Causes of IVF failures and how to avoid them, what to do after

According to statistics, the effectiveness of the IVF procedure in our country (after the first attempt) does not exceed 50 percent. Nobody guarantees 100% success – neither in ours, nor in foreign clinics. But this is not a reason to despair: an unsuccessful attempt is not a sentence! The main thing is to believe in yourself, understand the essence of the problem and act correctly in the future. What are the main reasons for IVF failures, and what to do next?

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The main reasons for failed IVF

Unfortunately, IVF failure is a reality for many women. Only 30-50 percent are diagnosed with pregnancy, and this percentage is significantly reduced in the presence of any disease. The most common reasons for a failed procedure are:

  • Poor quality embryos. For a successful procedure, the most suitable are embryos of 6-8 cells with high rates of division. In case of a failure related to the quality of embryos, one should think about finding a new clinic with more qualified embryologists. In case of failure associated with the male factor, it makes sense to look for a more qualified andrologist.


  • Endometrial pathology. IVF success is most likely when the endometrium is 7-14 mm in size at the time of embryo transfer. One of the main pathologies of the endometrium that hinders success is chronic endometritis. It is detected using echography. As well as hyperplasia, polyps, endometrial thinness, etc.
  • Pathology of the tubes of the uterus. The possibility of pregnancy disappears when there is fluid in the fallopian tubes. Such abnormalities require treatment.
  • Genetic problems.
  • HLA antigens similarity between dad and mom.
  • The presence in the female body of antibodies that prevent pregnancy.
  • Endocrine system problems and hormonal disorders.
  • Age factor.
  • Bad habits.
  • Obesity.
  • Illiterate recommendations or non-compliance by a woman with the doctor’s recommendations.
  • Poorly performed examination (incomplete immunograms, hemostasiograms).
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (decreased egg quality).
  • Decreased follicular reserve. The reasons are ovarian depletion, inflammation, the consequences of the operation, etc.
  • The presence of chronic diseases of the female reproductive system, liver and kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, etc.
  • The presence of infectious diseases (herpes, hepatitis C, etc.).
  • Health disorders during the IVF procedure (flu, ARVI, asthma or trauma, gallstone disease, etc.). That is, any disease that requires the involvement of the body’s forces to fight it.
  • Adhesions in the small pelvis (circulatory disorders, sacto- and hydrosalpinx, etc.).
  • External genital endometriosis.
  • Congenital and acquired anomalies – two-horned or saddle uterus, its doubling, fibroids, etc.

And also other factors.

Recovery of menstruation

The response of the female body to IVF is always individual. The restoration of menstruation usually occurs on time, although a delay of force majeure after such a procedure is not. The reasons for the delay can be, both in the characteristics of the organism itself, and in the general state of health. It should be noted that self-administration of hormones with a delay after IVF is not recommended – it will provoke a delay in menstruation after taking the hormones themselves. What else do you need to remember?

  • Heavy periods after IVF are possible. This phenomenon does not mean serious problems, there is no reason for panic. Your periods can also be painful, longer, and clotted. Given the fact that ovulation is stimulated, these changes are within normal limits.
  • The next period should return to normal.
  • In case of deviations in the parameters of the 2nd after IVF menstruation, it makes sense to see the doctor who kept the protocol.
  • A delay in menstruation after a failed IVF attempt (and its other changes) does not reduce the chances of a successful subsequent attempt.


Can a natural pregnancy occur after an unsuccessful IVF attempt?

According to statistics, about 24 percent of parents who are faced with the failure of their first IVF attempt, after conceiving babies naturally. Experts explain this “spontaneous conception” by the “launch” of the physiological hormonal cycle after IVF. That is, IVF becomes a trigger for the activation of the natural mechanisms of the reproductive system.

What to do next after an unsuccessful IVF attempt – calm down and act according to plan!

For the onset of pregnancy after a failure with the 1st IVF attempt, many mothers decide on drastic measures – not only changing the clinic, but also the country in which the clinic is chosen. Sometimes this really becomes the solution to the problem, because a qualified, experienced doctor is half the battle. But most of the recommendations for women faced with unsuccessful IVF boils down to a number of specific rules. So, what to do if IVF is not successful?

  • We rest until the next protocol. This does not mean hibernation under a warm blanket at home (by the way, extra pounds are an obstacle for IVF), but light sports (walking, swimming, exercising, belly dancing and yoga, etc.). It is important to focus on exercise that improves blood flow to the pelvic organs.
  • We return to personal life “at will”, and not according to the schedule. For the duration of the break, you can refuse to schedule.
  • We carry out a full examination, the necessary tests and all additional procedures to minimize the risk of repeated failure.
  • We use all the possibilities for recovery (do not forget to consult a doctor): mud therapy and acupressure, hirudotherapy and reflexology, taking vitamins, etc.
  • Getting out of depression. The most important thing, without which success is simply impossible, is the psychological attitude of a woman. Unsuccessful IVF is not a collapse of hopes, but only one more step on the way to the desired pregnancy. Stress and depression drastically reduce the chances of success for a second attempt, so after a failure it is important not to lose heart. The support of family, friends, spouse is extremely important now. Sometimes it makes sense to turn to professionals.


What should a doctor pay attention to after a failure?

  • The quality of the endometrium and the embryos themselves.
  • The level of preparation of the body for a possible pregnancy.
  • The quality of the ovarian response to stimulation.
  • The presence / absence of the fact of fertilization.
  • Endometrial structure / thickness parameters at the time of transfer.
  • The quality of the development of embryos in the laboratory.
  • All possible reasons for the non-occurrence of the expected pregnancy.
  • The presence of abnormalities in the development of the endometrium during the IVF procedure.
  • The need for additional examination and / or treatment before the second procedure.
  • The need to make changes to the previous treatment regimen before repeated IVF.
  • Timing of repeated IVF (when possible).
  • Changes to the ovarian stimulation protocol.
  • Changing the dosage of drugs that are responsible for superovulation.
  • The need to use a donor egg.

When is a second procedure allowed?

A second attempt is allowed in the next month after the failure. It all depends on the woman’s desire and on the recommendations of the doctor. But more often, a longer break is recommended to recuperate – about 2-3 months to restore the ovaries after stimulation and bring the body back to normal after stress, which is essentially IVF.

Tests and procedures shown after several unsuccessful attempts:

  • Lupus anticoagulant.
  • Karyotyping.
  • Antibodies to hCG.
  • Hysteroscopy, endometrial biopsy.
  • HLA typing of a married couple.
  • Serum blocking factor.
  • Study of the immune and interferon status.
  • A blood test for antiphospholipid antibodies.
  • Doppler study of the vascular bed of the genitals.
  • Culture analysis to identify a possible causative agent of the inflammatory process.
  • Study of the uterus to determine the estimated parameters of the biophysical profile of the uterus.

In the presence of hidden inflammatory processes in the uterus (at risk – women after cleansing, abortion, childbirth, diagnostic curettage, etc.) treatment methods can be as follows:

  • Drug therapy (use of antibiotics).
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Laser therapy.
  • Spa treatment.
  • Alternative medicine methods (including herbal medicine, hirudotherapy and homeopathy).

Embryologist adding sperm to egg

How many IVF attempts are allowed?

According to experts, the IVF procedure itself does not have a significant negative effect on the body, and no one will say how many procedures the body will need. Everything is individual. Sometimes for IVF success it is necessary to undergo 8-9 procedures. But, as a rule, after the 3-4th unsuccessful attempt, alternative options are considered. For example, using a donor egg / sperm.

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