Many couples view IVF as their last chance to have a baby. It's therefore understandable that when treatment fails, their hopes and dreams begin to fade.
In vitro fertilisation typically fails because of an issue with the implantation process. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to ascertain the exact nature of the problem. However, experts believe that over 90% of IVF failures are due the embryo failing to grow rather than any problems within the uterus.
The reasons for embryo growth problems, or embryonic arrest as it is medically known, are mainly genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. Once again, trying to identify a particular defect after the event, is almost impossible. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) can be used to help prevent such abnormalities from occurring in the embryos in the first place. Learn more about preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
However, failed IVF doesn't necessary mean the end of the road. There are still many other avenues to pursue. Many couples have experienced failed IVF only to then have a successful pregnancy through a different fertility technique.
If the fertility problem lies with your partner's sperm, you may want to consider ICSI (intra cytoplasmic sperm injection) where a singe sperm is injected directly into an egg under a microscope. This is proving increasingly successful as clinics gain greater expertise in the technique.
If your partner's sperm isn't suitable at all, sperm donation is perhaps your best option. And likewise, if your eggs are unlikely to lead to a successful pregnancy, an egg donor could be the answer. Thousands of couples each year give birth to healthy babies using this technique. Although, only half of the child's genes will be from you or your partner, you will experience a full pregnancy, and you will both be her legal parents.
However, perhaps the simplest response to failed IVF, is to try the treatment again. Many women take several cycles of IVF to fall pregnant. One or two failed cycles, doesn't necessarily mean it's not going to happen. Obviously, there will be a time where it becomes clear that IVF simply isn't working but until that point, don't give up on the treatment.
What does egg donation with IVF actually involve?