What Is Recurrent IVF Failure?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the common methods used for couples who struggle to conceive naturally. In some cases, couples experience more than one failed IVF attempt and this is called recurrent IVF failure. Recurrent IVF failure is defined as when a woman has experienced multiple failed IVF treatment cycles using good quality embryos. The reason behind unsuccessful attempts is due to various factors, but preimplantation genetic testing may help.

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The possible causes

There are a variety of reasons for multiple failed attempts of IVF. Some maternal factors include stress, smoking, advanced maternal age, and increased body mass index. Before proceeding with the medical procedure, the doctor will check for any female reproductive anomalies. The doctor may also perform sperm analysis and preimplantation genetic testing.

What is preimplantation genetic testing?

When IVF treatment cycles fail, the healthcare provider may advise trying preimplantation genetic testing. Preimplantation genetic testing is a test done on embryos prior to transferring the embryos into the uterus. The healthcare provider will examine the embryos during IVF prior to transfer. The genetic test helps to ensure the status of chromosomes, thus preventing any failed IVF attempts or pregnancy loss.

How does the procedure works?

First, the eggs are taken and fertilized in the laboratory. After fertilization, the healthcare provider will obtain cells via a procedure known as assisted hatching. Assisted hatching is a procedure that helps the embryo to release from the outer layer by forming small holes. The obtained cells are then sent to the laboratory for testing and analysis. The healthcare provider will provide details on the entire procedure of preimplantation genetic testing.

Types of preimplantation genetic testing

To get a better explanation for failed IVF attempts, the healthcare specialist may use a specific type of test. Currently, there are 3 types of preimplantation genetic testing. Preimplantation genetic screening for abnormal chromosome number (PGT-A) is used to know if there are a correct number of chromosomes. Preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic disease (PGT-M) is used to determine if any parent has a genetic mutation. Preimplantation genetic testing structural rearrangement (PGT-SR) analyzes if a carrier has any chromosomal structural rearrangement.

When these tests are done?

Each test is performed based on the patient’s medical history. For recurrent IVF failure, multiple miscarriages, advanced maternal age, previous pregnancy with aneuploidy, and unexplained infertility, PGT-A is performed. PGT-M is performed for couples who are possible carriers of a disease such as sickle cell anemia. PGT-SR evaluates possible disorders in carriers such as translocations. The fertility specialist will know the best test to perform based on the patient’s case.

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