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Failed IVF: Steps to Take in Your Next Attempt

failed ivf what to do next
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a blessing, but for some, it can be a never-ending struggle to have a successful pregnancy. If you’ve had a failed IVF, what do you do next? Whether your health practitioner discovers why the IVF failed, or it is a case of unknowns, today’s methods of improving egg quality or using Assisted Hatching show promising results.

What Causes Failed IVF?

The science behind IVF is complex with many results not leading to a specific answer. We know for successful IVF the egg and sperm must be viable for fertilization and then it’s up to a sustainable embryo to implant correctly. From there, we strive for a healthy embryo to develop. With all of these factors, there can be many reasons why IVF does not work.

Embryo Quality (Genetic Abnormalities)

The quality of the embryo is a crucial part of the IVF process. Despite continuous monitoring and testing, it may not result in a positive implantation. A healthy embryo may contain an undetected defect as a result of an unknown genetic abnormality.

Mother’s Health

The health of the mother often comes into question as the complexity of IVF treatment depends on many factors, including her lifestyle and overall health. There are several screening tests for any issues that may arise or if there is an obvious reason IVF has been the chosen route.

Inadequate Number of Follicles

For some, a failed IVF can be the result of an inadequate number of follicles for the eggs to mature within. This can even be seen with use of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), to help stimulate maturity of more eggs. Women over the age of 35 are often given an ovarian stimulation drug to encourage the existing follicles to produce eggs.

Fertilization Not Successful

Fertilization failure can occur for evident reasons, and some not so obvious reasons. The common cause of this includes poor quality, or quantity, of the eggs or sperm. Another issue may be the eggs do fertilize but the embryos may be poor in quality before transfer is complete.

Egg Quality

Egg quality refers to the state of health of the egg itself. If it is not viable, the egg may not fertilize, or if it does, the embryos may not implant properly. Often, an ovarian stimulating drug is used to increase the number of eggs released.

Ways to Improve Your Chances of a Successful IVF

With an IVF failure, your doctor may suggest several options to boost the quality of the eggs. First, and foremost, ensure all parties have emotional support before taking the next step or making any decisions.

Improve Quality of Egg

Egg health is dependant on a stable and strong blood circulation. One’s overall health has an impact on the eggs produced as well as the state of the ovaries. Drinking six to eight glasses of water a day improves blood flow. Following a healthy diet, cardio exercise, yoga, and massage therapy all play a part in the body’s health.

Genetic Screening of Embryo

Your doctor may perform a series of tests to uncover the state of the embryos before implantation. Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS), or Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS), identifies any genetic defects within the embryos. These chromosomal abnormalities can lead to miscarriage or may prevent implantation. Also Read: Tips for Improving Your Chances of a Successful Embryo Transfer Procedure

Ways to Improve Embryo Development Implantation

It is important to ensure the body’s natural immune defense is does not create an inflammatory response to the implantation of the embryo. Your doctor may suggest an anti-inflammatory diet to support the process. There are assisted methods that can improve embryo development implantation.

Assisted Hatching

Assisted Hatching (AH) is an IVF method to improve implantation. This hands-on laboratory procedure creates a small crack in the outer shell of the embryo, known as the zone pellucida. It intends to help the embryo leave it’s protective outer layer for implantation. This thinning of the zona pellucida is done to the embryos selected for implantation. The lab technician uses a pipette filled of designated solution to thin or break the outer layer. The embryos are “cleansed” before returning to an incubator. Assisted Hatching is used for specific IVF treatment cases. The criteria vary from treatment centre and naturally, from case to case. There is no guarantee Assisted Hatching will result in a successful pregnancy, but it is another tool in IVF treatment.

Embryo Glue

Embryo Glue method uses hyaluronan in the laboratory to help improve implantation of the embryos. Hyaluronan is a natural substance created within the uterine lining. In some cases, the lining requires extra secretion. As with the body’s hyaluronic acid production, the embryo glue works to help the embryo to become more adhesive for the implantation process.

Co-Culture System

The co-culture system may be used to select favouring embryos to increase chances for a more successful transfer. It is thought by only allowing a specific lower number at implantation, there is a decreased risk for multiple pregnancies which will improve survival chances of the embryos.

Other Options for a Successful Pregnancy

Whether you have a pre-determined genetic disorder, or have poor egg quality, consider your next steps. Regardless of the failed IVF attempts, there are always other options worth considering.

Third-Party Donor

With poor egg quality, one recommendation is to use eggs from a third-party donor. Through an extensive screening process, eggs are chosen from donor to be implanted in the patient’s uterus.


Often times a woman has several miscarriages or continuous failed embryo implantations. A surrogacy entails using the mother’s eggs and the father’s sperm to create an embryo to be carried by another woman.

IVF and Assisted Hatching Services by ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

For primary care in IVF treatment, discuss your options with the team of ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo. Our knowledgeable team supports you each step of the way with advanced medical care and treatment. As a state-of-the-art fertility centre, we offer specialized Assisted Hatching services in addition to other care and counseling services. Contact our fertility clinic today to learn more about your fertility treatment options and decide which one is right for you.


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