Help - failed fertilisation on IVF an... - Fertility Network UK

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Help - failed fertilisation on IVF and ICSI


Hi ladies,

I have now had 3 cycles with failed fertilisation: 2 were IVF and the last one was ICSI with AOA. Each time, there were only 2 mature eggs retrieved due to very low AMH.

* In the first IVF cycle, the eggs degenerated.

* In the second one, one egg out of 2 fertilised but abnormally (4 pro nucleus, probably several sperm entered at the same time).

* In the ICSI cycle, the eggs were mature and healthy but neither of them fertilised.

My partner sperm is good quality on all metrics.

I was on the short protocol (“cetrotide”) for all but I managed to create embryos with that protocol before.

My clinic cannot explain why fertilisation stopped working and why there was no success on ICSI with good sperm. Did anyone have a similar experience or any idea of why it failed? What to do differently next time?

I take all the possible supplements (dhea,q10, melatonin, folic acid, cit D, etc) already. My partner sperm had perfect parameters for all cycles.

We know it can work as we created embryos with IVF before the lockdown with the same protocol (same dosage of meds).

The only difference I had is that I was taking prednisolone before the lockdown but I don’t think that helps fertilisation?

Can you share any advice/top or ideas?

Has anyone been through total fertilisation failure with ICSI?

N.B: Please don’t suggest donor eggs.


22 Replies

Hello lovely, I’ve been through a similar experience. Out of 5 rounds, only 4 eggs were retrieved, only one ever made it to day 3, it was low grade but we transferred anyway, it didn’t work. Like yours, my hubby’s sperm was absolutely fine, described as excellent by the consultant. I arranged two meetings with the head embryologist which I found really helpful. They are the ones observing the whole process & I needed to hear the detail of exactly what was happening with our sperm & eggs. She was Brillant & explained all the detail that the consultant avoided. I have low AMH, so my egg numbers are low. At the first meeting, after our first failed cycle using short protocol, she explained my one egg had thickened zone pelluicuda, a sign of poor quality which prevents sperm to penetrate so we moved to ICSI. I didn’t have any success again until the 5th cycle. Four follicles produced 3 eggs using long protocol. One mature & 2 immature. At our next meeting, the embryologist explained that our mature egg failed to fertilise with ICSI, no explanation for this, other than bad luck. One of the immature eggs, matured overnight & fertilised. However, at the first stage of division, known as cleave, it started to go wrong & fragmentation occurred. Another sign of poor quality. She explained when fragmentation happens this early on, at the very first step of division, it is not good news & unlikely to go on to be a viable embryo. Like you I took so many supplements, including DHEA as suggested by the consultant and under the guidance of a nutritionally trained professional.... I’m sure I must have rattled! I also did acupuncture & all of this might have helped a little as there were some minor improvements over time. Hard to know if this was due to supplements or different protocols. It is heart breaking & the whole experience destroyed me mentally & emotionally. There are two costs to fertility treatment, our mental health & financial cost. Our bodies are surprisingly resilient & can deal with a hell of a lot. It’s more about finding the balance between how much you can cope with mentally & how much money you have for achieving your dream. For me throwing money at less than a 5% chance of success seemed pointless so we went with alternative options. Mainly because emotionally/mentally I was suffering & I just wanted to be pregnant as soon as I could. We are all different & there are ladies who have gone on to have success with their own eggs with low AMH. Only you can decide where that balance point is for you. I just want to tell you I know the pain but never give up. Achieving your dream the way you choose is worth the pain & heartache. Big hugs Xx

jengi in reply to jengi

Sorry Lily, I just spotted the ps on your post so I’ve edited my response accordingly! Hope I didn’t upset or offend you. Xx

Lilly12255 in reply to jengi

Don’t worry, you could not have known!

Hi Lilly,

I saw a massive difference after taking supplements, I went from 4 eggs to 30 eggs in an egg collection basically. You might want to look at the exact supplement brands which you take (this makes a huge difference) and dosages. I can give you the contact of my fertility nutritionist, she also recommended other supplements which are not on your list e.g. PQQ.

Lilly12255 in reply to Dogpark

The brand I am using is life extension. Which brand are yours?

Dogpark in reply to Lilly12255

So many brands!

Lilly12255 in reply to Dogpark

Can you send me the list of what you took please?

leo1980 in reply to Dogpark

Hi lilly12255

Please share your list with me too. Thank you

leo1980 in reply to Dogpark

Dog park. Please share your list - thank you

Lilly12255 in reply to Dogpark

Hi Dogpark, what brand are you using for the PQQ please?

Dogpark in reply to Lilly12255

Apologies for the confusion, I thought you were asking about the brands from all my supplements. My PQQ is from Life Extension indeed, I used to take 4 a day!

I didn’t have total fertilisation failure but I did have very low fertilisation rates - if ICSI is supposed to give a fertilisation rate of 90% then mine was less than 30% (14 eggs per cycle). They Also had high fragmentation and abnormal cell division and low quality on day 3

For me the only thing which made a difference was changing to natural modified IVF - personally in your situation and with such low numbers of eggs anyway I’d try a cycle of natural IVF and see what quality of egg your body would produce anyway without all the drugs? For me less drugs meant much higher quality. Changing to natural modified increased my fertilisation rate to 100% and top quality embryos

We also didn’t want to go down the donor egg route x

Dogpark in reply to Ivfgotadream

A friend of mine also had great results with natural IVF, she went from no egg to 3 blastocysts.

Hi there, sorry to hear this. Have you ever been put on long protocol?

My first cycle on short, only 1 fertilised out of 10 eggs, didnt make it to transfer.

2nd cycle on short, after research on supplements, 3 fertilised out of 10. (3 day transfer bfn) supplements I took..

Pregnaplan by cytoplan, vit d, ubiquinol.

New clinic, 1st time on long protocol with AOA. I had 22 eggs which I couldn't believe, 21 were mature. 9 fertilised and we have 3 blastocysts.

The only thing I could think is maybe a change from short to long? X

Could you please send me the meds and doses used for the long protocol? Xx

Buserelin for down regulation. Then 375iu gonal f for 8 days then 300 gonal f with 75iu menopur for 2 days then they reduced it significantly 150iu total as was risk of ohss as I had so many follicles. Even with low amh. I had egg collection on day 12 x

Hey, so sorry to hear about this. I’ve had a similar experience in that on my 2nd round they collected 19 eggs, used ICSI and only 1 fertilized abnormally and had to be destroyed. From the research I did protocol has an impact on egg quality so is worth looking at. I used the same protocol for the 2nd cycle as my first when I got 3 Day 5 blastocysts but they were poor quality (2 failed to implant and the 3rd didn’t survive the thaw). I had natural modified but then moved onto long protocol and have had a much better response. Have a look into the best protocol for you based on your circumstances and ask lots of questions!! Good luck xx

How was it working with the modified natural ivf? Is that the protocol you used when icsi failed? X

Yes that’s the protocol we used when it failed and the 3 embryos from the first round were no good (also natural modified). I know friends who’ve used it and have their babies as a result but others it’s not worked for. I’m not sure if there is a way of knowing if it’ll work or not so unfortunately I think you just need to try different things xx

Could you please let me know the meds and doses used for the long protocol? Xx

Hi, of course. I was on 0.5ml Buserelin and Menopur 300iu but they did reduce that towards the end due to my response. Hope that helps? x

Hi Lilly12255,

Just read your thread. Something similar happened to me (today). Where did you land? Did you get to the bottom of it? Thank you

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