Why Do IVFs Fail?
Dr. Albert Peters
Sher Lehigh Valley, PA

At the Sher office in Lehigh Valley, PA, we have many patients wondering why IVFs fail. There are many reasons why IVF can fail. Each patient/couple must be assessed individually to determine this. Much work has gone into getting a couple to IVF in the first place. Nevertheless, when failure occurs, the entire record – labs, tests and protocol, eggs, sperm and embryos – must be critically reviewed. Much can be learned from the type of stimulation that occurred including egg number and estradiol levels, as well as number of days of stimulation. The number and maturity of the eggs much be assessed. This can help the physician to make positive changes to the stimulation protocol which in turn, might give better quality eggs. If failure occurs, consideration should be given to performing genetic testing on the embryos in subsequent cycles. This can be done through a test on the embryos prior to transfer called comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). In this way, only genetically normal embryos would be transferred to the uterus.

Another possible reason for IVF failure could be implantation problems. These could include physiological and/or immunologic implantation issues. The maternal immune system can be tested by blood work that would include antiphospholipid antibodies (APA) and natural killer (NK) cell assays. Both of these problems can be treated with relatively benign medications.

It is important to sit with your doctor after a failed IVF to review all of the possibilities of failure. Our team always does this with our patients in our New Jersey or Lehigh Valley clinics. Only in this way, can the couple move forward with a better hope for success in future attempts.