( 14 OCT 2017 )
Reasons behind the Failure of IVF TreatmentMany couples turn to IVF, in vitro fertilization, for help with fertility issues. IVF treatments have emerged in recent years as one of the top options for couples trying to conceive while battling infertility. While IVF has given many couples the happiness of starting a family, there are cases where the treatment has failed to provide the expected results. When a cycle of IVF fails, it unleashes a wave of depression amongst both partners. While starting the cycle, the excitement and anticipation soon build up, and you start hoping for having a baby soon. However, when a cycle fails, this euphoria quickly turns into feelings of grief and anger. What went wrong? Whose fault was it? Should you consider trying another cycle? These are common questions that go through your mind. In order to get answers to these questions, you need to analyze the reasons behind why IVF treatments often fail.
Here we discuss some of the common reasons why IVF cycles sometimes fail.
1. Flawed Embryo Quality
This is one of the top reasons for why your IVF cycle failed. Many times, embryos are not able to implant correctly after they are transferred to the uterus as they have some or the other defect. Even embryos that look healthy during testing may have some flaws that do not allow them to grow correctly. In most cases, there is no problem with your uterus. Your body rejects the embryo because it is not healthy enough to implant and grow.
2. Ageing Eggs
The quality and quantity of a woman's eggs play an important role in the success rate of the IVF cycle. The older the age of the eggs being used in the cycle, the worse the outcome is likely to be. A woman who is under the age of 35 has a success rate of around 45% with their first IVF cycle. For women over the age of 40, their chance goes down to only having a 15% success rate. Older women can boost their implantation rate by using donor eggs of younger women. Then their IVF success rate goes up significantly.
3. Relation between Fertility Medications and Ovaries
Many times, it happens that a woman's ovaries simply do not respond the way they should to the fertility medications. Due to this, the body does not produce enough eggs in that cycle. This problem is more likely to happen if a woman is over the age of 37 and has very high levels of the stimulating follicle hormone (FSH). As she does not produce enough eggs, it results in a lower number of embryos that can be used for screening and then for potential implantation. This scenario increases the chances of a failed IVF cycle.
4. Chromosomal Abnormalities
Chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo are one of the most common reasons that lead to failure of the IVF cycle. Even naturally conceived embryos are often rejected by the body due to this cause. Most miscarriages that happen during an IVF cycle occur because of chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo, thus resulting in failure to implant. Starting at the age of 30, the chances of chromosomal abnormalities begin to increase in women. A man's sperm also develops chromosomal abnormality as he ages, but at a lower rate than a woman.
5. Lifestyle Factors
Lifestyle factors also determine the failure chances of your IVF cycle. Before undergoing an IVF cycle, both partners need to stop smoking at least three months before it. Studies have shown that women who are regular smokers need twice as many IVF cycles to succeed. Being overweight or underweight also has an impact on your chances of a successful IVF cycle.
6. Problems in the Uterine Cavity
Lesions that protrude into the uterine cavity, such as polyps, fibroids or scar tissues, can create a negative environment and can prevent successful implantation. To avoid this, doctors usually carry out all possible tests to ensure a smooth IVF cycle. Often times, scar tissues are not detectable in the tests and can lead to problems during the implantation stage.
7. Inadequate Blood Flow to the Uterus
Many times, everything can go according to plan, but a reduced blood flow to the uterus and a thin uterine lining can cause the implantation to fail. Acupuncture is one alternative therapy that can help in this situation. Acupuncture has a proven record of increasing blood flow to the uterus area and also improving implantation rates.
8. Abnormal Quality of Sperm
Many times, everything can be perfectly healthy in the woman, but the IVF may fail due to the quality of the sperm. Due to factors such as low sperm count, a chromosomal abnormality in the sperm cells, low motility, small number of healthy sperm, the egg might not get adequately fertilized. Even if the egg gets fertilized, the body might reject the embryo at the time of implantation as there might be some abnormalities in the fetus due to the sperm quality.
9. Selection of the Wrong Embryo
Ultimately the embryos that are selected for the implant are chosen by the embryologist. There are insufficient markers for distinguishing between chromosomally normal embryos from the chromosomally abnormal embryos. Therefore, if the embryologist fails to make the right choice, then your chances of implantation goes down significantly, leading to a failed IVF cycle.
10. Issues during Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer
While all care is taken during egg retrieval and embryo transfer, sometimes, the lab fails to retrieve fewer eggs than needed or fails to recover even a single egg. This, of course, leads to an adverse outcome. Furthermore, during the procedure of embryo transfer, if the embryos are not placed in the correct location, then the process will not be a success.
As can be seen, undergoing an IVF cycle is not as simple a treatment as it looks on the surface. There are many complex factors associated with the entire process. To ensure the success of your first IVF cycle, try to start following a healthy lifestyle at least three months before you begin the procedure. A healthy diet combined with a healthy lifestyle is much more likely to ensure success for your IVF treatment.