Second round IVF worse than first - a... - Fertility Network UK

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Second round IVF worse than first - any idea why?


Hello all

Having a bit of an emotional breakdown today after a disappointing second round of IVF. I was wondering whether anyone else has had a second round be much worse than their first and whether there is any reason for this or it is just bad luck?

I had my first round of IVF in November (lucky to get 1 round on the NHS). Wasn't expecting a good result with low AMH and only 3 follicles on the progress scans. On Egg Collection day we ended up getting 4 eggs and we were surprised to have all 4 fertilise. In the end we had a transfer of one on day 5 (BFN) and another one frozen on day 6. I was naturally devastated when it didn't work but hopeful that with a few more rounds we'd get there so bought a 3 cycle package privately with the same clinic with the aim to bank a few embryos and go for a FET.

Started round two this month with same protocol and after 11 days of stims I had EC booked in for yesterday. Went into it feeling quietly hopeful since we had 4 follicles visible on the last scan. Woke-up to the news that only 2 eggs were collected. I started balling in the clinic. The embryologist called this morning to say that only 1 egg fertilised normally. It was such a shock to go from 4 eggs in November to 1 in January. I can't help feeling like a failure and there is something wrong with me. What could have changed in such a short time period to have such worse results. Is it just bad luck? Or were we just super lucky on our first round and the rest will be like this.

I'm not sure if there's much anyone can say to make me feel any better but would love to know if other people have such varying results between rounds too. Am paranoid I am just a failure and this won't work for me. Maybe I am just feeling a little 'woe is me' today and need to sort myself out. The only glimmer of good news I have is that after concentrated effort we have got my partners morphology from 3% last September to 6% yesterday. I guess we should celebrate the small wins on this journey!

Sending lots of good vibes to everyone else going through a crap time


58 Replies

I can’t relate to the round comparisons as I have only done one, but you are most definitely allowed to have a ‘woe is me’ moan here! I have had a few of those in the last few days 😂 Did your consultant give you any thoughts about it at your WTF or not had it yet? Any changes in diet, stress, other environmental factors? X

Jane8412 in reply to Purpledoggy

Thanks. I guess it is better to let out these emotions than keep them bottled up! I'm sorry to read about your stressful time at the moment with your first round. Is today your OTD? I hope you are doing OK.We haven't had the WTF yet as there is still the one embryo in the lab. I guess we will have our review with the doc after it either stops growing or is transferred (keeping everything crossed but don't have high hopes). The only change in stress has been the stress of my first round of IVF not working. I wonder if that has had a negative impact on my body and I should leave more time between the next rounds? x

Purpledoggy in reply to Jane8412

Yes OTD today and negative as expected. No idea when my WTF will be but hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I can't advise on the optimum time between rounds but I believe there needs to be at least 50 days to let the ovaries recover and build up the follicles. This is a link to a talk done in partnership with this website on ovarian function and egg quality, and he explains how long it takes for follicles to grow. It is very informative :) xx

Hmm not sure it wants to link properly as it's youtube. I will try PMing you the link. xx

Jane8412 in reply to Purpledoggy

Thank you!Sorry about your BFN. I know how upsetting it is after going through this whole process. I hope you get your review soon! x

I'm sorry you're having a tough time.

I think 50% fertilisation is normal? That's what my Embryologist told me. I don't know about the differences between cycles but I hope someone can give you answers.

I was told that I have a good AMH for my age so I was slightly disappointed when we got 6 eggs but I kept thinking I only need one of them to work🤞

You are NOT a failure at all. Be kind to yourself and try to stay positive for your next collections. Wishing you lots of luck. Xxx

Thank you. That is very kind of you. I will try to stay positive.You are right about 50% fertilisation. I think what shocked me most was having empty follicles. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind that they wouldn't get eggs from all the follicles. IVF always has a way of surprising us!How are you recovering from your first round? Have you made any decisions about your next steps? xx

That's a good point about empty follicles - I had 2 more than they collected and not sure why.... Yes this journey is so difficult but I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end!

