Going through in vitro fertilization can be difficult. Especially when you have a cycle that didn’t work out the way you had hoped. Some will say they had a, “failed IVF cycle” or an “IVF failure” but when it comes to infertility, what often is this “failure”, it’s not yours and is not a reflection of your efforts or who you are as a person. This is why when friends or family, though well-intentioned, tell you to “relax” or “just adopt” when you tell them you are trying to conceive with the help of IVF. They may be missing the medical issue that is being addressed such as blocked fallopian tubes, low-sperm count or a condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome that can impact your trying to conceive efforts.
The same goes for when you have an IVF failure. There is sometimes a medical explanation. In some cases, when you’ve had a failed IVF cycle, it may be due to a concern with the embryo or implantation failure.
What is implantation failure?
Whether you’re trying to conceive “the old-fashioned way” or with the help of fertility treatment, the hope is that any embryo created will attach itself to the endometrium lining (the uterus) where it will remain and grow for the next months to become your healthy and happy baby. When you go through IVF, the embryo is transferred specifically with this goal in mind. If you have had two or more cycles that were considered IVF failures and the embryos were known to be high quality, your doctor may consider the possibility that implantation of the embryo is making becoming pregnant difficult. In this case you might benefit from an ERA Test. ERA stands for Endometrial Receptivity Analysis and it’s a genetic test that takes a sample of your endometrial lining to determine which day would be the best day to transfer an embryo during an IVF cycle. According to Dr. Carlos Simon, taking into consideration the timing between the development of an embryo and the status of the endometrial lining can be key in achieving a pregnancy.
How do you know if you have quality embryos?
If you have gone through several failed IVF cycles and are trying to determine if the reason you did not achieve a pregnancy is due to implantation failure, the answer may lie with the quality of your embryos. If in your previous cycles, you have done Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT-A, formerly known as PGS), you and your doctor will have only transferred embryos that you knew were chromosomally normal embryos. This is because PGT-A tests for the correct number of chromosomes for successful fertility treatment. This is how you know that if the embryos you’ve been transferring are viable, ERA might be a test to consider and explore with your doctor.
If you have not yet looked into PGT-A testing, this may be another option to discuss with your doctor, especially if you’ve ever experienced a pregnancy loss (regardless if you achieved this pregnancy through treatment or naturally). Pre-implantation Genetic Testing can help increase the chances of having a healthy baby and decrease your chances of a miscarriage.
When you look up the word “failure”, the actual definition is “lack of success” but it doesn’t say all hope is lost or that you never will have a successful outcome. Whether you’ve had IVF failure in your past or not – with the right test, the proper diagnosis there may be hope for a pregnancy in your future.