What should couples do next, suggests an expert

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Every IVF attempt may not lead to a successful pregnancy. Stay calm, and remember that you can always look at other options.

In-vitro fertilization comes as a ray of hope for couples who cannot conceive naturally. But IVF does not always mean that you will conceive a child due to its high success rates. When IVF fails, it feels like something unexpected has happened, and couples are heartbroken. Failure of IVF does not mean that you lose sight of expectations completely. Your doctor and fertility expert can guide you through the next steps.

Reasons behind failure of IVF

You must understand that your probability of getting pregnant with one embryo transfer is around 40-50 percent. After 3 attempts, the probability increases to more than 80 percent. But if all the attempts fail, the poor quality of the embryo can be one of the reasons. Sometimes, the eggs can’t be retrieved, which fails.

Some couples do not reach the stage of embryo transfer in the IVF cycle or even if they do, the result may be the same – no pregnancy.

There are a few factors that can also lead to failure of the IVF treatment like:

  • Egg quality issues arising from obesity
  • Advanced age
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • Lifestyle disorders
  • Sperm quality issues like extreme degree of malformation or DNA damage due to obesity, smoking or drug abuse
  • Poor uterus lining due to past infection or damage to the uterus
  • Certain genetic disorders in either partner leading to compromised gametes.

Additionally, sometime there are pelvic infections leading to swollen fallopian tubes which do not allow implantation to occur. Rarely, the uterus lining is not receptive to the transferred embryos.

Also Read: These are the 5 mistakes you must avoid if IVF is on your mind

Be ready for hits and misses when you opt for IVF. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What to do next?

If your first attempt has failed, you should not lose hope. Before going for another attempt, talk to your fertility physician and understand the reasons behind the failure. This can give you and your doctor a clear picture of the causes and whether they can be corrected or not. Your physician will also make the necessary adjustments before the next attempt. Talk to your doctor about your chances of getting pregnant in future attempts.

Before repeating the IVF cycle, you must be mentally and emotionally prepared for going through all of it again. Stress management is an important aspect to consider while going through IVF, as couples may remain anxious and stressed in anticipation of the outcomes. Also, due to the expenses involved in the procedure, you should be financially ready and stable before undergoing another round of treatment.

Repetition of IVF treatment cycles is common. According to many studies, trying IVF treatment up to 6 times can result in an incremental increase in cumulative birth rate. But a good understanding of the failed cycle is important before embarking on a new cycle.

Before going for another attempt, you should be careful with your Body Mass Index (BMI) and weight, which can impact the success rate. Regular exercise and a good diet can make you prepared for the treatment. Age is also a crucial factor for couples to consider before opting for any assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

If the reason for IVF failure is related to the quality of eggs, couples may opt for donor eggs.

Take your time to cope with the loss first and then try to go for another cycle. IVF can be emotionally and physically draining, and one needs to be prepared well before undergoing the process.

Also Read: A fertility specialist busts the most common myths around IVF


If IVF doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world for you.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Other options are available

If your body is not prepared for more cycles or there is an underlying condition, you are always open to choosing among alternatives like adoption and surrogacy. Sometimes, successful IVF pregnancies can result in miscarriages also. Therefore, you can choose to go for a healthy gestational carrier or surrogate for your baby. This option is also viable for women who cannot conceive due to failure in embryo implantation. Adoption is another alternative for you to bring a child into your life.

What should you avoid after failed IVF attempt?

Before going for another IVF attempt, remember a few things that you should avoid to get things right this time.

Do not depend on the internet to know everything. Reading about basic information related IVF on google is normal. But researching pregnancy hacks or obsessing about your issues by searching for them constantly won’t help. Such actions will add up to your anxiety levels.

After your IVF cycle, you should be physically active instead of lying on the bed. Complete bed rest is not required after the procedure as it can lead to some medical complications.

Also, you should choose the right clinic and doctor with the necessary credentials. If you have doubts regarding your current doctor, there is nothing wrong in switching to another one. Choose a reputed clinic for your treatment which has high IVF success rates.

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