How long should you wait for another IVF cycle after an unsuccessful one? An expert answers
With rising infertility problems, many couples experience difficulties with natural conception. In these circumstances, certain assisted reproductive methods are advised to infertile couples depending on the cause of the infertility. One such procedure is IVF-ICSI (In-Vitro Fertilization—Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). It is a process wherein a woman’s egg gets fertilised by a sperm “in vitro,” which means outside the womb, in order to create the embryo, which is subsequently transferred into the uterus.
However, couples planning for an IVF procedure should bear in mind that it does not guarantee 100 percent results. While many women conceive on their first attempt, some may require multiple cycles. Multiple attempts at IVF do increase chances of conception. However, there are certain things to keep in mind in terms of:
- Reasons for failure
- Role of advanced technology like genetic testing or ERA
- Considering third party options like donor eggs or sperm
- The time gap that needs to be maintained between two IVF cycles
What are the reasons for a failed IVF cycle?
There are multiple reasons why an IVF cycle may not result in a successful pregnancy, which include:
- Advanced maternal age
- Poor egg or sperm quality
- Poor quality of the embryo
- Poor ovarian response to stimulation medications (especially true for women with advanced age, a lower ovarian reserve, or endometriosis)
- Chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo
- Uterine factors like the presence of uterine polyps, a thin endometrial lining, etc
- Embryo Implantation issues
One needs to discuss in depth with their fertility expert the reason and the plan for the subsequent IVF cycle.
How long should you wait for another IVF cycle?
Your gynecologist or fertility expert will provide you with the best advice regarding when to plan your next IVF after a previously failed one, depending on your body type and various other situational factors.
A study published in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s journal Fertility and Sterility states that there is no substantial difference between two IVF cycles, irrespective of whether the time gap is one month or a few months. This essentially means that couples planning for the next cycle can go ahead with the same after one menstrual cycle or after 2-3 cycles, depending on their convenience.
Also read: 7 misconceptions about infertility and IVF debunked
However, you can give your body some time to recover both emotionally and physically before trying for the next one, so as to improve the success rate of your next IVF cycle.
A failed IVF cycle can naturally set off a lot of disappointment for couples and hesitancy regarding the next cycle. While an IVF cycle can be overwhelming, it is still recommended to get in touch with your doctor to analyse what underlying condition is preventing the procedure from succeeding. So these problems could be rectified before the commencement of the next IVF cycle.
For many of these problems, medical solutions are available, the implementation of which would result in a better success rate with regards to IVF.
What is a pre-implantation genetic embryo transfer?
A pre-implantation genetic embryo transfer screening can be undertaken for females who are over the age of 37 or have experienced multiple IVF failures or miscarriages in the past. This screening would help your doctor choose the genetically healthy and best possible embryos for transfer, which would increase the chances of conception and significantly lower the chances of a miscarriage.
Also read: IVF or IUI: Which one to choose for a fertility treatment?
Similarly, women with recurrent failed implantation despite a good quality embryo may benefit from advanced technology like the ERA (Endometrial Receptivity Assay).
A failed IVF cycle is naturally emotionally and physically draining for couples. During the gap between your cycles, it is best to remain constantly in touch with your doctor and ask the right questions to learn about the procedure. It is also important to keep in mind that a failed IVF cycle does not mean that the next one will fail too. There are so many instances wherein the couples have enjoyed healthy pregnancy after the second or third attempt.