What to do when IVF fails

Sadly, it is common for IVF to fail, and patients go through both emotional and financial turmoil. Whilst there are many reasons why IVF fails it does lead to the question – what to do when IVF fails?

Live birth rates following IVF treatment remain disappointingly low despite the 40 years that have passed since IVF was first used. The low birth rates are documented but the reasons behind why and what to do when IVF fails are much less well reported.

50% of all cases where IVF fails are related to male factor infertility. Despite this statistic we see a many patients who have sadly had failed IVF treatment but no investigation into the male partner prior to commencing their IVF treatment.

Why does male factor infertility lead to IVF failure?

If there is an issue with the male partner’s fertility it can lead to IVF failure because the IVF or ICSI treatment cycle does not improve or change the sperm quality, it simply pairs the egg and sperm in a process called fertilisation and this is not the only definitive process that is needed to create a pregnancy that has the potential to end in a live birth. If the male factor is diagnosed and the cause identified it is possible to treat this and subsequently improve the chances of natural conception or IVF success if that is needed because your improve the sperm quality.

So what to do when IVF fails?

If you have already been through one or more rounds of IVF and they have, unfortunately, been unsuccessful we urge you to see a male fertility specialist and before this to have a semen analysis and DNA fragmentation test to assess the quality of the male partner’s sperm. It is important to have both tests as a semen analysis may come back as normal but this only shows that there is a “normal” number of sperm in the ejaculate, it doesn’t assess the quality of the sperm. Whilst it is important to have a good number of sperm in the ejaculate it is vitally important that this sperm is of good quality, this is where a DNA fragmentation test comes in – this will assess the sperm at a genetic level.

We understand that going through any fertility treatment or investigations are daunting and can feel very overwhelming. We are here to help you navigate that journey and to take the mystery and confusion away by discussing your reports with you in language that is easy to understand and digest by removing complex medical jargon and giving you the chance to ask questions and fully understand your fertility journey. We will help you to construct a treatment pathway that is right for you and help you get the best outcome possible.

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