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Fertility Network UK
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Failed cycle...looking for advice

Hello,

I am new here...and thank you to anyone who reads this.

I found out last Monday that all my embryos did not make it to blastocyst - not even one. I am devastated. The doctor told me this is uncommon, has anyone else experienced this? They were progressing well on Day 3...and then stopped.

My husband has retrograde ejaculation so we will never conceive naturally. So this is our only hope. Of course I will try again, but I am petrified. What are the chances of the same thing happening, that absolutely none of them will even make it?

Not to have one single embryo to transfer or freeze is so humiliating and heartbreaking.

I am 35, I don't smoke, I have quit social drinking, I eat well...I just don't understand. This is also putting so much stress on my relationship.

Just wondered if anyone has advice about what to do after finding out no embryos made it to even transfer?

Thanks so much.

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Hi,

Welcome on this site.

I’m sorry this happened to you. I haven’t this happened to me but there might be others with advices just wanted to cheer you up that despite first failure your doctors will take different approach next time which will work for you hopefully. First attempt is often trail one, with me as an example as I needed to be on stronger progesterone supports such as injections rather only pessaries-second attempt gave me my beautiful son!

Your doctors might schedule you next time to 3day transfer (they say that embryo sometimes do better in mums so it’s not that essential to go to 5dt) or will split your embryos to secure some for 3day transfer and allow others to develop to day 5(not sure how they making decisions here and if possible).

Don’t lose hope, the fact that your eggs fertilised this is already very good starting point. You will get there!

All the best hun xxx

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Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. I really hope my doctor knows what he is doing...! At my clinic they refuse to do Day 3 transfer because they said it is a much higher chance of miscarriage. I will keep trying....:( xx

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Oh really? I know at least one lady, my friend who only attempted with day 3and she has twins now...

I personally don’t believe that day 3transfers are exposed to higher chances of miscarriage, I had one mmc with excellent day 5transfer.

Are you self funding the treatments? See what your doctor would say on follow up and what can be changed but if you paying I would’ve look for those clinics who does both transfers, this might give you more choices with transfer then...

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I am so sorry to hear about your mmc. I am self-funding and it is costing a fortune...thanks so much for your advice. I am new on here and it is so comforting to know there are other people going through the same thing. It can feel very lonely. Most men just don't get it, including my partner :(

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I know what you mean. I’m sure you will find lots of supports on this site and useful information is very good place to be. Apparently, you not alone, many of us struggle on different levels but what is common we all would like become a parent at some point. I wish your journey will end soon successfully with this and you can move on with your life😀

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Thank you xxxx

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Hi, I can really empathise with your post, and just wanted to say that you are certainly not alone in not making it to blastocyst. I have now had three rounds of ICSI, and each time have failed to get to blastocyst, meaning that we have had nothing to freeze. We have been lucky enough to have had two 3 day transfers, although admittedly I am still waiting for that positive test, but there are many stories on here of successful 3 day transfers. I really would challenge their view about three day transfers or possibly explore other clinics, who might consider it. I know how devastating it feels not to make it transfer after all the heartache and effort each cycle takes, but don't give up hope. Wishing you all the best of luck on your journey x

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Thank you so much for this response. I was starting to think I was the only person in the world that couldn't even freeze an embryo :(

I am so sorry you had to go through this too, and I really wish you so much luck with this round. I will definitely ask my doctor about Day 3.

Just wondering - did the doctor give any reason at all why they didn't make it to blastocyst? Is it always egg quality, or can it be sperm too? I just don't understand. I thought my partner had the issue, not me :(

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The frustrating thing is that our consultant can't give us an explanation, she simply says it only takes one, which drives me mad! Our main issue is male factor (my husband has almost 100% immotile sperm), although I do have a low AMH level too and endometriosis which was removed last year, both of which probably don't help.

Nevertheless our embryologist told us that it is the sperm that drives the development of the embryo from day 3 to 5, and so any sperm quality issue is likely to affect its development in this period, which seems to tie in with what you are being told about your issue being male factor? x

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I am so sorry. It drives me mad too. They tell me the same thing....infuriating. I wonder if you have ever talked about donor sperm? I talked to my husband about it, and he would consider it after we try again a few more times. It’s put a huge strain on the relationship, because I want this so much. He seems to just want me to be happy, he has no concept of infertility or any emotional bandwidth to recognise the issue. He is, however, willing to look at a donor so we might do that in a year.

Thanks so much for sharing the information about the sperm driving day 3 to 5. That would explain so much, and even though we are in this together; it quietly relieves me. As if I got a donor then at least I might have a chance.