I'm good thank you. I found Christmas difficult but feeling much more like myself now and getting back into exercise after over indulging at Christmas oops!!

We would like to do our frozen transfer with last embryo as soon as possible but still waiting for review meeting - it's on Monday - 6 weeks later!! Hoping consultant is positive and we can get going again soon. We have just started building works to our house so it's abit chaotic here - but don't think there's a perfect time for IVF anyway!! Xx

Six weeks! That is such a long wait. But will have been good to give your body a break. I think I should do that before my next round. I hope your review on Monday goes well. You are right that there is never a perfect time for IVF. Might be nice to have the building works to distract you a bit.I was lucky to have my follow up meeting a week after my first round failed. Hopefully it is similar this time. Though I am not sure how much advice they will offer for this failed round.

Good luck for Monday! x

Yes I know!! I have mentioned it's far too long to wait on their satisfaction form. I know their policy is you can't start a FET until your 2nd period but I think the review should be a couple of weeks later... Hey ho!

And yes, distractions are good and it feels like something is moving forwards at least! Thank you xx

Good on you for telling them that. It is almost like they don't realise how emotionally fragile anyone on the IVF journey is! Waiting is so hard! x

Jane, I had exactly the same situation. Exactly. Same morphology results also. Only two eggs second cycle (1 embryo) after 6 eggs first (3 embryos but none made to blastocyst). For me they switched me to a long protocol to try and get more eggs but it totally backfired so I'm back to short for my third cycle.

I bawled in the clinic too. I looked so upset as they wheeled me back to my room my husband thought they had told me my ovaries had packed in and it was all over. For me it felt that way. It's raw emotion and we all have our hopes up even when we say we don't and we tell ourselves not to.

For me, I took some time. I felt panicked about timings as I'm 41 but I don't think that worry helped me. Did a bit of research and went on some more supplements to hopefully help egg quality. I also made some changes to help stress. Took a break over Christmas, three weeks off work, we switched clinics so we're not driving into London every other day. We're doing ICSI this time - although our fertilisation rates are normal, as I have lower egg numbers we're hoping we can improve the odds of more higher quality embryos.

But I'm aware the third cycle has no guarantee of being better. All I can do, all any of us can do, is just try and accept how we feel and give ourselves time to grieve and then make a plan.

Love and grace to you 💕

Wow- we have had a very similar situation. I am so sorry you had to go through that disappointment. I totally feel the raw emotions that you mention. I honestly could never have expected how emotionally draining this whole process would be. I think of myself as pretty pragmatic and I told myself that the chances of it working were low but I still got so upset at each disappointment in this journey. Only having a few follicles followed by even less eggs, I was devastated. I'm so sorry your second round was so disappointing. Taking a break sounds like it was a good idea for you. I want to jump on a plane and go sit on a beach somewhere for a week but obviously that is not going to happen. This whole experience is even more intense with nothing else for us to focus on. So over covid lockdown!

Switching clinics is exciting as they can offer you fresh ideas. I hope all goes well with the new clinic.

I really hope round 3 is more successful for us both. I will be thinking of you and following your journey. xx

I totally agree with Covid meaning it's hard for distractions. Our original intention was to take a lovely holiday between cycles. Instead I'm stuck at home having to listen to how busy all my friends are with their homeschooling issues and kids not settling and my husband and I are just home alone, bored and quiet - and it can be super hard.

I'll be thinking of you too. x

I had exactly this. My first round was ok, day 3 transfer and nothing to freeze, unfortunately it failed. My second round wasn’t great, very few eggs and no embryos made it to transfer. I had a change in medication which may have been to blame, but I think it can just sometimes happen like that.

I did another couple of rounds and got better results and now have a little boy. We had lots of really honest conversations with the clinic between rounds, be prepared to ask lots of questions.

Good luck with this round, it’s not over yet and it does only take one xxx

I am so happy to read you had success! I do need to keep the faith and keep going. I have already asked the doctor twice about why this second round was worse and she did say it just happens that way sometimes. Hopefully they can offer some suggestions when it comes to our review.

Thank you for your kind words xx

IVF is tough and I vividly remember going through that second round, like you we had just invested in a multi-cycle programme.

