How to cope with a failed IVF cycle and what should be your next steps after it?

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IVF cycles are not always following a straight line. Every patient that is going through an IVF cycle has a different set of circumstances. With this, we are referring to different fertility levels, different IVF approaches, different reactions to the IVF medications and procedure. 

Even though it rarely happens thanks to all the modern technological advancements in the field of reproductive technologies, a failed IVF cycle can be terrible for our patients. Here at our clinic, we practice constant and extensive monitoring at each IVF step but the complexity of the human body sometimes makes it hard to predict the outcome of the IVF cycle.  

Therefore, the first thing we would like anyone that is on an IVF journey to realize when approaching an IVF as infertility treatment and solution, is that each IVF cycle is different and tough. Also, unfortunately, there is a slight chance that they might have to face a failed IVF. We want our patients to be ready and educated on how to cope with failure and don’t fall into a void of disappointments. Along with that, we would like our patients to realize that a failed IVF doesn’t mean failed parenthood, and what matters is the reason why they started. 

We are very much aware of how much energy, finances and time our patients invest in the IVF cycle. That’s why our mission is to provide the most suitable and most quality conditions for an IVF cycle. 

What should you do after a failed fertility treatment cycle? How do you know if you should move onto another treatment or when to keep trying with the same protocol? 

Keep on reading and hear what the best fertility experts in Cyprus are suggesting for this unpleasant IVF scenario. 

Let’s first discuss what can be the reason for a failed IVF

In vitro fertilization treatments have several stages. Before we speak about the potential reason for a failed IVF cycle, we would like to briefly explain the standard IVF procedure.

During a standard IVF, the whole procedure starts with a fertility evaluation made by our fertility doctor. Based on the evaluation, fertility medications as part of the ovarian stimulation phase is prescribed. This ovarian stimulation protocol is boosting the work of the ovaries, so more eggs can be produced and retrieved for fertilization.

After 10 to 11 days of ovarian stimulation phase, the eggs are retrieved at our clinic and stored safely to reach properly developed phase for fertilization. The eggs and your partner (or your donor’s sperm) are fertilized in our fully controlled environment and equipped laboratories. What follows is the evaluation of the resulting embryos, consultation with our patients and final embryo transfer.  

Bad response to the ovarian stimulation protocol (Insufficient or overstimulation)

The first major problem that can occur and cause a cancelation of your IVF cycle (Counted as Failed IVF cycle) is insufficient over stimulation at the ovarian stimulation phase. If the ovarian stimulation is insufficient, then we won’t be able to retrieve and fertilize more eggs, thus the success chances of that IVF cycle are decreased. 

Overstimulation might be dangerous, therefore, if there are signs of it, the ovarian protocol should be stopped. These two scenarios are possible and if they happen, our fertility experts would cancel an IVF cycle to prevent the patient from further complications. 

Poor reproductive material quality

For an IVF to be successful, not only the quantity of the reproductive material is important. A significant role also plays the quality of the reproductive material in both partners. 

The basic tests for evaluating the quality are done in the first stage of the IVF cycle – Fertility evaluation.

Even though the poor quality of the reproductive material can show up in later stages. These subtle quality deficiencies are hard to be detected sometimes, and they can lead to implantation failure or insufficient development of the embryo in the woman’s womb. 

The quality of reproductive material depends on multiple factors. The main indicator that allows us to predict a poor egg or sperm quality is the age of the patient. Even though this criterion is also not fully accurate, it can be the most realistic indicator. 

Bad overall and disrupted mental health 

Disrupted overall health (you are experiencing other health issues besides infertility) can affect the IVF cycle. Especially if that problem is hormone-related. These kinds of problems can disrupt the hormonal balances in the body, harm your immune system and cause an inability to go through an IVF cycle or carry the pregnancy to term. 

Often neglected, and we often forget to take care of it – is mental health. Even though an IVF cycle can be very hard to overcome without stressing and sometimes even without developing anxiety or low forms of depression, every IVF patient should realize that weak mental health can affect the result from the IVF cycle. 

Of course, it depends on how the person copes with the stress. But, in most of cases being under stress naturally affects our hormone levels and can cause troubles during the IVF cycle. Fertility treatments are based on a strong balance of hormonal levels in our bodies. 

Abnormal BMI and bad lifestyle habits

This can be easily linked with the previous reasons. Overweight or underweight, has a biological mechanism of affecting our reproductive health. Very often, it can be the reason why a couple is having difficulties in getting pregnant, or why the IVF cycle might fail (if it happens at all). 

Some fertility clinics do not perform an IVF cycle until the weight is in the normal BMI range, just to avoid the risky area. 

The bad lifestyle habits, such as: 

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consuming in high quantities
  • Fast – food or eating disorders 
  • Illicit drugs consumption  
  • Avoiding sports and physical activities

can lead to a weakening of your immune system, abnormal BMI and disrupting your overall health. Thus, when planning a pregnancy, everyone should consider leaving those bad habits out of their lives.  

