One more IVF cycle

“I Just want to try one more IVF cycle” this is a phrase we hear so often from our patients. A lot of patients understandably want to continue with IVF because it feels like they are progressing towards a baby and it feels like the right thing to do. But ultimately, Claire and the team at Fertility Solutions don’t think that anyone should go through more than one failed IVF cycle without having further investigation.

If you do not get pregnant this requires investigation especially if the male partner has not been investigated beyond routine semen analysis. If IVF fails it is important to consider that it might be due to the male factor as much as the female.

We generally recommend in a situation where a cycle of IVF fails, is that a DNA fragmentation test is done to assess the quality of the sperm. If it is normal then it is usually ok to proceed with another IVF cycle. But if it is not normal and there are high levels of DNA fragmentation within the sperm, consider at that point going to see a Urologist specialising in male fertility. Often sperm with high levels of DNA fragmentation or individuals with an abnormal semen analysis can see huge improvements following the advice of a specialist urologist. This can ultimately result in successful IVF or even natural pregnancy.

We routinely carry out three tests in combination to give a full picture of the man’s fertility potential. These include semen analysis, sperm culture and DNA fragmentation. If all test results come back normal this is reassuring. Female fertility investigations are much more complex and invasive involving expensive and sometimes painful procedures.

For couples that are fortunate enough to be accepted onto a cycle of IVF with the NHS, assessment of the man’s fertility is in our opinion essential to improving the chances that the IVF is successful and ends with a pregnancy. This is especially important when one considers that a vast majority of patients will only be offered one funded IVF cycle by the NHS.

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The semen culture test and its importance to male fertility