There may be a misconception among men and women seeking fertility help that all IVF cycles are complete and successful, but that is not the case. There are several reasons why an IVF cycle cannot be completed – often referred to as a failed IVF cycle. There are several reasons an IVF cycle could be cancelled or considered a failed attempt.
If not enough follicles are produced prior to egg retrieval, the current IVF cycle is cancelled.
Egg retrieval or harvest is crucial to the success of an IVF cycle. If no eggs are produced or egg quality is lower than expected, the IVF cycle is cancelled.
After eggs are retrieved, they are fertilized with sperm in a lab setting. If fertilization does not occur, embryos will not form and the embryo transfer cannot be completed.
If embryos do develop and the fertility doctor transfers the embryos successfully, implantation must occur for the embryos to develop. If implantation does not occur, the IVF cycle is not successful.
What Happens After a Failed IVF Cycle?
One of the more common causes of a failed IVF cycle is underproduction of follicles. If the ultrasound shows too few follicles have been produced the cycle is often cancelled then and there. The doctor will look at the ovarian stimulation used in the current cycle and make changes for the next cycle that could improve follicle production.
The term failed IVF cycle can be heartbreaking, but just because the cycle failed does not mean your chances of pregnancy have disappeared. It often takes multiple cycles to achieve pregnancy, so brush off, stand tall and talk with your fertility doctor about the IVF plan for future cycle attempts. If your doctor doesn’t have a dedicated plan to improve the chances of a successful IVF cycle, get a second or third opinion.