When IVF Treatment Ends Early

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex medical procedure that helps couples who struggle with infertility conceive a child. IVF involves multiple steps, and the success rate can vary depending on the patient’s age, underlying health conditions, and specific infertility diagnosis. Sometimes, the cycle can fail even when all the proper steps are taken. Other times, doctors may cancel the cycle before the embryo is even transferred. Understanding the different reasons why a cycle may fail or be canceled can help fertility patients manage expectations.


Understanding failed IVF cycles

When a woman doesn’t become pregnant after the embryo transfer, a failed cycle is said to have occurred. Couples may experience multiple failed IVF cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy. Women over 35 are more likely to experience failed IVF cycles due to the natural decline in fertility that occurs with age. Another possible reason for a failed IVF cycle is poor embryo quality. In some cases, the embryos may not have developed properly, which can affect the ability to implant in the uterus. Other factors that can contribute to failed IVF cycles include hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, and uterine abnormalities.

When IVF is stopped early

A canceled IVF cycle occurs when the fertility treatment is stopped before the embryo transfer stage. Cancellation can happen for different reasons. Poor response to ovarian stimulation, where the ovaries don’t produce enough eggs for the procedure, is an example. Other reasons for a canceled IVF cycle can include the development of cysts on the ovaries or uterine abnormalities, making an embryo transfer difficult.

Remaining hopeful

A canceled IVF cycle doesn’t necessarily mean that the treatment has failed. In fact, canceling a cycle can sometimes be a strategic decision to increase the chances of success in future cycles. For example, if the woman’s ovaries don’t respond well to the medications used during ovarian stimulation, the doctor may cancel the cycle to adjust the treatment plan and try again next month.

Exploring alternative options

Sometimes, a doctor may recommend using donor eggs or sperm if the couple has difficulty producing viable embryos. Donor eggs or sperm can increase the chances of success, especially for women who have experienced multiple failed or canceled IVF cycles. Alternative options, such as adoption or surrogacy, can also help fulfill the dream of starting a family.

Managing expectations

Failed and canceled IVF cycles can be a difficult experience for couples struggling with infertility. Understanding the difference between the 2 outcomes can help couples make informed decisions and prepare for future treatments. Couples with questions or concerns about IVF shouldn’t hesitate to talk to a doctor and seek support from friends and family.

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