IVF Implantation Failure: Why Does Vitro Fertilization Fail

By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor

Despite its success, there are some cases where IVF fails to help a woman conceive. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a technology that allows the fertilization of the egg and sperm to happen outside the female body. Then, the fertilized egg is transferred to the body and continues its natural growth.
If the first IVF fails, the cause of failure can be address in the second try to avoid the likelihood of the same occurrence.

What does IVF fail?

In many cases of failed IVF, there is more than one cause. The specialists will look at the pictures of the embryo and score the normal growth rate. When the causes are found, they will discuss with the family to have a plan of prevention. Some of the causes are unfixable (such as the maternal age) but the lab specialist will address the other fixable causes.

The most important variables involved for a successful IVF are a healthy egg, functioning sperm, and a capable uterus that can nurture the growth of a baby.

Egg abnormalities
Egg abnormalities are often caused when the cell divides and the chromosomes are not copied properly, leading to breakage that results in an abnormal distribution of chromosomes and therefore, abnormal embryo.  This happens more often as a woman ages.

Abnormal sperm
Despite the fact that abnormal sperms are less common than egg, when they do have an abnormality, the degree of chromosomal abnormalities is far greater. This results in unfit sperms that cannot fertilize an egg.

Embryo selection methods
The egg or embryo that get transferred into a woman’s body is selected by a specialist. They base on three criteria to choose the embryo:  cell stage, embryo grade, and the rate of cell division. However, it is hard to make a perfect choice for the best embryo. We can only base on lab studies and make an educated guess of the best embryo.

IVF lab factors
The lab where embryos are raised is a highly controlled environment. The lab specialists need to control the oxygen concentration, carbon dioxide concentration, humidity, pH, temperature, and light among many others tightly. A small change in any of these factors can lead to the death of the embryos.

What is the success rate with the second cycle of IVF?

After a failed IVF, the first thing to do is to review the previous process and learn what caused the failure. From these findings, many can have a successful second IVF. Factors affecting the success rate of IVF include:

−The female’s age
−Egg and sperm quality
−Egg and sperm quantity
−IVF procedure quality
−IVF lab quality
−The lab specialists’ skills
−Available equipment
−The cause of your infertility
−The condition of the uterus
−Embryo growth rates
−Genetic and chromosomal competence of the embryos

The success rate of the second IVF is only slightly lower compared to first IVF. But with good conditions, there is a chance of success. The doctors and specialists will take into these factors and the results collected from the first attempt to maximum the success rate of the second try.


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Review Date: May 5, 2017 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019

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