Image via Pexels
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a miracle for many couples wishing to start a family but struggle to conceive on their own. IVF is one of the most effective treatments for patients suffering from infertility because of its extremely precise and controlled process.
If the first IVF cycle does not end in pregnancy, it can leave many couples feeling hopeless and wondering if it’s worth it to pursue another cycle. The treatments themselves can cause a lot of stress, and having them fail can hurt your emotional and physical well-being. But before ruling out another IVF cycle, read below on why it may be beneficial to try again.
Why Do IVF Cycles Fail?
Pregnancy is an extremely complex process. New things are learned every day that affect your chances of conceiving, but some specific factors have been identified that occasionally lead to IVF failure.
Because the human egg is such a complex structure, it is subject to damage that can render it non-functional. Cells in your body prepare for division by lining up chromosomes in the middle of the cell. As it begins to divide, the spindle apparatus separates the chromosomes in half, moving half in one direction and the other half the opposite direction. This leads to identical cells.
The spindle apparatus becomes more prone to breakage as the egg, or oocyte, ages. This can result in an abnormal distribution of chromosomes, which leads to a non-viable embryo. Recent studies have shown that between 25% and 40% of oocytes are chromosomally abnormal. This number increases as a woman ages. Fortunately, utilizing the latest technology such as PGS/CCS embryo screening can dramatically improve success rates. This technique screens for the correct number of chromosomes in each embryo, lowering miscarriage rates and improving the chance for a live birth.
Sperm must be motile to get to the egg. This means the tail of the sperm must be fully functioning so it can propel the sperm through the female reproductive tract to the egg. Once the sperm gets to the egg, specific receptors on the sperm’s head bind to specific receptors on the outer membrane of an egg, allowing for interaction between the two. If the sperm that reaches the egg is chromosomally abnormal, it is not able to successfully fertilize. In cases of sub-optimal sperm counts or poor sperm motility, Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used to increase the chance of successful fertilization. The procedure consists of injecting a single sperm directly into the egg. Manipulation of the eggs requires special equipment specifically designed to perform the very small, intricate movements used in this procedure.
What Should I Do if My IVF Cycle Fails?
If you have recently tried IVF for the first time and it failed, don’t give up hope! Many women with a failed IVF cycle are successful on a second or third cycle. While not every issue that influences IVF success can be corrected, some can be addressed in attempts to make the next cycle more likely to result in pregnancy.
It’s also important to consider whether you should seek a new fertility specialist.
Fertility Specialists in New Jersey
Are you looking for a second opinion? At South Jersey Fertility Center, our board-certified specialists are highly skilled in creating success where there was a history of failed IVF cycles.
For more than 25 years, our practice has been the leading center for helping couples achieve their dream of building a family. For more information about how our doctors can help you, please contact us at any of our four NJ locations today.