Hopefully your clinic will have some suggestions, they should learn from each round, it’s a bit like trial and error, they start with what works for most and then refine from there. Depending on the outcome this round, if they don’t suggest making changes to your next round then I would challenge them and ask what the plan is longer term.

Feel free to message me if you need or want someone to talk to ☺️ xx

Thank you. I have found it oddthat there were no changes to my protocol. Hopefully they'll be open to discussing changes in my next review!Appreciate you sharing your positive story. I just need to find some hope and keep going. It's not over yet! xx

This is so heartening to hear, Suzannah :-) Thanks for sharing...

☺️ xx

I had my first round of IVF which it failed. The doctor asked me to take for at least 3 months DHEA 75 mg and CQ10 400mg to produce better quality of eggs. Dont be afraid to ask about some supplements.

Jane8412 in reply to Sonisonix

Thanks. I have been on CoQ10 for a year but not DHEA yet. I did ask my doctor after the first failed round about taking it but they weren't keen. I think I'll ask again when we have the review for this round as I know my testosterone levels are low- so I should be OK to take DHEA.

BBHH1 in reply to Jane8412

DHEA is very helpful. Need to take at least 6 weeks before next cycle!

Hi Jane, sorry to hear about your cycle being disappointing. My first cycle (NHS) we got 18 eggs. Our second cycle (Private) got 6 eggs. Our 3rd cycle we got 14 eggs. My point is that each cycle is different and just because you had one bad one doesn't mean that the rest will be the same. It's likely not you that was the issue but more likely the protocol used. The NHS tend to use different drugs to private clinics so often the results are different when you move clinics. We changed protocols for our last cycle and it was more successful, and I've technically moved up an age bracket so don't worry - your clinic will likely tweak the stims for next cycle. And that is great news about the morphology - and you are absolutely right about celebrating the little wins - that's such an important part of this journey!! xx

Jane8412 in reply to Millbanks

Hi- thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like your rounds varied cycle to cycle too. I really hope that our future rounds are more like our first than our second. I think the reason I am so surprised from our round 2 result is that it is the exact same clinic and the same protocol. Same drug doses and exact same number of days stimming. Only change is that we had a double trigger this time rather than a single. Though I don't know how that would effect the number of eggs in the follicles. I wonder whether I would be better off ding natural modified IVF since I only got 2 eggs anyway however they seem keen to keep me on high stims. I hope your next FET brings you success! Are you planning to have one soon? x

Millbanks in reply to Jane8412

That is strange - but honestly I think it's a combination of the protocol and how your body responds that particular month. Sometimes I've had really good linings and other times they struggle to reach 7mm - there doesn't seem to be a pattern or reason...Yes there is a lot to be said for doing NMIVF - it is likely your eggs would be better quality too.

I'm having my baseline scan today for my next FET - really hoping this one works as I'm running out of steam with it all! I too have bawled in the clinic too many times.... xxx

Jane8412 in reply to Millbanks

I really hope it was just a bad month for my body and the next round is more successful. I asked them about Natural Modified but they weren't keen on it for me. I guess I can ask more questions in my review.Ahhh good luck for today! I really hope your scan goes well and this is the round for you. This journey is relentless but I pray that we all get there in the end. xx

Millbanks in reply to Jane8412

What I have learned is that this whole journey is so unpredictable - there is very little consistency across every single treatment / scan / transfer - which is some ways is tough and others reassuring! Really hope your next cycle goes well :)Thank you - fingers crossed xx

Jane8412 in reply to Millbanks

Thanks. That is so true. Wouldn't be so bad having things vary from round to round if it was cheap and we could do many rounds but when you have to pay a small fortune for every round and don't get anything to freeze it feels like such a failure.I will be keeping everything crossed for you 🤞

Millbanks in reply to Jane8412

I know! I always try to rationalize my BFNs by saying to myself that people don't get pregnant naturally all the time, sometimes it does take time... but you're absolutely right that if it wasn't so expensive and invasive each time it would be a lot easier! x

I found over 5 cycles in 18 months It’s very much Luck of the draw of how your specific hormones respond that particular month of egg collection? Did the clinic do 48 hourly blood tests to monitor hormone levels? Did they tweak your medication based on how you were responding? There are ways to “recover” a cycle mid way through but the clinic needs to be proactive in terms of scans and blood tests

Thank you. Both rounds I was on high stims. Gonal F and Menopur. They monitored my bloods but they never changed my dosage as already high and the follicles grew very quickly. I think I respond as well as expected to the drugs considering I usually only have 2-3 follicles on baseline scans. I think the shock was the empty follicles. I guess there is no way of forecasting that?

