Causes of Failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Cycles By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on May 29, 2015

A woman's reproductive systemAt Houston Fertility Center, it's important that our patients receive information on the risks and benefits of in vitro fertilization (IVF). This provides realistic expectations for the process. It's also important that we discuss the various ways in which IVF may prove unsuccessful. With that in mind, let's consider some of the most common causes of IVF cycle failure right now.

Issues with Follicles and Fertility Drugs

This does not refer to hair follicles but rather the follicles within the ovaries, which are small sacs that help in the maturation of eggs. Fertility drugs are often given in order to promote the development of these follicles and maturation of multiple viable eggs. The IVF cycle may be halted if there are not enough follicles of decent size or if there are too many follicles present. In the latter case, the IVF cycle is stopped to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Problems with the Viability of the Eggs or Sperm

Sometimes an IVF cycle fails because the eggs and sperm to be used in the treatment are not viable for use. Various health issues may be the reason for this, or perhaps there are issues with the general quality of the egg and sperm. Sometimes a fertility specialist will have to take additional measures to ensure successful insemination and fertilization.

If these are persistent issues identified before IVF treatment begins, an egg donor or sperm donor may be a good option to consider.

Issues with Timing with Regard to Embryo Development

When an embryo is in an incubator, the fertility specialist will wait until it has undergone cellular division before it is transferred to the woman's uterus. Timing is crucial for the IVF cycle to proceed, and failure of treatment may be an issue of timing.

Problems with Embryo Transfer

During the embryo transfer process, it's possible that the embryo may become damaged, lost, or otherwise no longer viable for successful IVF treatment. There is also the potential for doctor error in these matters, though generally this particular issue is very rare.

Issues with Embryo Implantation

The implantation phase of IVF involves the embryo attached to the uterine lining so that it can develop properly. The embryo may not attach properly or wind up attaching somewhere other than the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes. In such cases, the IVF cycle will be unsuccessful.

How We Can Help Ensure Successful IVF Treatment

During the consultation process and the actual procedure, we will take great care with each step to help ensure the best possible outcomes from treatment. Using advanced technology and our refined skills, we will limit potential error and help maximize opportunities for successful pregnancy. This includes giving patients ample advice for what they can do in terms of diet and general wellness to increase their chances of successful IVF treatment.

Don't Be Discouraged: A Second IVF Cycle is Not Uncommon

If an IVF cycle is unsuccessful, do not worry. Many couples and individuals try again with IVF and wind up having children and starting families that way. While frustrating and disappointing, there is always a chance of success the next time around.

Schedule a Consultation at Houston Fertility Center

To learn more about all of your options for starting the family that you have always wanted to have, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. The team here at Houston Fertility Center looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve your dreams.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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