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Causes of a Failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Cycle

By HCRM on May 15, 2015


A woman holding an egg in front of her stomachHere at Heartland Center For Reproductive Medicine, we take great pride in helping patients throughout the greater Omaha area with their fertility treatment needs. This includes detailed information about in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, which is highly effective but can occasional be unsuccessful.

IVF is an involved process, and there are many reasons why a treatment may not work the first time. Let's consider the various reasons why an IVF cycle might fail.

Issues with Follicles

"Follicles" doesn't refer to the ones on your scalp. In this context, a follicle is a fluid-filled sac in which an egg matures. Fertility drugs are used to promote the maturation of multiple follicles that are of a good size. Sometimes not enough follicles are produced during this phase of treatment. In other instances, too many follicles are produced, and the IVF cycle needs to be avoided in order to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Issues with the Eggs and Sperm

Egg issues and sperm issues are another potential cause of an IVF cycle failure. The eggs that are produced for the process may not be viable for treatment, and the same goes with the sperm. Sometimes assisted reproduction procedures will be used to improve the potential for successful insemination, while other times the use of egg donors or sperm donors may be more ideal.

Issues with the Embryos

An embryo is an egg that has been fertilized and has begun the process of cellular division. Timing of placement is crucial for successful IVF. Sometimes an embryo may be placed too early or too late, though sometimes it helps to wait until the embryo has reached the blastocyst phase of division.

Problems During Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer is the process during which the embryo is placed into the uterus via a catheter. It's possible for an embryo to become lost during this process or experience other issues that would result in an unsuccessful IVF procedure.

Embryo Implantation Failure

Embryo implantation is another crucial part of IVF, which involves the embryo attaching itself to the uterine lining so that it can develop fully. There are times when the embryo simply fails to attach to the uterine lining, or instead implants on another part of the woman's reproductive system, such as the fallopian tubes.

Potential for Lab or Technician Error

In addition to the above, it is possible for various lab errors and technician errors to occur, though modern techniques and advanced technology have helped reduce these kinds of issues when it comes to IVF treatments.

Is a second IVF cycle necessary?

If a first IVF cycle is unsuccessful, it's not uncommon for a repeat treatment to be performed. A number of patients do experience success with the second IVF treatment and are able to start families that way. All options for treatment can be discussed during the consultation and planning process.

Speak with the Fertility Specialists of the Heartland Center

To learn more about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and how it can help you start the family that you have always wanted to have, be sure to contact our fertility specialists today. The team at Heartland Center For Reproductive Medicine looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve your goals.

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Each and every staff member at Heartland Center is tremendous. Dr. Maclin is a woman of grace, and a terrific medical doctor. She is a world-class surgeon, and we are so grateful to know her.

Lene - IVF Patient

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