Among all assisted pregnancy treatments, IVF is the most successful option. In India, In Vitro Fertilization has shown promising results, and every year 2 to 2.5 lakh IVF cycles are done in the country which is expected to reach 5 to 6 lakh cycles in a couple of years. During an IVF procedure, a doctor stimulates the growth of multiple eggs and then these eggs are harvested for fertilization. In a controlled precise process, viable eggs are fertilized using the partner’s (or donor) sperm. Then embryos develop through the process are evaluated for quality. The most viable embryo is chosen and transferred to the uterus. If the procedure is a success, then the embryo attaches and develops into a healthy baby. This is ideally how the process must be, but not every IVF cycle is a success. Multiple IVF failure is a possibility in some patients. Such failures are not only expensive but also take an emotional toll on the couple. If you have faced repeated IVF failure, it is important to understand what can be the underlying condition causing the issue.
What causes multiple IVF Failures?
Before we discuss the reason, it is important to understand what categorizes as multiple IVF failure. When three or more attempts to create a successful pregnancy fail after using good quality embryos, it is termed as repeated IVF failure. It is a term that is used for both the conditions-when the individual fails to become pregnant and situations in which pregnancy ends with early miscarriage.
There can be several reasons for multiple IVF failures and not all of them can be attributed to the mother alone.
Let’s take a closer look at these causes.
A common reason for IVF failure is embryo development issues. If there are undiscovered defects and the embryo is transplanted in the uterus it will simply stop growing resulting in miscarriage. This is why preimplantation genetic testing is mandatory to discover whether the embryo is healthy enough to grow before implantation.
Age of the mother
Women over the age of 35 are at higher risk of IVF failure as with age the quality of eggs declines which can result in poor quality of the embryo. Biologically women are born with all the eggs they will ever have and with age, the quality of eggs begins to diminish. This makes it harder to harvest eggs as women age closer to menopause. According to studies, women under 35 have a 45% success rate of implantation, while women over the age of 40 typically see implantation rate success of about 15%.
Around 10% of the population is found to be affected with autoimmune disorders and women make up to 80% of the segment. An autoimmune disease causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues which destroy the healthy cells and inflammation in the region. Addison’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and Lupus, all are forms of autoimmune disease.
Women with some sort of autoimmune disease can face multiple IVF failures as it can cause implantation failure. The problem occurs as such diseases are stealth until a problem arises. You must get tested for autoimmune antibodies at any IVF center in Pune before your IVF cycle begins.
Just like natural conception, genetic or chromosomal abnormalities can result in pregnancy failure during IVF. As women age and the egg quality lowers, the risk of chromosomal abnormalities starts to rise. By the mid-40s, such abnormalities rise to a whopping 75%. The same happens with a man’s sperm as he ages.
To avoid multiple IVF failures, doctors do preimplantation genetic screening or testing to detect any chromosomal abnormalities before implantation can take place. In case, you decline preimplantation genetic screening you may experience multiple IVF failures. This is why you must not overlook the possibility of chromosome abnormalities in their embryo.
As lifestyle choices can cause a problem with a natural pregnancy, the same can happen with IVF-assisted pregnancy. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol, poor nutrition, unhealthy body weight, etc. can directly impact the success of the IVF cycle. According to studies, women who smoke are at higher risk of miscarriage during IVF. Also, such women need twice as many IVF cycles for a successful pregnancy.
What options are available?
It is not uncommon to go through multiple IVF cycles before you achieve success. Most women see a success rate of 25-30% per cycle. It implies that only 3 out of 10 women get pregnant after the first IVF cycle.
Don’t be discouraged if you do not get pregnant successfully after 2-3 cycles, but it does require you to consider the possibility of multiple IVF failures and seek the right course of action. A quality IVF center in Pune will have facilities for preimplantation genetic testing which is an important step to rule out any genetic causes for IVF failure.
Gestational surrogacy is a viable option to overcome recurrent implantation failure. In the procedure, the mother’s eggs are fertilized with the father’s sperms in a lab and then viable embryo(s) is transferred into the uterus of a gestational surrogate.
Another possibility is the IUI or Intrauterine Insemination treatment. In this procedure, the sperm from the partner or donor is directly placed in the uterus using a speculum.
Multiple IVF failure is not the end of the road for aspiring parents. It is just a roadblock that can be dealt with. Discuss your option with your doctor to understand the cause and treatment viable for you.
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