IVF success, follow these tips even if you’ve failed to become pregnant
The thought of having in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) can be frightening for some women, especially if you do not know much about the procedure. On the other hand, if you have tried IVF and failed, you become skeptical. However, it is not the end of the road. We spoke to a few experts who told us what steps should be taken and what are the options for someone who has previously failed IVF.
IVF involves a complex series of procedures used for conceiving a child. During an IVF cycle, which lasts about two weeks, mature eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries and fertilised by sperm in a laboratory. Your fertility treatment plan and whether you need an IVF or not, will depend on the cause behind your infertility. “IVF can help overcome various types of infertility related issues that couples face while trying for a baby. IVF is considered as the first line of treatment for indications such as blocked tubes, advanced stage endometriosis, male factor infertility, poor ovarian reserve, etc. In other cases, IVF may be recommended only when other fertility related treatments are not able to achieve conception,” says Dr Anagha Karkhanis, an IVF specialist and director at Cocoon Fertility in Mumbai.
Under best circumstances, success rates of each IVF cycle is around 30 to 35%. Some reasons why the treatment may not have worked (failed IVF) are that the transferred embryo may have had irregular number of chromosomes leading to genetic or molecular embryo abnormalities. This is one of the leading causes of implantation failure in IVF. Sometimes, the lining of the uterus may not be optimum, in its thickness, blood supply or the time frame in which it is able to accept an embryo for implantation and growth. The embryo is then not able to attach to the uterine lining. Other factors such as fibroids, endometriosis, diabetes, thyroid problems if not properly managed also adversely affect chances of success.
What after IVF failure
“Whether or not to try again with an IVF cycle and how soon and how many times depends on many factors. Physical fitness and emotional readiness should be considered before taking a decision,” advises Dr Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, an IVF specialist based in Mumbai. When the next cycle is planned, an IVF doctor will assess any previous treatment cycles to modify treatment schedules and protocols to optimise outcomes. If you are planning further treatments, it is important to know that fertility declines with age. Various interventions are possible to improve the success rate in repeat IVF. Dr Rajalaxmi Walavalkar lists out a few ways to go about it.
Blastocyst culture – In this process, embryos are grown up to day five in the lab and then transferred.
Sequential transfer – One embryo is transferred on day three and another on day five.
Endometrial scratch procedure – This comprises disrupting the lining of the uterus in a previous cycle, which has shown to improve implantation rates in subsequent months.
Hysteroscopy – This is done to check the cavity of the womb and its lining and to correct any issues that are found.
Donor egg treatment – In older women, where the egg quality was the reason for failed IVF, donor egg treatment may be an option.
Medication – Use of medication or stem cell extracts to increase the stickiness of the lining of the womb. Medication can be used to help increase the blood flow to the womb lining. These interventions help in improving success rates of conception and should be offered second time round depending on individual conditions. “For each embryo transfer done during an IVF cycle, where a woman’s own eggs are used, chance for a baby is around 40% in her late 20s, around 30% until late 30s, and around 10–15% till the age of 43. Chances of success are also better if you were pregnant with the same partner previously,” observes Dr Walavalkar.