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IVF Failure

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Several factors may lead to in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure. However, many women who have had a failed cycle will have a subsequent successful cycle (live birth). While not all issues related to IVF failure can be corrected, some issues can be addressed in an effort to reduce the likelihood of another failed cycle. It’s important to understand what factors are involved in each individual situation.

Female Age

Age is a very important factor in the success or failure of IVF. As women age, the number of eggs in the ovaries decrease, and the quality of the remaining eggs lessens. The decline begins in your 30s and increases rapidly after age 37. The chance of a live birth after IVF using fresh, non-donor eggs or embryos is approximately 32 percent for a 35-year-old woman, but only 16 percent for a 40-year-old woman.

Embryo Quality

Fertility specialists assess the quality of the egg based on the age of the woman, as well as the number of cells in the egg. The fertilized egg (embryo) starts as a single cell and continues to divide until it is multi-celled. Three days after egg retrieval and fertilization, most specialists prefer that some of the embryos have at least 6 or 7 cells. Eggs with fewer cells are less likely to fertilize and the chances of IVF failure increase.

Ovarian Response

In general, the more eggs you produce in a given IVF cycle, the greater your chance that the IVF cycle will be successful.

The ovaries of some women, however, do not develop many follicles because they do not respond to the IVF medication used to encourage the ovaries produce multiple eggs. (One egg develops in each follicle.) You are likely to have poor response to IVF medication if you are older than 37, have elevated FSH levels, or have a reduced number of eggs remaining in your ovaries.

IVF is likely to fail if fewer than three mature follicles are produced.

Implantation Issues

A pregnancy loss or miscarriage after IVF may be due to problems related to the uterus, such as polyps or fibroids. Many fertility specialists, however, believe that most implantation failures are due to the arrest of the embryo; in other words, the embryo stops growing. This may be the result of a genetic defect that interferes with the embryo's development.


Comments (10)

I took an injection of hcg and progesterone pessaries for 3 months, it worked for me. am 4months preg now.

Congratulations, Lynn! That is fantastic. HCG injections help with maturation and release of a follicle during IUI and to prime eggs for retrieval in IVF. If you produce too little progesterone in natural, medicated, or fertility treatment cycles, progesterone is prescribed to help sustain the pregnancy. I am so glad this worked for you!


So many women are on progesterone after transfer, my doctor says to have hcg injections during 2ww. I have had 3 failed IVF cycles, would Progesterone be better than the hcg?

i m 33 years old and my husband is 43 y old.we had tryed iui
4 times.then icsi 1 time,but failed to concieve.doc is saying
that we have unexplained problem in me and my husband.only my husband vit d level is low that is 12.i want your advice.plz help us what to do.

same with me now we have visited to dr firuja Parikh you can take advice . she is a good doctor. JASLOK HOSPITAL INDIA

I have been through IVF three times now. I was wondering what you can do or take to get the transfered eggs to attach and result in a positive pregency.

If your partner smokes does this have an effect on the eggs unable to attach?

There is new IVF technique that became recently available to couples with multiple failed IVF cycles or numerous miscarriages. The technique is called Comprehensive Chromosome Screening or CCS. You can find more information on this technique here:

A large number of unsuccessful IVF cycles can be attributed to the presence of numerical chromosomal abnormalities. Embryos stemming from aneuploid or defective gametes stand little chance of forming a viable pregnancy. Consequently, screening of oocytes or embryos for chromosome abnormalities prior to embryo transfer (ET) can greatly improve pregnancy rates, decrease miscarriage rates, as well as reduce the risk of having a child with syndromes such as Down or Turner.

This ground-breaking IVF technique is utmost accurate method for the simultaneous analysis of all 24 types of chromosome. Although this technique is still experimental and undergoing clinical trials, the few IVF clinics which are running these trials are seeing major improvements in implantation success rates and live birth rates.

I read that ezine article that was posted above... the stats mentioned are completely wrong. IVF has a much much better success rate than10-20% claimed. To research what these are on an overall, and a clinic to clinic basis, go to the SART website:

I read an excellent article about why IVF isn't worth the cost:

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