Fertility Network UK
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Anyone know what causes empty follicles please?

Our first round of ICSI resulted in only a handful of eggs and 1 Embryo transfer that sadly ended in BFN.

Our second cycle, we had our protocol changed slightly. Everything was looking so good and every scan was positive. 8+ follicles last scan and we put this down to months of acupuncture, eating well and doing everything I could. The clinic said they also knew my body better.

Egg collection day - and I woke from anaesthetic to hear that they had collected no eggs and were very sorry for us. No explanation, except "not every follicle contains an egg". We are waiting for a follow up consultation, but I fear that will be to tell me once again to go for donor eggs, and the "not every follicle contains an egg".

Has anyone else heard of this, or experienced this? We had eggs (although not good quality) last time, but to get nothing has been a huge blow to us and I can't figure out why. If anyone can shed any light or advise on this we would be so greatful. I can't tell you how sad we are. We felt so positive this time:( Many thanks

5 Replies

I can't offer and words of advice but only my sympathy I'm so sorry ur having such a terriable time I hope u get some answers from either ur doctors or these lovely ladies stay positive

Sending hugs 😘 xx

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Hope your okay, This is what i fear most about my ivf the fact that im going to get empty follicles, don't quote me on it but i did hear its something to do with the quality of the ovaries, sometimes if the ovary has been damaged with cysts or scaring it can stop the ovary preforming in the correct way, this scares me as most of my endo is around my ovaries, stay positive next time you might find all follicles are full, it happens alot ive heard alot of women say that their follicles are empty, have you got any problems with your ovaries, u got endo ? xxxx

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I was told they estimate 70% of follicles contain eggs, which worked out on round 1 (13 eggs out of 20 follicles) only 2 viable embryos, good quality but BFN. On round 2 we only got 2 eggs out of 8 follicles, 2 not good quality embryos and BFN. The consultant wasn't able to give an explanation, he had expected to get 5 or 6 eggs. Because of my age and 2 failed cycles of ICSI, plus 2 miscarriages from natural conception we're using donor eggs for our third round. Whilst I'd much prefer that we were using my eggs this will give us a much better chance of getting a positive result. My AMH levels are good for my age.

Wait to see what your consultant says but it's likely they'll say they don't know. It seems that there's so much they don't know about fertility. It seems such a lottery.


I've experienced this too, for my third round doctor has put me on dhea - I hope it brings the ratio of eggs to follicles up. I've been trying to find explanations but there are mixed opinions, nothing concrete. There are some schools of thoughts that it's better to do a low dos/mini ivf and work with the body naturally. Perhaps ask your doctor - I feel for you as I know how disappointing and upsetting it is when you've done everything that you can. Big hugs x

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Hello, I am sorry to hear that they were unable to collect any eggs during your treatment. You must be very disappointed having come so far.

I had around 20 follicles more or less evenly split on either side. When I woke from EC I was told they had got 2 eggs from the right ovary and 11 from the left. When I queried why it was so low from the right ovary compared to the left I was told they changed the method of collecting the eggs due to the poor response from the right. They didn't seem able to say whether the follicles in the right ovary were empty or whether it was the change in technique which made the difference when it came to the left ovary (and I was still pretty groggy after EC!). Apparently there is a technique for collecting eggs that works in over 99% of women and the remaining 1% need this other method.

I hope your appointment goes well and you get some answers. I just wanted to share my experience as it might be worth asking about this.

Good luck x


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