Urgh. What a mess.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me. I am so, so sorry you have to go through this too x

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Thank you, tough isn't it? We were asked to consider donation, but at the time felt that we really wanted to explore having our own biological child first, although after three failed attempts, it seems like that won't be possible. Currently taking some time out to grieve for this loss and find 'us' again as it is easy to get lost in the process. Hopefully that will help us to discover what the best route for us will be. I wish you all the luck in world and every happiness. Stay strong x

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Please read this book: IT STARTS WITH THE EGG by Rebecca Fett. It is on Amazon

It will help you a lot, making you eggs better in quality, resulting in quality embryos.

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Thank you xx

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In out first cycle we had nothing to transfer, its is so devastating....didnt even know that could happen and we were totally unprepared! We got told by the embryologist that it was likely due to poor egg quality....my hubby has a very low sperm count so we are unlikely to conceive naturally. I would ask to speak to the embryologist at your clinic to gather their thoughts. I went onto have a couple of slightly better cycles (after taking DHEA) in which we got 2 early blastocysts from one and a 2BB for the other. We did however keep getting told it was likely egg quality (I was 38 with an AMH of 7.19). We went onto donor eggs and it turns out much to my relief but also annoyance that they were right as we got 6 amazingly graded blastocysts. Im not saying its the same for you but something to discuss with your clinic. Big hugs, know how hard this can be!xx

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Hi Cinderella, i have poor eggs quality too, exceptionally poor egg quality I guess seen as out of two cycles, totalling 16 eggs, none at all even fertilised. Looking at donor now. Everyone on here seems to have gone abroad for donor but when we spoke to some clinics at the fertility show in London a few weekends ago (about ivf with my own eggs), they all seemed more expensive when you take into account accommodation and flights etc..... What am I missing?! Your belp/advice would be hugely appreciated! X

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I think there are clinics that offer accommodation too when you're on fertility process abroad. It could be that the ones I came across actually was for surrogacy and not IVF really. You should look for countries cheaper than the UK... I mean where the living cost is much cheaper perhaps.... like Spain or Czech or Ukraine. I'm lined up for IVF and the NHS will cover for my initial round so I guess I wouldn't have to worry about reproductive tourism for another two years.... but if you find anything relevant on IVF abroad please keep me posted.

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Oh forgot to add... there are agencies for reproductive tourism too who might be of help. I don't have much idea about the reproductive segment but my neighbour from a couple of years back went to India for her Hip Transplant through some medical tourism and it was not only cheap so got some sponsor money as well. So just check if you can land up with some reproductive tourism expert for any of the countries in EU.

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Thanks ambk, that's interesting and I'll definitely look into it. Xxx

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Well when I researched I started off with the logistic side of things and where I would feel comfortable having treatment. Looked at Spain, Greece and Czech Rep. At the time Spain was probably working out almost the same cost as the UK. Eventually opted for Athens for cost and travel and there is the city and beach for things to do. We use Air B n B to keep the cost down which is great as there is loads of choice. I would say that its still cheaper and you get a break. However the down side if you do need to make sure you can get time off for treatment. DE is defo cheaper abroad than here, I dont have many clinics to choose from in Scotland but it was going to work out pretty expensive around the 10K+ mark plus frozen transfers and the clinic I chose it was €5500 plus frozen so as you can see considerably cheaper. As I said it depends where you travel to but so long as you do your research then it can be cheaper or the same. Give me a shout if I can help with anything, happy to even if its privately!xx

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That was definitely a helpful post... thanks. I mean I don't need it right away but then with the failures, I'm not sure if I'll still be on the same rough patch looking for ways to afford my treatment through self-financing without the coverage. Plus, it can help plenty of women who are looking for an alternative to excruciatingly burdensome assisted fertility costs. I think air BnB is pretty affordable no matter the destination or the reason for your travel. Also, if you don't mind me asking (since it's not relevant right now to me) what was the procedure to select donors? I mean do you get options or it's randomly selected by the clinic? I hope the clinic has their own donors or you had to go to egg bank personally?

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So the process is that the clinic ask you to complete a form with details from you & your partner...bloody type, height, hair colour, eye colour, weight, skin type etc. They ask for some pictures of you both and ask if there is anything specific else like education level. Then their midwife has a look through their donor database and finds the best match and you get their similar details back and you can decide form there. The donor is then put on egg stimulation programme and you partner provide sperm to fertilise the eggs so it's just like a fresh cycle...! Hope that helps.xx

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Sorry to hear about your failed attempt... it sometimes happens that the whole lot of embryos get arrested. Even though they initially seemed to have undergone the in-vitro fertilisation fine and developing well. A colleague (more of a friend from work) have had been through a similar state a couple of months back so I can give you some insight. Her's was egg quality through the primarily identified cause to meddle with her fertility.... so the embryologist straight away point down the incident at it. She was able to do the fresh 3day transfer though but the remaining got arrested. Sadly, the transferred embryo didn't make it either and it was a BFN. There's no guarantee really that it wouldn't happen but in most cases, it doesn't. My colleague was on medications to improve her egg quality further but the doc kind of said that if the next attempts fail too she'd probably have no choice but donor conception. So you see it could be totally irrelevant your fears and this might not even happen again.

