A Closer Look at In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Failure

ivf failure

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the avenues that couples who are having trouble conceiving explore. The process of in vitro fertilization, simply put, is the process of allowing the ovum to be fertilized by the sperm in the laboratory. The fertilized ovum is then reintroduced into the woman’s uterus. Before deciding to have IVF, there are things that you should consider. You should research the process, how much is the cost of IVF in private clinics, its side effects, or success rate. This is a fantastic success story if things go as planned, but IVF does not always work. IVF failure can be a very traumatic experience for a couple. Let’s find out why and how often does it occur.

Inadequate number of follicles  

The first step of IVF is harvesting ovarian follicles. A follicle is a sac that holds an immature egg. Your doctor will do an ultrasound to see how many follicles you are producing. If unfortunately, the number falls short, this will result in an IVF cycle cancellation. At this point, the doctor will initiate an ovarian stimulation protocol that is designed to boost follicle production. However, here is where it gets tricky. Your doctor has to determine your ovarian age. Your ovarian age may differ from your physiological age! So what tends to happen, is that a young woman may come into a fertility clinic but she is suffering from premature ovarian aging. So, she is not given the appropriate ovarian stimulation. In other words, she needs to be treated like an older woman if IVF is going to work. 

Low quality eggs 

So we have our egg, but yet again we hit a snag. IVF failure can be caused if the eggs produced are not up to par. An embryo formed from a poor quality egg will fail to develop properly while it is being observed for the 3 to 5 days before the doctor attempts implantation. There may be chromosomal abnormalities which sadly results in miscarriage later on.  

Embryo Transfer Problems 

Sometimes, a woman may be suffering from a condition that makes implantation of the embryo difficult. The two conditions that are usually the culprits are ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and inadequate growth of endometrium. Women who suffer from poly-cystic ovaries are usually prone to OHSS and usually have to wait until it is under control before they resume IVF. When an endometrium or lining is not thick enough, even if the doctor tries to implant an embryo, it is usually unsuccessful.    

How often does it fail?    

ivf failure

As you can tell, IVF is not straight forward and even though some happy couples do get their precious babies, many couples do not. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only 26% of IVF implantations resulted in babies. It was also noted that older women had fewer success stories.  

So even though IVF offers help to couples struggling with infertility, it is not without its challenges and it fails pretty often. These issues are not insurmountable by any stretch, but it may require some patience. Good luck.

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