There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than an in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure. Most couples and individuals who pursue IVF have already spent years trying to get pregnant. For many, IVF felt like their last hope. But an IVF failure -- even multiple IVF failures -- doesn't have to spell doom for your fertility plans. Only about 25% of IVF attempts work, which means you have a roughly 1 in 4 chance of a pregnancy each time. Individual factors, as well as the quality of medical care you receive, can increase or decrease your odds of success.
Let the Center of Reproductive Medicine in Houston, Texas help you chart a course forward.
Fertility medicine is as much an art as it is as a science. And while your doctor might be able to measure hormone levels, tell you why you're not getting pregnant, and assess the quality of egg and sperm, it's impossible to predict whether you will get pregnant in any given cycle. In many ways, a single pregnancy is a matter of luck. Even the youngest and most healthy couples only have about a 1 in 4 chance of getting pregnant each time they try; this is roughly the same as IVF odds.
Many IVF failures occur not because you fail to get pregnant, but because the pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Some evidence suggests that IVF-induced pregnancies are slightly more likely to end in miscarriage. No one knows why this is. It could be that the individual fertility factors that made pregnancy difficult also make it more difficult for the body to sustain a pregnancy.
The in-vitro fertilization process is not an easy procedure to perform. Your provider must know how to carefully extract gametes, how to safely grow the embryo, how to implant the embryo to maximize the chances of growth, and how to address other health issues. For example, if you have a hormonal imbalance, your doctor must carefully assess the quantities of each hormone you need to sustain the pregnancy. And if your doctor opts to administer drugs to increase egg production prior to IVF, he or she must balance the benefits of producing multiple eggs with the risks of overstimulating your follicles.
The provider you choose matters. You need and deserve a provider who takes IVF seriously. After all, you're investing your hard-earned money, not to mention the intangible investment of emotional labor, time, and effort.