IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is one of the most well-known techniques that help couples worldwide in realizing their ambition of becoming parents. “Why does IVF sometimes fail?” This frequently asked question emerges when we come across many positive accounts of success with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) shared by friends, family, or on the internet. Conversely, people rarely share unsuccessful IVF experiences, primarily because of the emotional sensitivity associated with the desire for parenthood. The primary purpose of this blog post is to challenge the social taboo and delve into potential reasons behind the possible failure of IVF.
IVF treatments might fail for a variety of reasons. Below are some common factors that can lead to the failure of an IVF cycle.
Following one round of IVF and Embryo Transfer, the pregnancy rate might reach 60%. But even in the more effective units, some spouses experience recurring failure. Reduced endometrial receptivity, embryonic flaws, or many factors may be to blame for recurrent implantation failure (RIF). Thin endometrium, altered expression of adhesive molecules, and immunological factors are just a few uterine pathologies that can reduce endometrial receptivity; on the other hand, genetic disorders in either the male or female, sperm defects are some of the embryonic causes of implantation failure.
The quality of the embryo is the main factor in an unsuccessful IVF cycle. To create an embryo, the laboratory setting of IVF therapy combines the female’s eggs with the male’s sperm. However, many embryos possess defects that hinder their successful implantation in the uterus following transfer. Even embryos that appear healthy in the lab may contain defects that prevent them from growing.
The ovaries of some women don’t react to fertility drugs as strongly as they should, failing to create enough eggs. A woman may not generate enough eggs to result in a sufficient number of embryos for screening and eventual implantation, particularly if she is over 37 or has higher FSH levels. When this occurs, the likelihood of IVF failing increases. After reviewing what transpired, your reproductive endocrinologist may adjust your fertility drugs for the next IVF cycle.
This indicates that the embryos did not successfully attach to the uterus. This could occur as a result of endometrial lining that is too thin, the existence of uterine polyps, an early rise in progesterone levels, or an infection within the uterus. Implantation problems are typically beyond anyone’s control.
As a woman gets older, her ovarian reserve, which pertains to both the quality and quantity of her eggs, starts to decline. Her ability to conceive with IVF is also impacted by this. In general, only approximately 25% of transplanted embryos result in live births of babies. But how old the woman’s eggs are has a significant impact on this. The implantation rate for women under 35 who use their own eggs for IVF is roughly 45%. There is only approximately a 15% likelihood of implantation in women between the ages of 40 and 42 utilizing their own eggs.
Quality of Sperm
The quality of the sperm is basically just as significant as the quality of the egg. Frequently, poor sperm quality hampers fertilization or generates an embryo of low quality that either fails to implant or doesn’t develop and is subsequently lost. The sperm must be mobile, abundant and of high quality.
“Sperm motility” refers to the sperm tail’s capability to propel itself into the female egg’s tube. Specific receptors on the surface of both the sperm and eggs enhance the interaction between them. Once it occurs, the sperm releases enzymes that cause the egg’s outer membrane to tear, creating a hole that the egg may subsequently merge with.
Chromosomal and Genetic Causes
Embryos with chromosomal abnormalities can cause the failure of IVF. This indicates that a piece of chromosomal DNA is either absent, extra, or arranged irregularly in the embryo. The body rejecting the embryo is the reason why IVF fails. Chromosomal anomalies may emerge during the early stages of embryonic division or may be inherited from one of the parents.
The success rate of IVF is lower in older women because they are more likely to have eggs of inferior quality and with genetic abnormalities. According to research, sperm carry far more defects than female eggs, which may possibly be a factor in the failure of IVF procedures.
Selection of Embryos
The embryologist chooses which embryos to transfer to the uterus. It is still very difficult to distinguish chromosomally normal from chromosomally defective embryos. The success of the IVF treatment must heavily rely on the expertise of the embryologists and their methods.
Issues with the Transfer of Embryos
The embryo transfer is an extremely delicate, non-surgical process. Any change to this process might result in the failure of an IVF cycle. It is crucial that the embryos are positioned correctly within the uterus. It might be challenging to determine the ideal spot for the embryo implantation without doing a trial transfer.
IVF lab factors
The sperm, eggs, and embryos are kept in precisely regulated settings that resemble the female reproductive system in IVF labs. The oxygen, carbon dioxide, PH levels, and other variables are under strict control. Even a slight change in the aforementioned levels can alter the environment that the embryos typically experience and cause them to die, which will prevent fertilization in that cycle.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and throughout IVF is likely to help with conception, just like with a regular pregnancy. You will also benefit from keeping a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
How to prevent IVF failure?
Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body mass index are crucial for a greater treatment success rate. The likelihood of IVF success might be lowered by being overweight (BMI > 35) or underweight (BMI 19). Even a minor weight decrease when the BMI is high might enhance fertility and pregnancy health.
It can be challenging to minimize stress during an IVF cycle. Engaging in consistent yoga and meditation can rejuvenate you and ready your mind for a positive pregnancy experience.
Make sure the mother is receiving the recommended 7-8 hours of quality sleep to support a healthy pregnancy through its natural restorative effects.
Some studies suggest that supplements like vitamin D, CoQ10, and DHEA could increase the chances of success in IVF procedures. Despite the challenges mentioned above, in vitro fertilization remains highly successful. Our embryologists at 9M Fertility continuously optimize the environment to which gametes and embryos are exposed. They stay up to date with the literature and make the necessary adjustments to our laboratory. Additionally, they carry out daily quality evaluation and control processes to ensure that our equipment is constantly operating at its optimal efficiency. If you have any further queries, our embryologists and doctors would be delighted to assist you.