In vitro fertilization is a revolutionary assisted reproductive technology that has helped many couples conceive successfully. The road to a successful IVF may be challenging, depending on certain circumstances. Understanding the signs of IVF failure helps patients manage their expectations and be more informed. Here are seven signs of IVF failure:
Menstruating after an IVF may indicate IVF failure. When an embryo fails to implant, patients may experience similar symptoms to getting their period. Patients should see a gynecologist if they experience breast tenderness, nausea, abdominal cramping, vaginal bleeding, or lower back pain after an IVF.
Menstruation symptoms like vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping may indicate a miscarriage, so it is best to get a pregnancy test to be more certain. It also helps to check since signs like nausea and breast tenderness may also indicate a success.
2. Negative Pregnancy Test
After an embryo transfer, fertility doctors usually ask patients to wait a few weeks before testing for pregnancy. Patients can use an over-the-counter home pregnancy test, but a blood test at the hospital may be more accurate. Some pregnancy tests help determine the human chorionic gonadotrophin hormone (HCG) levels. HCG levels are usually elevated when a fertilized embryo implants on the uterine lining. If no HCG levels are detected, the test is negative. It might be worth waiting a few weeks after a pregnancy test to retake it to confirm the initial results.
3. Slow or No Embryo Development
Embryos must reach the blastocyst stage for successful implantation. During the IVF process, fertility doctors monitor the embryo’s development closely. Fertility doctors can tell whether or not the embryo is developing during a patient’s ultrasound a few weeks after embryo transfer. IVF has failed if embryo development does not occur or is slower than expected.
4. Early Miscarriage
Early miscarriages occur within the first trimester and are another sign of IVF failure. Structural issues like a thin uterine lining, uterine scars, and cervical insufficiency can also cause a miscarriage. Other causes of miscarriage after IVF include low progesterone levels, autoimmune disorders, endometriosis, and high-stress levels.
5. No Activity Detected on an Ultrasound
IVF has likely failed if an ultrasound detects no activity in the uterus. Lack of activity may happen when the fertilized egg fails to implant or there is no embryo development. In rare cases, patients have miscarriages, but the tissue does not exit the body and is discoverable during an ultrasound.
6. No Fertilization
In some cases, fertility doctors’ attempts to create embryos are unsuccessful when no fertilization occurs. Fertilization failure usually occurs due to sperm or egg quality issues. After assessing the cause of fertilization failure, fertility doctors may recommend a second attempt. Patients can opt for donor eggs or sperm in the case of sperm and egg quality issues.
7. Recurrent Implantation Failure
Fertility doctors may diagnose patients with recurrent implantation failure when there is no successful pregnancy after multiple embryo transfers. Uterine abnormalities and immune system issues can cause recurrent implantation failure. Patients may also experience recurrent implantation failure if they have unresolved implantation issues like uterine anomalies. Fertility doctors may recommend gene testing and endometrial receptivity tests to identify and resolve any problems hindering implantation before attempting another round of IVF.
What To Do After IVF Failure
With comprehensive tests like uterine inflammation, genetics, and immunologic tests, fertility doctors can help identify the causes of IVF failure and recommend treatment. Consider the options if various fertility transfers were unsuccessful and it’s recommended to seek mental health therapists with treatments. Schedule an appointment at a fertility testing center to determine the causes of a failed IVF.