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What to ask after failed IVF

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Finding out that your IVF cycle has failed can be devastating. You might also feel confused as to why this has happened, and at that point, it’s difficult to know where to turn.

There are several steps you can take after a failed IVF cycle, and some questions you should definitely be asking. In this post, we discuss those and what the next step on your fertility journey should be:

Question one: Why did my IVF cycle fail?

Once you’ve had confirmation that you have suffered a failed IVF cycle, you should arrange an appointment with your fertility consultant.

As your consultant has a detailed history of your health, and your full fertility journey, they will be best placed to give you advice on why your treatment was unsuccessful. This meeting is crucial to both your mental well-being and your future fertility treatments.

Having the opportunity to get answers to the questions you have about your failed IVF and advice on your next steps, can help you feel supported during this difficult time.

Question two: What assessments should we undertake?

As part of your consultation, you should ask your fertility expert which, if any, tests will be carried out to determine infertility or genetic disorders. Age plays a huge part in fertility, and so it’s important that these investigations are carried out as early as possible.

The tests should be carried out on both you and your partner, looking at each reproductive system. Explorations may include a sperm DNA fragmentation test, or immunology tests to determine whether a genetic condition caused your failed IVF cycle. You may also be required to take an ovarian reserve test.

It’s important to remember that whatever the outcome of these tests, your consultant will advise you on what the results mean for your fertility journey and what options are currently available to you.

Question three: What alternatives are there?

There are other fertility therapies which can increase your chances of IVF success. For example, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a technique used in conjunction with conventional IVF.  As part of the IVF process, the eggs retrieved from the woman’s ovaries are mixed with the sperm sample and left to fertilise naturally. However, as part of ICSI, the sperm is injected directly into the egg, making the chances of fertilisation much higher.

Alongside ICSI, you can also consider IMSI. Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection is the same process as ICSI, however the sperm are specifically chosen after being assessed with a high-powered microscope. This is done with the aim of improving the chances of pregnancy.

As part of your appointment with your fertility consultant, and following the results of your infertility tests, these therapies should be discussed in relation to your personal situation. 

Question four: Should we speak to anyone else?

Alongside speaking to your fertility consultant, it’s crucial that you seek advice from an expert counsellor. You’re not alone in facing a failed IVF cycle and undertaking infertility counselling can help you process the feelings that you and your family are experiencing. This will allow you to start feeling positive about your next steps. 

Question five: What can I do to reduce risks of this happening again?

Despite your misfortune, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Consider making lifestyle changes and reducing things that can have a direct effect on your fertility. Things such as smoking, drinking, and indulging in a poor diet should be avoided to give you the best chance of falling pregnant.

Hopefully this post has given you some insight into the type of questions you should be asking after failed IVF. For expert advice, always speak to your fertility consultant, or discuss your case with a counsellor.

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