How to cope with the potential reasons for a failed IVF cycle? 

Before we go into the hardest part of this article, our team would like to inform you how you can prevent failure of the IVF cycle. Beware that we mentioned only the main groups of potential risk factors, and that might be many other reasons (sometimes they are even unexplained and the doctors are not able to accurately detect) causing a failed IVF cycle. 

Fortunately, there are preventive measurements and techniques that can help you increase the IVF cycle success. Proper preparation of your body and mind, and the feeling that you’ve done your best before the IVF cycle might bring you a positive attitude. Furthermore, it will increase your IVF success chances. 

Here are the main reasons how to support your body and mind for an IVF cycle:

  • Detoxify your body to increase reproductive material’s quality 
  • Watch out your nutrition and try some of the fertility diets
  • Choose your favorite physical activity 
  • Relax and reach for professional support to strengthen your mental health
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Establish a sleeping schedule 
  • Hydrate and drink enough water 
  • Prenatal vitamins (Combination of Folic Acid + vitamin D, iron and other vitamins)
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Reduce stress and practice breathing exercises or Yoga 
  • Try acupuncture 
  • Avoid caffeine

These measures are recommended mostly and mainly as preventive prior to the IVF cycle. Even though they can be practiced also during the IVF cycle and early pregnancy. Also, they are more than welcome after a failed IVF cycle. 

How to cope with a failed IVF?

Let’s say that this terrible event happened, and you are facing a failed IVF cycle. The first and the hardest thing about this might be the numerous new questions that occur after failed IVF. Many Why’s and many How’s will start to bother, and the devastation is quite high. 

The first thing after receiving information about failed IVF – Do not despair! 

We are quite sure that you won’t receive only this information alone. Every fertility team, especially euroCARE’s team would present this information joined with the potential reasons why it happened and of course, what can be done next.  The first thing that you might want to do after receiving this information is to stay cold – headed and remember that strong mental health would only help you. 

Do not panic, do not let desperation overwhelm you. Stay calm, take some time to rest after the failed IVF cycle, take your time to refresh your body with involving fertility foods and food rich in nutrients. 

Be prepared that you might have to make additional tests

Before proceeding with drawing any conclusions about why the IVF cycle failed, or how to proceed, the fertility team might require from you further tests done. Within these tests might be: 

  • Checking blood hormone levels for thyroid and prolactin levels
  • Sonohysterogram and hysteroscopy for uterine evaluations 
  • Special biopsy for the uterine lining – Endometrial receptivity assay 

Consult with your fertility team the option for the next IVF cycle

The most common step that our fertility experts would recommend after a failed IVF is to proceed to another IVF cycle. Before considering this option, our fertility experts would discuss with you if any adjustments should be done, or some technological enhancement can be added to your IVF cycle. 

Before your next IVF cycle, several adjustments can be done. The first one can be the ovarian stimulation protocol. If your cycle has been canceled due to inappropriate ovarian stimulation protocol, then this adjustment would be inevitable. If the problem that caused the IVF failure was not related to the ovarian stimulation protocol, then probably the fertility team would recommend proceeding with the initial protocol. In this case, some upgrades of your IVF cycle might be a proper solution.

Assisting reproductive technologies are constantly being upgraded, and new are developed, so the IVF success chances are increased. 

On the list of upgrades that euroCARE IVF can offer, you can find: 

  • Assisted hatching, Blastocyst transfer or Embryo glue for prevention of failed implantation 
  • IMSI instead of ICSI, as more accurate aid for fertilization
  • Sperm sorting chip for avoiding the risk of poor sperm quality 
  • Genetic screening for avoiding embryo related risks 

These additions to the IVF cycle can successfully overcome many risks that might occur in the later stages of the IVF procedure.
Besides the above mentioned additional measures, our fertility team might also suggest immunotherapy, to improve your body and mind condition.

Reduce the stress and reach for support

We might repeat this way too often, but the link between stress and failed pregnancy (also, IVF cycle) is a strong one! Accumulating stress in your body can disrupt your hormonal balance and can affect your chances of getting pregnant. 

Failed IVF can be a huge stress trigger! Usually, emotional support from the family is helpful. But, in some cases, it is not sufficient. We highly recommend that you join some IVF emotional support groups, and find a suitable therapist. 

Discussing this topic with a person who is not directly involved in your pregnancy journey might give you the chance to see things from another perspective and retrieve your optimism and power to go on!

EuroCARE team is here for you! 

Consult with our team and share your experience with us. We would patiently listen to your story and provide you with the most favorable and affordable option for you. 

The IVF success rates of euroCARE IVF are a strong indicator of our strong dedication to help couples improve their chances of getting pregnant, and help them get pregnant with a wide range of low-cost IVF treatmentsYou are only a step away from getting free consultations with one of the best IVF doctors in Cyprus!

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