I’d maybe ask them what your E2 levels were as that’s usually an indicator of how many mature follicles you are growing? I’ve had cycles cancelled midway before because e2 levels were low and the clinic said it was a sign that the follicles would be no good If you are only going to grow 1-2 decent follicles I would also consider doing a natural IVF cycle and let your body decide which one it thinks is best without the high dose stims making the decision for it ?

Thank you- I have written that down to ask in my review. Sounds like an important thing to understand. I am definitely interested in natural IVF. I will speak to them about this in the review.

Ah bless you, I am praying for you that the one makes it though this week for transfer❤ I can relate to you like many amazing warriors on here.My 1st cycle was exactly a year ago, had 9 eggs, 7 fertilised and 2 were put back in, a bfn for us, but we was hopeful, the second round was in June, this time 11 eggs collected 9 fertilised, but none even made it to transfer.. we was beyond words. Inconsolable really. Its taken us to now to consider a third and what will be a final round for us. While we all face different emotions , I've found the break from cycles beneficial, the clinic have been able to look at other areas, with egg quaility a factor I've been on dhea and cq10 since August and now on a tablet for a slightly over reactive throid before retest in a few weeks. My partner is also re doing his comet test to see if the mothrophy has improved. While we are anxious for the next cycle I dont think the shock will be so hard as our second if it doesn't work out. Strange to say I know. Things will be very raw for you right now but remember you still have a chance this week one egg is all it takes - I wish you the best of luck we are here for you, you are never alone ❤X

Jane8412 in reply to Jaten

Thank you for your beautiful words. I never want to think of other women suffering but it does provide a lot of support to hear others have gone through the same emotions. It really was so distressing finding out we only got two eggs after going through the process of stims and 3-4 needles a day. I am so sorry your second round resulted in nothing to transfer. 9 eggs fertilised is amazing. I can only imagine how hopeful you must have been and how distraught when none made it to transfer. This process is so much more emotional then you can fathom until you go through it. I have booked in to speak to one of the counsellors at the clinic as I think I need some help processing everything and dealing with the feelings of failure. Another expense but one that I think is important. Have you had any counselling?Thanks for sharing your story. I definitely think a couple of months break minimum is needed for me. I get worried about time running out with my low AMH however I don't think 2 months will change my egg reserve significantly. I'd really like to start DHEA if I can get my clinic to agree. They weren't a big fan of it when I asked last cycle. Have you noticed any side effects from taking it?

I really hope this next round is the one for you. sending you lots of strength and luck.

Thanks again xx

Jaten in reply to Jane8412

❤❤ defiantly recommend counselling it has helped me. Care provided it as part of our package. Some clinics do provide it. Might be worth checking out. I dont think I've had any side effects take 75mg a day. I know some clinics are not a lover of it. Mine said he wont do any harm. After all they are just supplements. I do think that protocal has alot to do with outcome. First I was on short and high dose meds, fast responder, second long protocol but same dose of meds. Even the nurse wasn't sure i was ready. All very frustrating but went ti transfer anyway. Who knows. Still I have hope for you this week. 🤞🤞 everytjing crossed for you ❤X

Jane8412 in reply to Jaten

We get one session per cycle with Kings so I will be utilising that. If I feel a connection with the counsellor I hope to continue. After this round I feel like I really need some professional help. And a break!I think the worry about DHEA is that it is prescription only in the UK because it is a hormone and if you don't need it it can do more harm than good. Apparently you need to have your testosterone levels tested throughout treatment. I know I have low testosterone levels from a blood test so I think DHEA could be good for me so I am keen to try it.

