What to expect in an IVF Cycle?


What to Expect

It’s important to have a good appreciation of what to expect when you undertake a fresh IVF cycle. Not every IVF cycle is successful and it can be particularly physically and emotionally draining, undertaking series of injections, appointments and scans to reach the point of an embryo transfer.

Not every egg that’s collected results in a top quality embryo and therefore understanding the steps that happen during the cycle and where things can go right or wrong is important when managing your expectations going forwards.

Managing Expectations

Let’s take a scenario, for example, whether you have male factor issues or egg ovarian reserve issues, or perhaps advanced maternal age. There’s no better predictor than actually undertaking the IVF cycle itself. Many patients will have a more optimistic outlook, and some patients may be more pessimistic depending on what the issues may be.

But doing IVF for the first time, removes that uncertainty and you learn an awful lot from collecting eggs and creating embryos in the lab with the sperm that’s been produced. There’s no doubt that along the way of creating embryos on that path, there will be a drop-off rate at different points. For example, as I’ve said, not every egg results in an embryo, not every egg is mature, and not every mature egg will fertilise. Not every fertilised egg, sadly, will then cleave and divide in the cellular stage and reach a cleavage stage embryo. And then over the next three, three days in culture, not every cleavage stage embryo can reach blastocyst. So there are many hurdles which the embryos need to pass through to reach the point at which they can be transferred back into the womb.

As a result of maternal age and increasing age, not every egg that’s released has normal chromosomes, and therefore, the chance abnormality in the chromosomes that are forming within the cells of the embryo are very real and translate to success or failure. So when you reach blastocyst and have an embryo transferred, it’s quite possible that that embryo may not be chromosomally normal.

A chromosomally normal embryo may not always implant so understanding that there are hurdles along the way is absolutely important to understanding your expectations going forwards in an IVF cycle.

So undertaking IVF for the first time is fraught with nervousness and uncertainty, and that applies to every patient doing fertility treatments for the first time. But of course, the outcomes of success can occur, and if you achieve blastocyst and reach transfer, then the chance for normal chromosomal embryo implanting could lead to an ongoing pregnancy.

So, whilst there are challenges in an IVF treatment cycle, which you need to understand, there’s also the possibility of hope and success.