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Every couple who undergoes IVF hopes that the treatment will be successful at the first cycle. When this does not happen, and you are not pregnant, you will of course be disappointed. What should you do when your first IVF cycle failed? Is there anything you and your reproductive endocrinologist should be looking at during this time? What are the causes of failed IVF?

First of all, although many fertility clinics are quick to say that excellent IVF programs have good success rates for first cycles, not getting pregnant on your first cycle of IVF is not all that unusual, and success rates will often be the same for a second cycle. It is completely normal to be sad, so give yourself permission to grieve. But don't think that one failed IVF cycle means you will never have a baby! After a failed cycle, the team at your fertility program and you will probably review the reasons you did not get pregnant. These can vary from issues with ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, various issues related to embryo quality and development, or the transfer procedure itself.

In the vast majority of cases, experts on the topic estimate, the failure to get pregnant is due to issues related to the development of the embryo, rather than a problem with the uterus. This can include chromosomal problems and a variety of other genetic problems which are not possible to detect in a lab setting. The chances of success for future cycles depends on a multitude of factors including the quality of the egg and sperm used, maternal age and health, and any problems with the uterus. One failed cycle is not necessarily cause for concern, although it might just provide you with an opportunity to reevaluate things. That includes your fertility clinic, doctor, or program. Sometimes, IVF failures can in part be caused by healthcare providers.

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