When a couple invests their money and emotions in an IVF treatment cycle and it ends in a devastating failure, it’s like the world coming to an end for them. They might have engaged the best specialist, taken all the precautions, and done everything under the sky to make it a success, but some things are not destined to be. It is wise to move on as a failed IVF cycle is definitely not the end of the road.

The quest for the joy of parenthood can still be continued by getting a few answers and making a fresh attempt, because one failed cycle, in no way, means that a couple cannot have a baby. The key consideration here is to know what the optimal waiting period between two consecutive IVF cycles should be, in case of failure of the last one.

Is a certain gap of time too little or too much to influence the success rate of the subsequent cycle? Before we find the answer to this question, there are certain other things we need to explore. Let’s know more about the failed IVF cycle and the way ahead!

What could have led to the failure of an IVF cycle?

The first step after a failed IVF cycle is to pinpoint the exact cause of the same. The issue here is to fix the responsibility, whether it has happened due to the negligence of the fertility clinic lack of patient compliance, or any other reason. The idea is to resolve the issue so that the next cycle can be made a successful one. As soon as the couple has managed to come out of the trauma, they need to visit the clinic for an appraisal of the situation.

In the post-IVF failure consultation session, the patient needs to question the specialist about the possible reasons for the disaster. The reason could pertain to any procedure of the IVF cycle, from ovarian stimulation to egg retrieval, embryo development, its transfer, or implantation. There could be some issues with the number or quality of eggs/embryos or factors like sperm quality/quantity, maternal age, lack of uterine receptivity, and other physical complications in the woman, which could have led to the failure of the IVF cycle.

The answer to this question will actually be the deciding factor whether the couple would be willing to attempt the next IVF cycle with the same clinic or not. They would expect their infertility clinic to provide them with honest answers regarding compliance with the procedure protocol and proper documentation as well as reports and pictures of the embryos.

On the other hand, if the failure has been due to some medical conditions with the patient, the specialist can suggest treatment options before proceeding with the second attempt.

If the issues related to a failed attempt are properly addressed, it definitely improves the chances of a successful one the next time around.

What can be done to improve the success rate of a subsequent attempt at IVF?

The basic aim, once the cause of a failed IVF cycle is identified, is to rectify the same. Primarily, the patient should look for another, better IVF clinic if there has been a compromise with the treatment quality and procedural skills provided by the present one. In case, the specialists have not been able to provide justified answers for the failure of the treatment, it is a definite reason to doubt their integrity.

On the other hand, if any specific problem with the patient has been established as the culprit, efforts need to be made to set things right. For instance, if the maternal age and egg/sperm quality and/or quantity have been the reason for IVF failure, the option of donor eggs/sperm may be considered for the next attempt. Similarly, treatment for chromosomal and genetic problems with the embryo can be tackled by making pre-implantation genetic embryo screening a part of the IVF cycle the next time.

A responsible clinic is one that will help the couple with an honest appraisal of the situation and also a guided opinion regarding the expected success rate of the subsequent IVF attempts. A failed IVF attempt needs to be seen as a lesson rather than a misfortune so that the patient and doctor can join hands for better results the next time.

What is the right time to attempt the next time after a failed cycle?

Now comes, the biggest question which might baffle a couple after they have seen the disaster the first time- how long should they wait to give it a second try? Logically speaking, once the cause of IVF failure is diagnosed, they should start to set things right and go for a second attempt only when it has been done. But what if there is no such condition that needs to be treated, as in case the IVF has failed due to clinical incompetence?

Statistically speaking, there is not a considerable difference between the success rate of repeat cycles that have been carried out consecutively and those after a gap of a few months. Studies have proved that the time gap between failed and subsequent IVF cycles is insignificant as far as the success rate is concerned.

As such, it is totally up to the patient to decide how long they should wait to try again after the initial IVF failure, though they should wait long enough to have healed physically and emotionally from the trauma. This is the reason why they would be advised to wait a bit before a subsequent attempt, though they can take a call as soon as they want to. In the meantime, they should adopt a healthy and stress-free lifestyle to prepare themselves for the joyful journey that awaits them.

At Gaudium IVF, patients can get a free second opinion from the reputed fertility/IVF specialist, Dr Manika Khanna, and get help with complicated cases such as those with a history of previous IVF failure.