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Most Common Reasons Behind IVF Failure

Are you looking to boost your chances of a successful IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)? With the ReceptivaDx test, one can quickly determine whether an underlying condition like endometriosis could affect the success of your procedure. IVF failure can be draining, both emotionally and financially.

If there’s a high likelihood the process will fail, you need to know why. Here are common reasons why IVF may fail to deliver promised results:

1.    Embryo Implantation Failure

One of the most common causes of failed IVFs is embryo implantation failure. An embryo may fail to properly attach to the walls of the uterine lining because of incompatibility. Sometimes the embryo is incapable of implanting because of a physical abnormality. Pelvic infections can also make the uterus  unstable, making it impossible to implant a fertilized embryo. Other reasons for failed implantation include the presence of polyps,  a uterine infection, or thin endometrial lining. If ones’ endometrial lining is too thin to support implantation, the embryo won’t attach.

 Endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus, can also cause a physical abnormality and be a  prevalent cause of infertility. You can take the ReceptivaDx test to check for overexpressed BCL-6 protein, which may indicate that you have endometriosis. Implantation failure may also occur if progesterone and estrogen levels are not in sync with the normal embryo development phase. 

Women undergoing IVF usually go through multiple cycles to increase the likelihood of one successful implantation. Most of the embryos created will die within the first few days. The surviving embryos are transferred to the uterus, but there’s no guarantee they’ll implant or live. Fertility doctors and embryologists don’t have a fail-safe way to guarantee successful implantation but they can recommend various changes to boost your chances.

2.    Aging and Ovarian Response

The quality and quantity of one’s eggs decreases with age, so the older a woman gets, the fewer chances one will have of becoming pregnant. This is why it’s important to uncover conditions such as endometriosis early in your IVF journey.Since endometriosis can remain asymptomatic for many years, older women with the condition may assume their infertility stems from something else. One can avoid such assumptions by taking a ReceptivaDx test to rule out endometriosis.

Conditions like endometriosis can block the egg from traveling down the fallopian tube. Such blockages can make  IVF impossible because the doctor cannot harvest enough eggs to create embryos. The abnormal endometrial tissues may also break down and cause bleeding and scarring/adhesions. Older eggs also have a lower chance of successful implantation. Eggs from women under 35 have a 32% chance of implantation compared to 1.9% for those above 40.

A woman’s body may not respond to the fertility medications offered to trigger multiple egg production. Even if one produces the eggs, the fertility doctor may not be able to harvest them safely if a woman has endometriosis. A woman needs enough eggs to create more embryos for screening. Without the eggs, donors are needed. ReceptivaDx can help one diagnose possible endometriosis to treat it before starting IVF. Resolving these issues will improve ovarian response and implantation.

3.    Egg, Sperm, & Embryo Abnormalities

A successful IVF requires a healthy egg and sperm cell to create a healthy embryo. Eggs are complex structures, vulnerable to damage that can render them non-viable. As the oocyte ages, its spindle apparatus becomes weak and prone to breakage. The breakage can cause abnormal chromosome distribution. Eggs are also susceptible to damage from free radicals, reactive oxygen species, and metabolism products. Damaged eggs cannot produce a viable embryo.

Sperm cells are just as complex as eggs, although abnormal sperm is a less common issue in most IVF failures. A sperm cell must be motile to propel itself to the egg, achieve penetration  and create fertilization. If the sperm cell has chromosomal abnormalities, it’ll likely result in failed fertilization.. Fertility doctors can inspect and select the best sperm and egg to prevent IVF failure from chromosomal abnormalities. They can also test an embryo for  chromosomal abnormalities using Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) testing.

Embryo selection can also result in failed implantation and development. The embryologist can observe the cell stage, embryo grade, and rate of cell division to choose healthy embryos for IVF. Some abnormalities are hard to notice even with the latest technology. If the embryo has hidden abnormalities, it may fail to implant properly. Fertility clinics will examine embryo development around the clock to pick the best for IVF transfer.

Preventing IVF Failure

IVF failure can stem from many other reasons, including genetics, underlying medical conditions, and lifestyle factors. Before starting an IVF cycle, a fertility doctor recommends best practices and preparations. A woman will need to quit smoking, eat healthy, and treat underlying health issues. The goal is to give a woman the best chance of successful treatment by addressing factors associated with failure.

If you have unexplained infertility, taking the ReceptivaDx test can help you find the underlying cause or rule out inflammatory issues as a cause. A positive result indicates overexpressed BCL6 protein, which is highly associated with  endometriosis or other inflammatory conditions. Further diagnosis can help you resolve other potential  other issues so your body is fully prepared for IVF.. In some cases, you may not need IVF once you fix the underlying condition causing your infertility. 

Bruce Lessey, M.D., Ph.D. – Scientific Advisor
Lessey’s Corner

The ReceptivaDxTM Test was developed by Cicero Diagnostics in conjunction with Pathology Consultants, Inc. of Greenville, SC. Pathology Consultants, Inc. is a laboratory certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). As with other laboratory-developed tests, this testing service has not been cleared or approved by the US FDA or any other federal regulatory agencies. Data have not been submitted to or evaluated by Federal regulatory agencies and the test is not for sale as an In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) in the US or the EU.


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