IVF in Cyprus is one of the most successful reproductive technologies available today. However, sometimes it doesn’t result in a positive pregnancy test.
Before proceeding with treatment, it’s crucially important that you’re well informed, follow your doctor’s instructions, keep a positive attitude and use failure as an opportunity!
Here you can find the most common reasons for failed IVF treatment and the solutions and practices that we use to optimise success.
Causes of failed IVF
As with many medical treatments, IVF doesn’t always bring the desired outcome. This is dependent on the reproductive health of the patient and their personal reaction to the prescribed protocol.
Common reasons for IVF failure include:
- Egg, sperm and embryo quality
- Endometrial receptivity
- Reasons for infertility
Age as a predictor for IVF success
Age plays a significant role in your reproductive health, causing a decline in your fertility as you get older. This occurs earlier in women than in men. In women, age affects both the ovarian reserves and their quality. Men usually experience a drop in their overall sperm count and in the semen quality factors, like motility, morphology and density.
Low ovarian reserve is one reason for poor oocyte harvest during an IVF cycle. If you fail to respond to the fertility medications as expected, the ovarian stimulation protocol will be adjusted and if still ineffective, a completely new protocol will be prescribed for your next IVF cycle, or an alternative treatment plan will be advised (e.g. IVF with donor eggs).
Our fertility specialist will evaluate a woman’s ovarian reserve using a variety of hormone tests as part of the standard fertility evaluations. These tests provide information about the quantity (rather than their quality) of the eggs. However, an experienced team of experts can effectively deal with all situations and prescribe an appropriate, personalised treatment plan for your needs. Men can get insights into their sperm quality and count using a simple semen analysis test.
Poor embryo quality
A flawed embryo is one of the most common issues for failed IVF. Sometimes, regardless of the appearance and quality of the embryo(s), implantation doesn’t take place. Here are some explanations:
The first reason for a poor embryo quality is improper embryo development. During an IVF cycle, the EuroCARE fertility team will observe and monitor the embryos for 3 to 5 days before being transferred into the patient’s uterus.
Embryos that have flaws won’t reach the 6-to-8-cell stage of development. If this is the case with all the embryos, your IVF cycle might get cancelled.
Another reason for poor embryo development is the presence or absence of certain chromosomes (a state called aneuploidy). These subtle defects are often linked to the presence of chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the reproductive material of one or both partners. Aneuploid embryos usually lead to failed implantation. Those who do implant, however, often cause an early miscarriage.
Problems with zona pellucida
The third problem that can occur during embryo development is the thickening of the zona pellucida (covering membrane of embryos). This membrane sometimes cannot break and release the embryo once being transferred into the uterus. This creates a barrier for the embryo to implant properly and attaches to the uterine wall.
Unaddressed health problems
Some medical conditions can negatively affect your IVF success, including:
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Autoimmune disease
The above-listed diseases can affect the hormonal levels in your body and lead to weight changes, which directly influence the reproductive system. In the worst case, autoimmune diseases can develop an immunological reaction to the transferred embryo and cause failed implantation/miscarriage.
Implantation is the stage of pregnancy when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall. This process enables the embryo to continue developing and provides nutrients and oxygen for the growing foetus. Successful implantation depends on the continuous embryonic development and positive mutual interaction between the transferred embryo and endometrium (uterine lining).
Sometimes embryos do not implant properly and in most cases, the problem is caused by an unreceptive uterus because of anatomical abnormalities, such as:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Endometrial polyps
Preventing failure due to poor egg quality
Low egg quality due to age or a medical problem is common in women of childbearing age. Here at EuroCARE, we offer several solutions and preventive technologies to increase your chances of pregnancy success.
Quality of women’s eggs cannot be restored or improved. However, fertility-friendly diets along with positive lifestyle changes can improve your ovulatory function and overall health, which can significantly increase your chances of reaching IVF success.
Cryopreservation is an effective way to preserve your reproductive material. Women at the pick of their fertility who want to postpone pregnancy until later in life can freeze their egg for future use in IVF. Once you feel ready to start a family, frozen eggs will be first thawed (warmed up) and then transferred to your uterus to attempt conception (a procedure known as frozen embryo transfer or FET).
IVF with an Egg donor is a suitable option for women who have a low ovarian reserve or poor response to the hormonal stimulation medications. Even though the highest dosage of medication is used or different methods may be tried, sometimes the result is not as expected. For this reason, our medical team may recommend using an egg donor.
IVF with donor sperm is suitable for those with poor quality or abnormal sperm samples. EuroCARE offers this possibility for completing your family by using high-quality samples from a young, healthy donor.
Techniques for poor embryo quality
When one or both parents are carriers or have a family history of a certain genetic/chromosomal disease we recommend using one of the two genetic tests: Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) and Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
These procedures can be done as part of your IVF treatment before embryos are being transferred to the patient’s uterus. By identifying any genetic or chromosomal defects in the embryos, we can significantly increase the likelihood of successful implantation and pregnancy.
Methods for successful implantation
The first step is to detect the presence of uterine problems and solve those first before proceeding to treatment. This can be achieved either surgically or with a proper medical therapy prescribed by a fertility specialist.
In addition, we may employ some complementary techniques, including:
- Blastocyst day-5 embryo transfer
- Laser assisted hatching (a technique that supports embryo hatching and successful implantation)
- Embryo glue (a special sticky solution that improves the interaction between the embryo and the uterus)
Preventing failure due to medical conditions
Some medical conditions of the mother (such as thrombophilia and abnormal immunologic response) can adversely affect the cross-talk between the embryo and the endometrium that is crucial for successful implantation. These include obesity, thyroid dysfunction and immune factors. With proper treatment or symptom management before starting treatment, you can reduce the risk of complications during and after your cycle.
If a couple/individual has a history of cancelled IVF cycles due to ovary hyperstimulation (OHSS) or conditions that may put you at risk of OHSS, we may recommend Mini IVF. This treatment is very similar to the standard IVF procedure, with the only difference being the minimal dosage of fertility stimulation drugs.
EuroCARE can help you become parent!
An unsuccessful IVF treatment can be devastating both for patients and for us as a medical team, too. However, it’s important to use failed IVF cycles as a lesson for your next treatment.
No matter your circumstances, our team is devoted to finding personalised solutions for each patient individually. We offer a variety of IVF treatments and cycle upgrades that can maximise your chances of success.
Find low-cost IVF packages at EuroCARE, a modern clinic on the beautiful island of Cyprus, and enjoy an all-inclusive reproductive service — all under one roof. Take your first step today and book a free video consultation!