Expert Talk – How to reduce the risk of IVF Failure?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most advanced technique to treat infertility in couples. It is a safe, efficient, and accessible reproductive treatment. Due to clinical advancements, IVF has an exceeding success rate of 50% which is only witnessing growth. But at times, IVF treatment might fail. Facing a failure is always disheartening and frustrating. This does not mean couples cannot try again.

Causes of IVF Failure

If a couple has faced IVF failure or is skeptical about it, they must learn about some of the causes of IVF failure.

Poor oocyte / egg quality

Egg quality declines as the women enters her late 30s, with a sharp decline occurring after 38 years of age. Women are born with all the eggs that they will ever have unlike men who are able to make new sperms every day. Egg quality refers mainly to the genetic make up of the egg. With age there is breakdown of genetic material or DNA of the egg. Thus, aging women will have higher number of genetically abnormal eggs. This will thus lead to a higher rate of implantation failure and miscarriages.

Embryo Quality

Embryo’s quality is most important factor for ensuring successful implantation. Genetically abnormal embryo is naturally discarded leading to a failure or miscarriage. However, advanced genetic testing on embryos can detect abnormalities and help in improved embryo selection leading to a higher rate of implantation.

Low Sperm Quality

Poor semen parameters result in lower rates of embryo formation. With the help of advanced techniques like ICSI, men with low semen parameters can father a child. Genetic testing can also be done on these embryos to ensure higher implantation rates.

Health and lifestyle factors

A healthy lifestyle of both the parents is the key for a successful pregnancy. If either of the parent is consuming alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs, it might have a negative impact on treatment. In addition, underlying health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and unhealthy body weight can also hamper the success rate of IVF.

Factors contributing to a successful IVF treatment

Good habits lead to good results. There are few tips on how to increase the chances of conceiving through IVF.

There is no diet medically proven as “fertility diet”. Taking a balanced diet is essential to ensure one is taking all vital nutrients to safely carry a pregnancy. Balanced diet means proper proportion of calories, macro and micronutrients. Processed food, foods with high sugar content should ideally be avoided. Food with antioxidants like tomatoes, nuts should be increased in diet.

Maintaining optimal body mass index and exercising regularly is important for higher success rate of the treatment. Excess body weight/obesity (BMI>35) or being underweight (BMI<19) can lower the chances of IVF success. When the BMI is high, even small weight loss can improve fertility and pregnancy health.

Do not stress! Reducing stress when undergoing an IVF cycle can be difficult. Practicing yoga and meditation regularly can revitalize you and prepare your mind for a healthy pregnancy.

Addictions are bad for health. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs can help to keep up the health of parents as well as the child. Addictions can affect the quality, quantity, morphology and motility of sperms. Therefore, it is better to keep them away. Addictions can also lead to developmental anomalies in the baby.

Supplements like vitamin D, CoQ10 and DHEA have been shown by some studies to improve IVF success rate.

Ensure that the mother is getting optimal sleep of 7-8 hours. A good night sleep triggers natural restorative process that are essential for a healthy pregnancy.

Patience and persistence are the key. At times couples might require more than one cycle of IVF to achieve an embryo for transfer. If the first time wasn’t successful, the doctor will adjust medications to ensure better results in the subsequent one. Do not blame yourself for failure. Letting it go can help you endure the journey. Anxiety, uncertainty, sadness are elements throughout the procedure, but a healthy body can help overcome these.

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