There are a host of reasons why IVF may not work. NOW-fertility Founder Professor Luciano Nardo shares his expertise about why assisted conception treatment doesn’t always result in pregnancy:
There are a number of factors why IVF may not be successful. For example, we know that women under the age of 35 may have a better chance of becoming pregnant than somebody aged 37. Generally speaking, the chances of IVF success decline with advancing female chronological age. As a result, I would strongly recommend women over 35 looking to have a baby should consider conception support sooner rather than later.
However, age isn’t the only determining factor when it comes to success. We need to consider ovarian reserve and reducing ovarian function, which can be assessed by a blood test and ultrasound scan. And we need to talk about male fertility too. Is the sperm healthy, and does it have any DNA damage? So discussing statistics around the age of the mother is just one small piece of the puzzle.
I think the statistics around IVF can be quite depressing; we know that IVF is successful in one third of cases. However, when embarking on treatment, you need to remember: you are not a statistic. You are an individual case, with individual lifestyles and your own health background.
There are a few main reasons why doctors are unsure why your IVF treatment may not be successful: Because there aren’t the tools or tests available to look into your case, or because the couple isn’t willing to investigate their overall health. These scenarios bounce around my head every day. Sometimes I see couples saying they have been told they have unexplained infertility, but they haven’t been investigated fully. They may have just had a semen analysis and an ultrasound scan, but may have never been tested for thyroid disease, immune problems, uterine abnormalities, polycystic ovaries or diabetes, all health conditions which can impact your fertility.
Some couples may have investigated their health before. But the tests I can conduct today are so much more advanced than those I would have conducted five years ago, and in five years’ time, we will know more than we do today. This is why I suggest you can’t have unexplained fertility if you haven’t had all the investigative tests to provide a definitive answer.
IVF may fail because it may not be what you need to get pregnant. We see that a percentage of couples or women who fail to conceive with IVF may have an underlying problem that is not actually superseded by IVF. The problem remains, whether they try to conceive naturally or via IVF. However, if the proportion of people trying to achieve a pregnancy through IVF were fully investigated for all related health conditions, they may achieve pregnancy in a shorter period of time.