Thanks for your hope. I went in this afternoon and had a day 3 transfer. They wanted me to do a day 5 but I was so worried my embryo wouldn't make it so figured it was better off inside than in a lab. Fingers crossed for the dreaded TWW! x

BBHH1 in reply to Jane8412

In the US DHEA is over the counter. So you can buy and deliver!

Jane8412 in reply to BBHH1

I am tempted to buy some online and ship from the US but I am worried about doing something behind my doctor's back.

Purpledoggy in reply to Jane8412

I had my DHEA tested via Medichecks and it turned out it was in the upper half of reference interval so decided not to supplement. I would strongly advise you to test it before buying because it is not an inert thing to take. If your level comes back low you can ask your doc for advice, or try taking it and have your level re-checked periodically to see how much it is changing in response to the meds. xx

Jane8412 in reply to Purpledoggy

Thanks. I think that is sound advice. I won't take anything until I have my levels checked and my doctor approves. x

A couple of websites showing the attrition rate on IVF:

Good luck!🍀

Jane8412 in reply to BBHH1

Thank you x

You are definitely not a failure. I am just about to undertake my 1st FET. I had my first fresh cycle over a year ago. This was done on the NHS. We managed to get 7 embryos 5 day ( 4 of which are now frozen) which I thought was ok.

Having changed clinic the end of last year and had my AMH levels checked, the consultant was surprised I didn’t get more embryos from my collection. My levels are good for my age apparently. This has played on my mind a lot since and I feel something else is wrong with me.

It is hard not to blame yourself for these things. I do know that our bodies can change but it isn’t always in a bad way. You could have 13 embryos and non of them stick or just one that does.

Hold on to the positives they are what keep us going. Keeping everything crossed for you. ❤️💕

Thank you. That's very kind of you. Agree I need to hold on to the positives. I am just so scared my next round is going to be crap again. I am going to give myself a couple of months break and start seeing a counsellor. I think I've realised I need some help to process these complex emotions! Sounds like you had a great first round if you have 4 in the freezer. Personally I would say that is much better than OK, however this journey is so subjective and we all have different expectations. Sending you lots of luck for your FET. I hope it goes well and this round results in a positive xx

Yes definitely give yourself time. I have left it over a year because my first fail broke me. It really surprised me. I did not cope at all. All the time I was going through treatment I was like a machine I just did it. I did not show any emotion or stress. We didn’t even tell our parents we were going through it. Then it hit me when I started to bleed two weeks after transfer. I felt like I was such a failure. Now I see all the positives I have, that my life is fulfilled in so many ways. Being a mother or not does not define you as a women or a person. You are still great and have so much to give. Look after yourself ❤️💕❤️

Thank you. That is such a better way to look at things. I think like you I was holding in my emotions this round and going on autopilot. Almost pretending like I wasn’t fussed. Being told they only got two eggs was such a shock. I broke down. I am speaking to a counsellor today so really hoping that I click with her and can make it a regular thing. I really hope your second round is successful xx

Hey! We are due to start our first ivf at some point this year, fingers crossed, how did you manage to get your husbands morphology to increase my husbands was at 1% last time we had it checked xxx

Jane8412 in reply to ChloeL934

Hey Chloe- we did a couple of SA last year in May and Sep and they both came back with morphology of 3%. The NHS said that was fine so at first we had no idea there was an issue until the clinic told us it really should be 4% and up. He was already taking wellman preconception multivitamins each day but we added in a few other things. I started seeing a naturopath and she organised a hair analysis for us both so we could see if we were deficient in anything. After that he added Omega 3, CoQ10, selenium, zinc and manganese. He also reduced his caffeine intake (works night shifts sometimes so couldn’t stop this entirely) and rarely drinks alcohol now. I started making him a green smoothie each day with spinach, fruit, maca, wheatgrass and whey protein. Somehow it all worked together to help. Good luck with your first round. I hope all goes well for you both xx

Hi Jane,

Just wanted to say that I can totally relate and I think we're all allowed a meltdown or two during this process. I had a similar number of eggs but the other way round! Only got 1 egg which made it to 5days on my first round but sadly didn't take. Did exactly the same protocol high stims on the second round and got 4 eggs, 2 made it to blast so thrilled to have one in the freezer although the transfer again didn't work. I actually had 9 follicles above 13mm before trigger but apparently most of them had clear liquid which indicates they might have been cyst rather than follicles. Only found this out at WTF this week - which was 8 weeks after as you can imagine not thrilled about having to wait so long to get answers.

