Repeated IVF Failure

What is repeated IVF Failure?

Repeated IVF failure is when a couple undergoes multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization, but their attempts do not result in pregnancy.  Also known as Recurrent or Repeated implantation failure, it usually refers to the situation when a woman under 40 has had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts. While good quality embryos are necessary for successful in vitro fertilization cycles, even the good qualities embryos may fail to implant because of numerous other factors.

It's essential to understand that the odds of success for any single cycle of IVF can vary and are dependent on several factors, such as age, medical history, poor quality of embryos, age-related decline in fertility, underlying medical conditions, or unexplained infertility.

Note: Some individuals may experience one failed cycle before successfully conceiving through subsequent cycles. However, if someone has undergone four or more unsuccessful rounds without a viable pregnancy occurring - this is considered repeated IVF failure.

What is the impact of repeated IVF failure?

When individual experiences repeated IVF failures, it can be emotionally devastating. The process involves numerous doctor visits, injections, procedures, and medications - all while putting your life on hold. Couples may also struggle with feelings of inadequacy or guilt during this time.

What are the causes of repeated IVF failures?

Repeated IVF failure can be disheartening and frustrating for couples who are trying to conceive through assisted reproductive techniques. There may be several factors that contribute to the repeated failures of IVF cycles, making it important to identify and address these issues.

  • Age and Oocyte quality: One of the most common causes of repeated IVF failure is advanced maternal age. Although technology has improved, only 37% of women under 35 and 29% of women over 40 are able to become pregnant after undergoing IVF. As women get older, their ovarian reserve decreases which affects egg quality and quantity. Poor egg quality can make fertilization difficult or prevent implantation altogether.
  • Sperm quality: Another potential cause is male factor infertility, where the sperm count or motility is low, resulting in fewer viable embryos for transfer during IVF treatment. This issue can also lead to chromosomal abnormalities in embryos.
  • Other possible causes include
    • uterine abnormalities such as fibroids or endometrial scarring that affect embryo implantation lead to infertility in 2-3%
    • autoimmune disorders that interfere with fertility processes in both men and women,
    • genetic disorders affecting embryo development
    • recurrent miscarriages due to unknown reasons.

It’s essential for couples going through repeated failed IVF attempts to work closely with their healthcare provider to identify any underlying problems before undergoing further treatments. Identifying the root cause will enable doctors to tailor subsequent treatments more effectively and increase a couple's chances of conceiving successfully.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Repeated IVF failures diagnosis

Repeated IVF failures can be a frustrating and disappointing experience for couples trying to conceive through assisted reproductive technology. However, it is important to determine the underlying cause of repeated IVF failure before pursuing other treatment options.

  • The diagnosis of repeated IVF failure typically involves a thorough evaluation of both partners' medical histories and physical exams. The woman may undergo diagnostic testing such as hysteroscopy, which examines the uterine cavity for abnormalities, or laparoscopy, which looks at the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
  • Further testing may include hormonal evaluations to assess ovarian function, genetic screening to identify potential chromosomal abnormalities in embryos, or immune system assessments to evaluate whether autoimmune disorders are contributing factors.
  • It is also essential that clinicians closely examine previous IVF cycles and assess any potential issues with egg retrieval or embryo development. An accurate diagnosis can help guide future treatment decisions and improve the chances of success in subsequent cycles.

 Obtaining an accurate diagnosis following repeated failed IVF attempts requires a comprehensive evaluation that considers several different factors affecting fertility.

Treatment of Repeated IVF Failure Cycles

Treatment options for repeated IVF failure cycles vary depending on the underlying cause of the failures.

  • One option is to undergo further diagnostic testing to determine if any genetic or hormonal issues may be causing implantation failure.
  • Another treatment option is to switch up the medication protocol used in previous failed attempts, as different medications can have varying effects on egg and embryo quality.
  • Additionally, some clinics may offer add-on treatments such as intralipid infusions or endometrial scratching to improve success rates.
  • For couples who have experienced multiple failed IVF attempts due to male factor infertility, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be recommended. This technique involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg, increasing the chances of fertilization and successful embryo development.
  • In cases where all other options have been exhausted without success, donor eggs or embryos may be considered as a final treatment option.

Couples dealing with repeated IVF failures need to work closely with their fertility specialist and consider all available treatment options before making any decisions about the next steps.

What to do after failed IVF attempts?

Going through three or four failed IVF attempts can be an emotional and physical rollercoaster. It's normal to feel disappointed, frustrated, and even angry at this point. However, it's important not to lose hope just yet.

  • The first thing you should do after your third failed attempt is talked to your fertility specialist. Your doctor may ask you to undergo additional tests or suggest changes in the treatment protocol for your next cycle.
  • It's also a good idea to take some time off from the process of trying to conceive through IVF. Use this period as an opportunity to focus on self-care activities that help reduce stress levels such as yoga, meditation, or spending quality time with loved ones.
  • Consider seeking support from others who have gone through similar experiences by joining a support group for couples struggling with infertility issues.
  • In some cases, switching clinics and getting a second opinion may be necessary if there were no clear explanations for the previous failures or if you felt unsatisfied with your current provider’s approach.
  • Remember that every couple’s journey towards starting a family is unique and different; while IVF might work for one person it might not work out as expected for another. Therefore never give up hope but try alternative options such as adoption or surrogacy which could offer successful outcomes too!

How many IVF attempts are normal?

The number of IVF attempts that are considered normal varies from person to person. Some couples may conceive after just one cycle of IVF. However, for others, it can take multiple cycles before a successful pregnancy is achieved.

  • The age of the woman undergoing treatment can also play a role in the number of IVF cycles required. Younger women tend to have higher success rates and therefore may require fewer attempts than older women.
  • It's important to note that each case is unique and there isn't necessarily a set number of attempts that should be considered 'normal.' The decision to continue with further cycles should be made in consultation with your doctor based on factors such as age, medical history, and overall health.
  • Additionally, financial considerations may also come into play when deciding how many IVF attempts to pursue. It's important to weigh the costs against the potential benefits and make an informed decision based on your circumstances.
  • While there isn't a specific number of IVF attempts that can be deemed 'normal,' it's essential for patients undergoing fertility treatment to remain patient and optimistic throughout their journey towards parenthood.

Key Takeaway:

  • Repeated IVF cycles that fail can be a distressing and expensive ordeal for couples dealing with infertility.
  • The root causes of repeated IVF failures can vary, but factors such as advanced maternal age and male factor infertility are common.
  • Working closely with a healthcare provider to diagnose the root cause of repeated failures is essential to tailor subsequent treatments more effectively and increase the chances of successful conception.
  • Treatment options include diagnostic testing, switching up medication protocols, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and donor eggs or embryos as a final option.
Frequently asked questions:
  1. Why does my IVF keep failing?
    The most common causes include age, genetic disorders, and poor sperm quality.
  2. How many times can IVF fail?
  3. What is the success rate of IVF?
    The first-time success rate of IVF is 25-30%
Dr Purva Singh
IVF Specialist