IVF or in vitro fertilization is a procedure in which the egg is fertilized outside the body and then implanted into the mother or a surrogate. IVF has greatly increased the chances of parenthood for individuals and couples finding it difficult to conceive. But the hard truth is that even IVF is not a guarantee for pregnancy.
Whether it is your first failed IVF cycle or third, it can have a huge psychological impact on you. This then leads you to the burning question “Should I keep trying?”. Every IVF attempt is a huge physical, emotional and financial investment, making the question of persistence even more valid. Many might even think that there isn’t any hope after the first failed attempt itself. But is this really true?
Let us begin by understanding why IVF fails. IVF is a fragile and precise science that involves a number of deciding factors. The eggs and sperm must be viable, they should fertilize successfully resulting in a healthy embryo. And this is just the beginning. The embryo must then “catch” ie: continue to develop after implantation. Finding the reasons behind the failure of IVF is an important aspect to consider while deciding to try again. The reasons of a failed IVF cycle include:
- Non-viable eggs: During IVF, eggs are harvested from the body and then fertilised before implantation. Fertility drugs are used to stimulate the production of eggs. In some women (commonly over the age of 35) there is a decrease in the quality and quantity of eggs produced. Donor eggs can be used in this case.
- Embryo didn’t implant: Two main factors determine the success of embryo implantation: uterine environment and embryo quality. If the uterine environment is inadequate to support the embryo due to the endometrium, presence of scar tissue or some pre-existing condition, chances of successful implantation are low. Surrogacy is an alternative in this scenario. If embryo implantation is failing due to any problems with the embryo itself (ex: any chromosomal defect) then using a donor egg is advised.
- An inadequate number of follicles may result in IVF cancellation: As a woman grows older, the number of eggs produced decreases (over the age of 35. In most cases, this is managed by administering a suitable dose of ovarian stimulation drug.
- Lifestyle: Lifestyle plays a major role in determining the success of IVF. To increase your chances of conception, you might have to make a few lifestyle changes such as going on a good fertility diet and exercising to manage healthy body weight. Women who smoke typically experience a greater number of IVF failures and miscarriages.
Based on the reasons behind IVF failure you can be advised to try again, opt for alternatives such as using an egg/sperm donor or a surrogate. Before taking any decision, take some time off. A failed IVF attempt can be extremely taxing on your life. Take a moment to grieve and recuperate from the loss. Do not rush to change your IVF hospital in Gurgaon as going through the same procedure from a different hospital can also yield the same results. In fact, your regular fertility doctor would be more familiar with your case and hence better equipped to guide you. Explore your options at length before making any decision.