Anyway I'm nervous about round 3 now I'm hoping to get the same egg numbers as round 2 but I understand it could just be the follicles that month and there is very little you can do.

You are doing the best you can with what you've got so have everything crossed that this embryo is a tough cookie and you have a calm and successful 2ww. Xx

Jane8412 in reply to Purple276

8 weeks!! That’s crazy. Like this process isn’t hard enough without waiting that long. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I wonder if I had cysts instead of eggs too. I guess there’s no way of knowing and I just have to try again. I’m so scared of another disappointing round. Especially since I had the exact same protocol both times.

When are you thinking of doing your next transfer? Have you given yourself much of a break between rounds?

Thank you for your kind words. I feel bad admitting it but I don’t have much hope for this embryo. It was only average quality and I doubt it would have made it to day 5. I just didn’t have it in me to do the whole round and not have anything to transfer so pushed for a day 3. Xx

Purple276 in reply to Jane8412

It's possible at your wtf meeting they'll be able to tell you more about how you responded and if they were 'fake follicles' or real ones. Either way though I totally know the anxiety about going for those scans to see the follicle count after all those injections.I can understand the feeling it's not worked but there's been some ladies on here who had a successful birth from a 3 day embryo. Hopefully you can take it easy over the next 2 weeks, try and keep an open mind and be kind to yourself. You still made a lil embryo and it's safe and snug where it should be.

I tend to go off the rails with being grumpy and eating all the ice cream and thinking it will never happen after a negative result. Been back to yoga spinach, eggs, nuts and blueberries since the new year and if drugs are delivered next week, might start another fresh round straight away. Not getting younger and while in lockdown going for scans during work and being hormonal is much easier!

I'll have taken coq10 for 7 months now and think that helped round 2. Also had vit D, B9 and B12 and thyroid tested to check levels and increased Vit D slightly. We've been given option of pgt test but have so few embryos don't think it's worth it. Also loads of other immune tests but again decided against that rabbit hole. Just hoping that the next embryos are the right ones. Xx

Jane8412 in reply to Purple276

Totally agree that it is logistically easier to do IVF in lockdown. I think that was why I was so keen to start again so quick after my first round failed. I think the issue with lockdown is that I have nothing else to think about so IVF takes over my mind. I am looking forward to the day we are allowed out again and I can have a life outside my flat!Good luck for your next round. I hope this is the one for you and it all works out xx

My first cycle was had 4 blastocyst out of 6 eggs and second cycle was a disaster got two eggs one blast. Clinic said every month is different. I changed clinic now starting my third cycle

Jane8412 in reply to JoyB8

It must have been so upsetting having such a different result. I hope round three is the one for you! Are you trying a different protocol this time? Good luck x

Hi Jane. I scanned this morning knew that I have only 3 follicles on day 5 after stim. Compare to my first cycle, 6 months ago I had 23 follicles on day 7, retrieved 9 but ended up only 2 to day 6 and failed. I'm feeling out of the game and wonder why from 23 follicles to 3. I'm 41 this May.

Jane8412 in reply to Hursleya

Hi Hursleya, I'm so sorry. That must have been such a shock. 23 to 3 is a massive drop in 6 months and would have been totally unexpected. Have they changed your protocol at all or did the doctor provide any reasonings why they thought your AFC has reduced so much? I really hope those 3 follicles contain your best quality eggs and all fertilise and grow well. They often say, it only takes one, but it is so hard not to feel worried when you start off with lower numbers. I've only ever had 3 or 4 follicles so I really do sympathise xx

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