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Hi!

Gosh how horrible for you- I can’t even imagine

But to add to the above often if there’s isn’t glaringly obvious problem in either partner clinic tend to completely overlooo any issues in the other partner. So just because the main issue is your husband it doesn’t mean you can’t do things to improve your chances.

Firstly hooefullymyour husband is supplementing well and exercising with a good diet. It can take 4-6 months for changes in a man to help with sperm.

But you can always improve egg quality with similar changes. dHEA, ubiquonol coq10 are some of the most common supplements to improve eggs (and Aleem with coq10) alongside other supplements.

The good news is only takes 3 months to have these changes take place in women as eggs develop quicker. As there is usually a 2 month delay between ivf cycles you might want to implement these changes as soon as possible and start again in 3 months. At the very least it will give you some peace of mind and eliminate any other factors.

The fact it is not developing from day 3-5 rather than not fertilising at all is a good sign that it might not be genetic.

Good luck x

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Thanks so much. I have just ordered a bunch of coq10 from Amazon and have been reading about harmful plastics....this might be a complete lifestyle shift!

My husband hates vegetables and doesn’t have a great diet, although he does exercise. It is hard to get him to do this stuff...feels like I am the one pushing all the time :(

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Brilliant - yes it can be very hard to make lifestyle changes. In some ways my husband is healthier than I am! But he also doesn’t like the idea of supplements etc

Men also find it difficult to confront male factor infertility - they just want to bury their head in the sand.

Maybe suggest that your recent results show that you could improve your chances by something fairly simple- and that you’re BoTh in this together.

It’s hard but if you both want it then you both have to be on board xx

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Thanks so much. I really hope it works in Athens - beautiful place! I am considering donor sperm if the next cycle fails then if that doesn’t work a donor egg. Can I ask if that was an easy decision? Did you find a donor that you felt represented you, or did it not matter? Xx

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Yes I really like spending time over there, hope it works too. The most important things to be were blood type, hair colour, height....some of the features etc that could represent mine....at the end of the day the baby could look nothing like me even if it was my eggs and take after my husband. I just posted this on someone elses post.....it helped me to get my head around some things. Good luck.xx

Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all pregnancies- including egg/sperm donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother’s body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child. The fetus will use her body’s protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them.

So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures.

So, although her husband’s aunt Sara or the donor’s grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby’s earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman’s “flesh and blood.” That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient’s body. That is why she is the child’s biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child.

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I absolutely love this. Thank you so, so much. That really gives me a lot of hope. Can I ask where you got the eggs from? I have found a great sperm bank in Denmark which seems very vast, they even offer sketches of what the donor looks like :)

Thanks again and I wish you the best of luck ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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My clinic in Athens actually pick the donors based on our photos and the stats we give them as in height, skin type, eye colour height etc. We had a fresh donor as opposed to an egg bank.xx

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Thank you :)

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Sorry to hear about your failed cycle 💝 it totally sucks. We’ve had 2 rounds, nothing to freeze and only 1 blastocyst. Like some other comments, I didn’t even know that could happen! 🤦‍♀️ We have experienced relationship stress too- keeping talking is helpful + counselling. All the best, big hugs xx 🤗

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Thanks so much, and very sorry to hear you had the same experience. It’s torture! X

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Just wondered - did your doctor give you any explanation? A few people have said Day 3 - Day 5 is driven by the sperm so that might be the issue....at least if I know the issue I can look at donors etc xx

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I’ve read that too about the sperm, in all my frantic “research” = google 😂 We had sperm DNA fragmentation test, results back “ok” which means that there’s nothing icsi can’t by pass. So for us it’s not sperm, it’s just terrible luck 😬🤷‍♀️ at a loss and that’s the worst really, the doctors don’t have an explanation for lots of people in the end I don’t think xx (am also 35, been trying for 4 years)

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I have literally been obsessing over Google. I found out at a work conference. My nurse emailed the results. I was physically sick. I just didn’t understand, and still don’t...that’s the worst part.

We are trying again next January, but petrified. It’s so much money and I am working full-time so it’s exhausting.

