When treatment failsAfter all the physical and emotional stress associated with the completion of an IVF cycle, it can be devastating having if treatment fails or to experience a miscarriage. However, it is important for couples to know that, as also happens in natural conception pregnancies, the loss of embryos at this very early stage of pregnancy is a normal and fairly frequent occurrence.
When you feel prepared, you should then meet again with your doctor to discuss the matter and try to understand what has failed in the treatment and possibly consider a new treatment, which may or may not be done according to the same method as the first.
Factors that can lead to treatment failure
In most cases the IVF treatment failures are due to these factors:
- The treatment may have to be cancelled due to poor ovarian response;
- The embryo cannot implant properly in the womb (which is the most common cause of failure of ART treatments).
Unfortunately the human species is not as fertile as other species even when there is no fertility problem, a healthy couple under 30 years of age only has a success rate of 20 % to 30 % in natural conception. In IVF treatments success rates are already well above these values for a significant proportion of couples - however it is not always possible to beat nature and the truth is that in the area of reproduction, statistics are not on our side! It’s difficult because often there is no obvious explanation for treatment failures. Still, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of couples do end up accomplishing their dream, even if the first attempt does not run smoothly. Above all, we must make informed decisions based on good quality clinical evidence, in order to optimise the probability of success of each individual case - this is what we stand for and seek in practice at Ferticentro, always fighting for every case and for every couple!
Reasons that may lead to cycle cancellations
- The ovaries do not respond to drugs used to stimulate the production of oocytes;
- The ovaries over-respond to the drugs used to stimulate the production of oocytes (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) and so in these cases it may be necessary to cancel the cycle;
- Oocytes are not found in the oocyte pick-up (i.e., the follicles have developed, but did not contain oocytes);
- Fertilisation failure, so no embryos for transfer to the womb;
- After fertilisation the oocytes did not divide and therefore cannot implant in the womb.
Reasons why embryos do not develop in the womb
Although often there is no obvious explanation, flaws in embryo development occur and may be due to:
- Poor quality embryos. The oocyte itself might not be mature enough, it may have genetic changes or it does not split optimally after fertilisation;
- Problem at the level of chromosomes (structures that exist within cells that control their functioning and development). Many apparently healthy embryos have abnormal chromosomes, so they’ll eventually degenerate;
- Problems relating to the blood supply to the womb. Even when there is no problem with the embryos, if the irrigation of the womb is not adequate, the probability of getting pregnant is lower and the risk of miscarriage increases.