Ioannis Koutoulakis, MD
Consultant Gynecologist & Clinical Director at Serum IVF, Serum IVF
Failed IVF Cycles
In order to conceive, either naturally or with assistance, three things are required; good quality oocytes (eggs); good quality sperm and an embryo “friendly” endometrial cavity. These all need to happen in conjunction, taking place at the same time, with Dr Koutoulakis stating that, in addition to these three elements, “a matter of luck” is also required, for human reproduction.There are, of course, many factors that play a role in achieving the optimum quality of eggs, sperm and uterine cavity; the immunological and hormonal health, of both parties, any chromosomal abnormalities and medical history, to name just a few. Fortunately, clinics can now run a whole range of tests, with screening taking place, in order to help provide answers and create a tailormade programme, for each couple, after many failed attempts. Following a cycle of IVF, Dr Koutoulakis advises that medical specialists are able to understand, with greater clarity, the condition of a woman’s eggs, by looking at the appearance of the oocytes retrieved, how many were collected and how they fertilised. This information can then be used to form a more detailed medical picture, around a woman’s fertility, and determine whether any different, or additional, protocols should be suggested, for future rounds of IVF.
As sperm carries the paternal DNA, which is used in the creation of an embryo, any problems, with the seminal fluid, will have a detrimental effect on the outcome of fertility treatments.Classic sperm tests provide medical teams with information including, the number; count, appearance; morphology, and how they move; motility. Additional sperm DNA fragmentation and oxidation tests can also offer further insights into a couple’s fertility. In cases of lower quality sperm, supplements and / or medication may be prescribed, as part of a sperm improvement protocol. If no progress is noted, then, once again, Dr Koutoulakis advises that using a donor may be presented as a viable alternative.
For some couples, unexplained fertility is, frustratingly, diagnosed, when nothing abnormal has been found, in either the male or female, following intensive fertility testing.From the clinic’s experience, Dr Koutoulakis explains that, when IVF failure is recurrent, and there is no confirmed reason, for the infertility, Serum IVF would then recommend treatment should proceed using donor sperm. This has shown to have a positive pregnancy outcome, for clients undergoing treatment within the clinic. Once a full, comprehensive, fertility investigation has been undertaken, doctors can then work, with patients, in order to design a specific, and unique, treatment plan for each individual, be that medication, surgery or the use of donor gametes, in the hope of a successful cycle of IVF, and a healthy pregnancy to follow.