When a patient is undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), there are several things that may cause it to be ineffective. IVF is a procedure that fertilizes an egg outside of the uterus. Once the egg is fertilized, it is then placed in the uterus. After twelve days to two weeks after the embryo transfer, pregnancy may occur, or the embryo did not properly attach. Some may achieve pregnancy during their first round of IVF while others may experience IVF failure and need more rounds.
Why Does IVF Failure Happen?
IVF failure can occur with little explanation, but there are also a few potential reasons that a woman has not had a pregnancy after going through IVF:
Maternal Age: A patient’s age can impact whether or not they have a successful IVF procedure. Those who are 41 or older may receive recommendations to use donor eggs to increase their chances of IVF success.
Lifestyle Choices: The way a patient has lived/continues to live their life can have a large impact on the success of IVF. Those who smoke are more likely to have fewer eggs to use during IVF. If a patient is obese, they may have a more difficult time with IVF. Other lifestyle factors can contribute to failed IVF, like the use of recreational drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and some medications.
Embryo Development: The development status of the embryos that are transferred may be the cause of failed IVF. Embryos that are more developed have a higher chance of leading to pregnancy. If the embryo transfer is not quite developed enough, it may not implant properly.
Silent Endometriosis: If a woman has silent endometriosis, it may be a cause of failed IVF and unexplained infertility. This type of endometriosis may not cause severe symptoms and can go undiagnosed for a long period of time. When it goes untreated, the likelihood of IVF failure may increase.
Why Do People Choose IVF?
There are several reasons that some choose to go through IVF to achieve pregnancy. Here are some reasons you may want to consider IVF:
Damaged or Blocked Fallopian Tube
If a woman has a damaged or blocked fallopian tube, she may want to consider IVF. The damage to the fallopian tube can make it difficult for an egg to become fertilized and for that embryo to make its way to the uterus. IVF may assist in fertilizing the egg and placing it in the uterus.
Some women experience failed IVF due to an ovulation disorder. This disorder can cause a patient to have fewer eggs available to fertilize. If they choose to go through the IVF route, the likelihood of creating an embryo may increase.
Fibroids are benign tumors in the uterus that may make it difficult for the egg to implant. IVF may be able to help prevent fibroids to make better implantation.
Tubal Sterilization or Removal
If a patient has gone through tubal ligation but changes her mind, IVF may be helpful. Tubal ligation is the permanent removal of the fallopian tubes, which is meant to prevent a woman from getting pregnant. IVF may be helpful for those who have gone through tubal sterilization to achieve a pregnancy.
Sperm Function or Production
When a male partner has sperm with poor mobility, abnormalities, or lower concentration, it may be difficult for the sperm to fertilize an egg. If these abnormalities are found, IVF is a way to get the sperm to the egg outside of the body.
When a woman has endometriosis, it can affect the function of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This is caused by the lining of the uterus growing outside of the uterus. IVF may be helpful in this situation.
What Can One Do for IVF Failure?
IVF failure can be caused by many different things. Couples trying to conceive may consider changing their lifestyle choices, like stopping smoking or drinking less. If a woman has had several unexplained pregnancy losses, she may want to get tested for silent endometriosis. Before taking any drastic measures, be sure to speak with an infertility specialist. They will be able to help you understand the best way to begin a successful pregnancy.