Are you trying again also? I just we all just have to keep positive? 💪🏼

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Ps. Just to add on the obsessing. I have stopped wearing nail polish, haven’t had a sip of alcohol in two months and have a “no plastic” sign on the door of our flat. I have lost the plot. 😂

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Same 🤪 Aldi and lidl do great glass food containers instead of plastic ones Xx

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Be careful with google! It’s a stink hole 😆 I try to now only research with my husband because he seems to be a bit calmer about things. I haven’t worn nail polish for 2 years 😝 sad, love the stuff but when you read about what’s in it I’d rather avoid it for now. Maybe talk to your doctors about sorry dna test? It’s another way of ruling things out, which is what this process seems to be. Like they said the first round is a test 🙄 We will try 3rd time before moving to DE I think. xxx

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I mean sperm dna test, not sorry test?!!!

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Hi Anna, just noticed this.....Ive seen a few different ladies that have been told a few different things sperm/egg at this stage but our clinic was sure it was the egg between day 3 and 5. The only thing I can offer is that we got 6 top quality 5 day blastocysts when we moved to DE with hubby's sperm. Its so hard to know when clinics are telling us all different things.xx

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Oh wow, I see....more confused than ever! 🤷‍♀️

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Have you asked the clinic their thoughts? Perhaps they can throw something into the mix?xx

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They said there are no definite conclusion as we just need to try again (which of course, at £7,000 they would say....) 😭🙄

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Oh right, well that's not very reassuring! Mind you in saying that the clinic told me it was just a theory and they couldnt prove it was my eggs. I see you're 35, what is your AMH like? Have you considered trying to do some improvements like ubiquinol & DHEA for the next go or asking the clinic if they have any thoughts on this? I know you said you stopped drinking etc already. Uuurrgghhhh so hard all of this!xx

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I have literally just ordered a bunch of uniquinol, not sure what DHEA is? I am going back to the doctor tomorrow morning to plan next steps, so I really hope he can shed more light on the situation....but not expecting anything 🙁

During the injections my endo. was 0.70cm thick. No idea if that is good or not? And my AMH is 5.87 - again, not sure what that really means....

Thanks so much for your advice xxxx

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AMH is the prediction for how you'll resond to meds and its connected to your ovarian reserve. Mine was around 7.19 and I was 38. DHEA is a supplement that you can take that is supposed to help with egg quality, my embryos did a bit better after 3 months of taking it - feel free to have a nosey at some of my old posts but I managed to get some 2 early blastocysts after taking it and a 2BB the next cycle. There is usually a fair bit of chatter about DHEA here regularly, Ive attached a link to a post for you to road. The hope is that your endometrium is over 7mm (0.7cm), preferable over 9mm for transfer.xx

healthunlocked.com/fertilit...

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Welcome!

I have had similar experiences and what I can tell you is that anything can happen with IVF. Things can turnaround or not in hours. I’ve also had very disappointing news. It’s so so tough. But it doesn’t mean that this will happen again. Were you on long or short protocol? I had very different results with both. I’ve also not heard of not doing day 3 transfer. I’ve had friends that have all had pregnancies with day 3. As not everyone’s embryos make it to day 5. Maybe something to think about. Or speak to other clinics about their views on this. I’m sure your consultant will look at varying your treatment if you decide to go again with hopefully more success for you both. Good luck x

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Right my love. Let’s sort you out

Firstly, what was your AMH? Secondary, have you heard of DHEA and CoQ10?

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❤️ thank you x

My AMH before my first IVF cycle was 5.87 ng/ML but I tested a week after egg collection and it was 2.57 ng/ML?! No idea why....

I have just started taking 400mg CoQ10 daily. I didn’t even know about it during my first cycle. The doctor said he prefers me to take Androgel instead of DHEA. Also, my womb lining during the injections was 10.8mm.

My TSH is 2.09 mainly because I started taking Euthyrox.

My husband did Tese on the day, but we will use frozen sperm next time. The doctor said his sperm is fine, but has a fragmentation rate of 42% - again, not really sure what all this means as I am waiting to see doctor again.

Any advice would be so appreciated xxxxx

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Ok great. The coQ10 really improves the quality of the eggs. I’ve not heard of Androgel but we took DHEA. My wife had an AMH of 6.1 and we managed to collect 12 eggs, with 6 making it to blast. I’m a firm believer in these vitamins. I’m convinced they really helped. Be on them for at least 3 months. Try and go organic, no diet drinks, no sugar. Cut everything back.

Try and remove white starchy foods out your diet.

How long have you been on CoQ10 lovely? It’s not an easy process, I know exactly how you feel. But I unfortunately you’re going to have to put in the work before going in for another egg collection xx

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I have only been on it for a week and egg collection is scheduled for end of February next year. I am normally very healthy, but I have been extra careful and now all our cleaning products are organic...would you know why my AMH would drop so suddenly after egg collection?

Thanks for your support x

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