IVF Failure
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Infertility problems lead many couples to seek in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment in order to boost their odds of successful conception. IVF has proven to be a successful treatment for many couples, but it does not work 100% of the time. Here are some reasons an individual or couple may experience IVF failure, and ways you can improve your odds of successful IVF:

Why Does IVF Fail?

With up to 2% of children born each year being IVF babies, failed IVF is not spoken of much. Many couples have at least one failed attempt. The following factors influence the success or failure of IVF:

Maternal Age

The mother’s age is one of the most significant factors for failed IVF. The success rate for women under 35 years is at least 50%, while they drop to about 20% for women over 40. Possible explanations for this trend are that women over the age of 40 may have:

  • low-quality eggs
  • fewer eggs
  • embryos with chromosomal disorders
  • unsuccessful implantation

Embryo Quality

The quality of the sperm and egg determines the embryo’s grade. Any form of sperm deficiency can make assisted reproductive techniques ineffective. Tests can determine issues with:

  • sperm count and concentration
  • sperm morphology
  • sperm motility

Parents can enhance the quality of their sex cells by leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet. Other factors that affect embryo quality include:

  • fetal development conditions in the lab
  • accuracy and speed of the transfer process

Ovarian Reserve

At the beginning of IVF treatment, the female receives a daily injection of a fertility hormone. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) increases egg production. Some women’s ovaries do not react well to this medication, preventing them from producing enough eggs for collection. Age may also affect the number of eggs (ovarian reserve) in a woman.

The poor ovarian response does not mean the end of the  IVF procedure. Doctors can evaluate the ovarian reserve using the following means:

  • ultrasound scans looking at the antral follicle count
  • blood test for the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)

Implantation Problems

The embryo may fail to implant in the uterus due to the following:

  • the presence of uterine polyps
  • an early rise in progesterone levels
  • a thin endometrial lining
  • a uterine infection

Implantation problems are out of anyone’s control. Your best solution is to try again after you recover from the loss.


Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during IVF can aid conception, just like a regular pregnancy. If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking months before starting IVF. Smoking has been linked to infertility issues and could affect your ability to conceive even through IVF. You will also benefit from the following:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eating a balanced diet
  • taking vitamin supplements and folic acid
  • drinking enough water
  • taking lots of  fresh fruit and vegetables
  • avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks
  • engaging in frequent exercises

Chromosomal Structures

In vitro fertilization failure can be attributed to embryos with chromosomal abnormalities. The body rejects embryos with abnormalities. Chromosomal anomalies may develop during embryonic division.

Sex cells with chromosomal abnormalities impact the quality of the embryo. For example, older females often have incorrect egg chromosome division. The sperm’s chromosomal abnormality has an impact on the chromosome structure of the fetus as well, which increases the possibility of a miscarriage. Both parents can take genetic tests to help detect chromosomal abnormalities before the IVF procedure.

Uterine Issues

Uterine issues can cause IVF treatments to fail. Your doctor should examine your uterus if repeated IVF fails. If uterine tissues grow outside your womb, you may need surgery to remove excess tissue growth.

What Should You Do After an IVF Failure?

Give yourself time to adjust to the difficult news of a failed cycle. It is up to you to decide when you feel ready to try again. When ready, you can visit an IVF specialist to discuss possible causes for your unsuccessful IVF.

Your doctor will advise you on each IVF cycle regarding what may have gone wrong. The doctor may need to run a few tests, including:

  • immune evaluation
  • infection detection
  • sperm analysis
  • uterine cavity evaluation

Start Navigating IVF Failure

If you experience IVF failure, don’t give up on the treatment as a solution for your infertility. Various changes to your lifestyle or medication may change the odds of success for this effective treatment. Research and consult with your doctor as to what your next steps should be.