple issues, some of which you may be aware prior to starting your IVF treatment. If any factors are uncovered prior to your IVF, steps will be taken to remedy those impediments to pregnancy.
In many circumstances, however, the causes of a failed IVF, or a series of failed IVF, are not necessarily within anyone’s control. Here are four of the most common reasons for IVF failure:
- Quality of the Embryo is Poor:Just as with a natural conception, sometimes an embryo fails to develop as it should. There may be a chromosomal or genetic problem that wasn’t discovered in regular screening. At least 30% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage. Through no fault of anyone, the embryo ceases to develop.
- Age-Related Quality of Eggs: As you likely are aware, women are born with all of the eggs they will have for their reproductive life. The eggs are stored in the ovaries and the quality of your eggs declines with each passing year. When the quality of your eggs has diminished, they are typically not viable for successful IVF.
- Impaired Ovarian Response: Some women have problems with the ovaries responding and producing eggs which are useful for IVF. This can stem from many different reasons, however, the biggest contributing factor to poor ovarian response, just like poor egg quality, is age. Impaired ovarian response affects women over the age of 37 most often. Other reasons could be an imbalance in certain hormone levels.
- Unsuccessful Implantation in the Uterus:If the embryo is unable to successfully attach to the uterine lining, it will result in loss of the embryo. The reason for unsuccessful implantation in the uterus is very often due to a thin endometrium, or uterine lining. Other factors contributing to inability to successfully implant are abnormalities within the uterus itself, such as uterine polyps, or fibroids.
When IVF Fails
After a failed IVF, it’s important for future success, and your own peace of mind, to uncover the reason. It may be possible to try again, improving your odds of success, by correcting the issue.
- Failed IVF due to poor embryo quality can be devastating. There is the emotional, and physical toll a miscarriage takes on you, and your partner, and changing direction at this point is understandable. However, if you feel ready to try IVF again, you can opt for preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT. PGT is especially recommended for older women, to screen for chromosomal abnormalities. Genetic issues, and those chromosomal issues, that prevent the embryo from developing are detected via this screening. That way you’ll know the viability of the embryo before implantation, improving the odds of a successful outcome.
- If the quality of your eggs is in question, there are ways to help avoid poor quality eggs. Medications to help stimulate your ovaries to release more eggs will improve your odds of finding quality eggs. Some women, who are aware of the risks involved in egg quality as they get older, have their eggs frozen. Still others may opt to use donor eggs.
- Poor ovarian response may be overcome through medication to help balance and restore your hormones. A different protocol can be helpful in obtaining healthier eggs in repeated IVF cycles. Success rates continue to increase with repeated IVF cycles proven by medical studies.
- If your IVF failed as a result of implantation dysfunction you may benefit from surgery to remove fibroids, or polyps. There are certain procedures you can have that will work to correct these conditions, as well as endometriosis or certain types of tubal disease.
Third Party Involvement
As a last resort and if repeated IVF treatments result in obtaining healthy embryos and if all efforts fail, third part reproduction becomes a helpful option. Taking a step back to gather your composure and move forward in a new direction is understandable. There are other paths to growing your family. Involving a third party, through egg donation, sperm donation, or surrogacy, has helped many couples, and individuals, achieve the outcome they desire, in growing their family.