Is Pregnancy Possible After Failed IVF Attempts?

Is Pregnancy Possible After Failed IVF Attempts?

What happens after a failed IVF cycle? Is pregnancy possible after multiple failed IVF attempts?

Several factors impact the success rate of IVF:  egg age, chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo, hydrosalpinx, smoking, abnormal endometrial receptivity and uterine abnormalities and failure of implantation. Obese women are more likely than normal weight women to have lower live birth rates after IVF.

A previous unsuccessful IVF cycle does not decrease the risk of a subsequent failed cycle until after the fourth IVF cycle.

What are the reasons that IVF Fails?

IVF failure can occur before embryo formation, during embryo development or embryo transfer (implantation).

  • Follicles may not develop due to poor ovarian reserve. Rarely, eggs may not be retrievable due to technical difficulties such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, or blood vessels. Fertilization failure may be caused by sperm abnormalities or lack of penetration of the zona pellucida, an egg activation failure, or a defect in the egg.
  • Most fertility specialists believe that in more than 95 percent of IVF failures is due to arrest of the embryos. Embryonic arrest is quite often due to chromosomal or other genetic abnormalities in those embryos that made them too vulnerable to continue normal development and sustained implantation. Women older than 37 years are at higher risk of having a chromosomally abnormal embryo and preimplantation genetic testing may increase the rate of live births per embryo transfer. In women with recurrent implantation failure, pre-implantation genetic testing did not improve pregnancy rates.
  • Endometrial receptivity may be poor due to hormonal, infectious, inflammatory, or structural abnormalities of the uterus.

What Are the Odds of Conceiving After Failing One Cycle of IVF?

As frustrating and disheartening as it can be to meet with failure at the end of your first IVF procedure, it is not the end of the road. A single failure does not mean that future cycles would fail.

The success rate of a woman getting pregnant in the first cycle of IVF is about 21 percent. The second attempt improves the chances to 31 percent, with the fifth cycle reaching nearly 40 percent success rate of achieving pregnancy. The statistics are useful estimates, but there are many individual factors that affect a woman’s chance of IVF success including duration and cause of infertility.

Even after failed IVF, there is a chance of spontaneous pregnancy. In one study, 57% of women who are younger than 37 years and had less than five years of unexplained infertility conceived spontaneously in the seven years after failed IVF.

To learn more about this topic and speak to one of our physicians about fertility treatment, you can request a consultation here.

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