Second IVF Success

IVF often doesn't work out the first time around. Fertility clinics usually warn couples that it may take two, perhaps even three cycles of the fertility treatment before a pregnancy is conceived - and even then there are no guarantees.

This doesn't mean, however, that you should simply head straight into a second cycle. There are many things that can be learned from cycle one, which may help you to succeed with cycle two. You also have to make a decision about whether or not you want to continue working with the same IVF doctor or clinic.

Why Does IVF Fail?

There are a number of ways in which IVF can go wrong. In some cases, the patient's ovaries don't react to the ovulation-inducing drugs in the desired way, and not enough eggs are retrieved from the ovaries. Fewer eggs produce fewer embryos.

The fewer embryos there are, the less choice of strong embryos your doctor has when it comes to embryo transfer. If your eggs are poor quality, or your partner's sperm cells are poor quality, then you may also end up with embryos which aren't strong enough to implant and develop in the uterus.

Another reason why IVF fails is a problem with the implantation procedure. If your embryos appear to be good and strong before transfer but fail to implant, it could be that something was not quite right with the way in which the embryos were transferred. Alternatively, it may be that your clinic has some issues with its laboratory work, and embryos which were deemed to be strong were actually not so good after all.

Some Perspective

Somewhere in the region of 20 to 25% of women who go through one IVF cycle will get pregnant. So while it's important to keep an open mind about changing doctors or clinics, you also have to be realistic about the chances of success. On the other hand, remember that for the average couple, the chances of success are no lower or higher than they were in the first round.

Making Your Decision

So, when it comes to deciding to go for a second cycle, most reputable clinics will advise you to take a week or two to recover from cycle one, and collect your thoughts. You'll then have a consultation with the doctor who oversaw your first cycle. By this time, he or she should have had enough time to examine your treatment in depth, and come up with some ideas about why it didn't work and how things can be improved second time around.

He or she may suggest:

Changing your fertility drug regime in some way - to encourage your ovaries to respond better

Using donor sperm, eggs or embryos (but this would not usually be recommended after only one failed attempt)

Changing the dosage or type of drugs used to encourage the growth of your uterine lining prior to embryo transfer (you need the right thickness for implantation to take place)

Consider Alternatives

Remember that not all IVF clinics perform on an equal level. Some have higher success rates than others. Any clinic that's worth your time and money won't have a problem in providing you with its statistics.

It's your right to ask to see these and to compare them to the success rates in other clinics, before you make your choice.

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