Failed IVF cycles can rattle your body, your mind and your spirit. If you’ve experienced repeated IVF failure, this guide is here to help.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) failure can conjure a plethora of negative emotions – frustration, sadness, dejection and disappointment to name a few. It’s normal to feel sad. Healthy even, for grieving your lost chance can help cleanse your mind and prepare you for what lies ahead. Allow yourself time to heal before making any decisions about your next steps, and remind yourself that IVF isn’t always successful the first time around. Many women conceive on their second or even third cycle. And although it’s hard to stay patient, sometimes, it’s the only way to will the universe into magicking a miracle.
What Are the Factors That Affect IVF Success?
In rare cases, IVF failure is attributed to issues that cannot be corrected or addressed. Most of the time, however, issues can be managed, and your next cycle can be tailored to keeping these in mind. Here’s a list of factors that can come in the way of a successful IVF procedure.
As a woman, your age is a critical determinant of IVF success. Your fertility declines as you age and your eggs reduce in quality and number. This decline begins in your early 30s and becomes more pronounced by the age of 35. This is why IVF cycles in older women typically have lower success rates.
IVF, like natural conception, pivots on the quality of the embryo, so if you have poor quality embryos, you’re less likely to achieve successful conception. Poor embryo quality is predominantly attributed to chromosomal or genetic defects, which can both result in unsuccessful implantation. Such defects are more likely to occur in embryos created from the eggs of older women.
Ovulation induction serves as the foundation for an IVF cycle. Without quality eggs, an IVF cycle becomes impossible. However, in some cases, the ovaries fail to respond to fertility medications due to insufficient egg reserves. A poor ovarian response is generally associated with women over 35, and women with high follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or low anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels.
What Should I Think About Before My Next IVF Cycle?
First, breathe. Repeated failed IVF procedures are hard to deal with, so give yourself time to recover before thinking about your next cycle. Here’s what you can expect.
Step 1. Specialist Review
Your fertility specialist will relook at your past IVF cycles to investigate possible reasons for failure. Some reasons could be the poor ovarian response, compromised egg quality or quantity, impaired embryo development and issues with the embryo transfer process.
Step 2. Problem Validation
Your doctor may find issues from prior cycles that may shine a light on how to tweak future cycles for an optimum outcome. If ovarian stimulation was a problem, for example, your specialist may devise a new roster of medications to jumpstart your ovaries. If embryo quality was poor, you may be recommended preimplantation genetic screening to screen embryos for your next cycle. If no issues are found, your failed cycles may have been a fluke, and your next one may be the charm. If you have questions, ask your doctor. Get their opinion on your fertility history, your chances of getting pregnant and delivering a healthy baby.
Step 3. Lifestyle Modifications
Your specialist may recommend lifestyle measures to improve your chances of IVF success. If you’re a habitual smoker or drinker, you may be advised to put the butts and booze away. Adequate sleep and a nutrient-rich diet can also go a long way in augmenting your fertility.
Breaking a cycle of IVF doom and gloom can seem hard at first, but know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. With hope and patience, you’ll make it out of the other side. Hopefully this time, with a little miracle in tow.
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