After IVF failure, patients have options and may be able to still conceive. People who experience failed IVF can try another cycle or treatment but will need to schedule a follow-up meeting with their fertility doctor. The specialist may help identify the causes of the failure and what to do next. Here are some of the things to expect at a follow-up appointment after a failed treatment:
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A standard consultation occurs during and after an IVF cycle treatment. If the cycle doesn’t result in conception, the meeting can help provide insight into the cause and next steps. Patients will speak to a specialist concerning what occurred, their future options, and immediate requirements like rest. The fertility doctor can also recommend moving forward with another cycle once the body is ready. Here are some of the popular questions IVF failure patients can ask their treatment specialist:
- What may have caused the treatment to fail?
- When is it possible to have another cycle?
- What changes or remains the same in the next cycle?
- Are there lifestyle changes that can improve success with the next cycle?
- Does the next cycle require additional tests?
1. Explaining What Caused the Failure
The IVF specialist may break down what they think happened and how best to prevent it from recurring. Follow-up discussions explore how to improve the chances of conceiving with the next IVF cycle or other treatments like frozen embryo transfer. This consultation is a great way to help identify possible infertility causes.
If the doctor doesn’t identify a clear cause that can be avoided in the next cycle, they may recommend getting a BCL6 protein test. High levels of the BCL6 protein are linked with endometriosis, which is the leading cause of unexplained infertility and poor IVF results. A quick test for the protein can help IVF specialists determine whether you need special endometriosis diagnosis and treatment.
2. Identifying What To Do Next
After an IVF treatment failure, patients can take time to grieve and seek out mental and emotional support. The follow-up appointment is the place to discuss everything from the recommended amount of rest to safe workouts. IVF specialists can also help patients navigate the emotional effects through counselors. Leading IVF clinics have counselors to prepare patients for the mental and emotional toll of the treatment.
Immediately starting another cycle is possible but not recommended because the body may not be ready for another treatment. The IVF specialist will determine the optimal rest period and recommend daily activities, medication, and therapies. Additional tests and treatments may be performed depending on the revealed causes of failure. The goal is to determine if the patient is ready for another IVF cycle or treatment.
Subsequent IVF Cycle Plans
The follow-up meeting after IVF treatment failure may involve planning the second cycle. Since the causes of failure vary from patient to patient, plans for subsequent cycles are personalized. Patients can get an honest estimate from their IVF doctor concerning the chances of success with the second try. A high-quality program may result in first-cycle success, but women may conceive on their second, third, or fourth cycles. Here are some of the general plans IVF specialists have for subsequent cycles:
- Protocol modification for patients who demonstrated difficulties with ovarian stimulation and low volume of eggs
- Program alteration for failures caused by significant egg or embryo quality issues stemming from egg and sperm defects
- Donor sperm, eggs, or embryos for patients who have had multiple failed IVF cycles.
It is likely that the average woman will need to do at least two full transfers before becoming pregnant. The IVF doctor may learn from the first failed cycle and make adjustments to maximize success in the second. Success depends on the quality of the sperm, egg, and embryo. The mother will need to be adequately prepared and ready for implantation. IVF specialists use follow-up meetings to discuss what’s required for the next cycle. This may involve changing a few things or starting a new program.
IVF Failure and What To Do Next
IVF failure can occur to anyone, even with the best quality sperm, egg, or embryo. The embryo may fail to implant or attach poorly, resulting in a miscarriage. A failed IVF can be difficult, considering the mental, emotional, physical, and financial involvements. Working with a reputable IVF clinic or expert can help you prepare for treatment. Experienced specialists also help with managing a failed attempt and subsequent IVF cycles.