Factors Affecting the Success of IVF Treatment Cycle

IVF treatment is not a completely foolproof method of treating infertile couples. There are many instances where the transferred embryos fail to implant, even though they are high quality. No-one can predict which cycle will fail and which will succeed. Some patients blame the doctor for the treatment failure and choose to go to a different one for the next cycle.

A few others believe the mother's uterus is not able to nurture a child. Others get fed up because there are no answers for the failure and choose to just stop the treatment process. All these speculations do not have a concrete base, and so lead to mistaken decisions.

The success of IVF depends primarily upon:

  • The implantation potential of the embryos prepared in the lab
  • The receptivity of the uterus

These are the two most important factors (among several others) that affect the chances of success. If things go perfectly, then a good quality embryo when transferred to a healthy would implant. But this does not happen every time.

There are several factors that may or may not come in the way. Sometimes even when the embryo is of good quality and the uterus is receptive, the embryo fails to implant. In these cases all the blame is put on one or the other reason that comes to mind. Let us name that factor as X factor.

When the embryo gets "rejected"

The X factor may include one or many reasons which caused an IVF treatment cycle to fail. It's fashionable to blame the immune system for this "rejection". After all, if the body can reject a kidney, then it seems quite logical that the uterus will be able to "reject" the embryo. In reality, the uterus is an immunologically privileged site, which can accept embryos for anyone. This is why immune therapy using intravenous immunoglobulin is a waste of time to time and money, and immunosuppression therapy.

The embryo "exorcism"

In other cases, the patient claims that the embryo is cursed, because of which she is not able to conceive. It is not uncommon for IVF specialists come across such patients who have such orthodox beliefs. There also have been cases where the doctor is asked to exorcise the embryo before the procedure.

The stress factor

Sometimes the blame is put on excessive stress. Many doctors will also blame the patient for being too "stressed out" and will blame the high stress levels for the IVF failure! This is a way of blaming the victim. It is not the stress which causes infertility, it is the infertility which causes the stress!

Read more-How to tackle the infertility blues?
Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.