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Houston Fertility Journal

    What To Do If Your First IVF Cycle Is Unsuccessful

    June 15, 2017 / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

    Center of Reproductive Medicine


    It is undoubtedly a huge disappointment when an IVF cycle fails. You have just spent a great deal of time, money, and energy on this whole process and your doctor has been incredibly optimistic that the results would be promising. In vitro fertilization is currently the most effective treatment option out there for infertility and, though there have been many improvements in the technology being used, there are times when it is not successful.

    While the devastation from this is immense, this does not mean that you shouldn’t give it a second try. Before submitting to the overwhelming impulse to throw in the towel and give up, you need to understand why it is that IVF pregnancy rates are not 100% and that a failed cycle does not mean all hope is lost.

    This is a time to consider things carefully before changing courses. You may be compelled to look into other Houston fertility specialists, but first, consider the facts about your situation to ensure you are making the wisest decision for your future.

    Why The Treatment Could Have Failed

    There are a few different possibilities for why IVF fails. Not all of the issues that may get in the way of the success of an IVF cycle can necessarily be corrected, but there are some that can be addressed and change the probability that the next cycle will result in pregnancy. The different factors that could be responsible for the cycle’s failure include: 

    The ovarian response. A woman’s ovaries will respond to the fertility treatment by producing multiple eggs. This production must occur to increase the chances of conception. Some women’s ovaries, however, are just not able to do so as they have fewer number of eggs in their reserve than was expected. This may be due to age, but also could have something to do with the existence of a high follicle stimulating hormone or low anti-mullerian hormone levels. 

    Age. As you most likely already know, the age of the female partner can majorly affect the possibility for successful conception. As women age, they start to produce less eggs and the quality of these eggs begins to decline. This will start to happen when she reaches her 30’s and the declines increases dramatically at the age of 37 and older.

    Embryo quality. If there is an embryo transfer involved, the IVF could have failed because of an embryo implantation failure. This could actually either be due to an issue with the embryos or with the uterus. However, it is believed by many fertility specialists that it is most often due to an arrest of the embyros. Embryonic arrest is usually caused by chromosomal or genetic abnormalities within the embryos that make them too weak to sustain the implantation.

    What To Do Next

    Your fertility specialist will look over your records and attempt to assess why the cycle failed before your next visit. If they find:

    • an issue with ovarian stimulation or egg quantity, they may suggest changing the drugs that were used for stimulation
    • an issue with the embryonic transfer, they may suggest preimplantation genetic screening to check the embryos health before moving forward with the next cycle
    • that there weren’t any noticeable issues they will encourage you to give it another try

    Ask your doctor to give you an honest analysis of your results and what that means for your chances of success with another IVF cycle.

    Should You Change Doctors?

    It is common to worry that you may have chosen the wrong fertility specialist after experiencing an unsuccessful treatment. Know that it often takes couples more than one try before they see the results that they are hoping for. Before making any rash decisions, get all of the information that you can on why the treatment failed.

    If you are uncomfortable with the way your doctor responds when you question their reasoning, you should not feel as though you must continue receiving treatment from them. They should be ready and willing to meet with you and help you through this time in order to figure out the next step that makes the most sense for you. 

    This should not be a question of their pride or competency, but of the condition of your health and whether or not a different approach could make a difference. At the end of the day, trust your gut and do what feels best to you.

    Seeking A Fertility Specialist

    If you do not feel comfortable moving ahead with your current doctor, there is nothing wrong with looking into another Houston fertility specialist. It is also not a bad idea to set up a consultation simply to bring in the results of the unsuccessful cycle to see if they can shed more light on what could have gone wrong. In any case, trust your instincts when it comes to the integrity of your physician. In most cases, if you felt good about them from the start, then you should absolutely give them another try. Do as much research as you can and remember that this is your body and future, you should feel confident that you are doing what is best for you. If you would like to speak to someone from the Center of Reproductive Medicine, contact one of our Texas fertility center locations today.

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    Topics: IVF, Fertility Specialist

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