Dr George Ndukwe Explains: Why IVF fails

If you’re doing IVF and it’s not working, it’s very easy to panic. Failure is disappointing and emotionally exhausting, and that can understandably take a toll on a couple.

But it’s important to avoid the temptation to give up straight away without asking the right questions. When IVF failures occur, particularly when they do so repeatedly, more often than not there is a reason why. This week on our Zita West channel, our very own Dr. George Ndukwe explains IVF and the reasons why it may fail:

Why does IVF tend to fail?

Dr. George Ndwuke: Pregnancy is the only time in the human body when something foreign comes into your human body and is normally not rejected. In pregnancy, a baby has to stay in the mother’s body for 9 months, which is completely contrary to the design of the immune system that is supposed to all foreign intrusions at bay. In a successful pregnancy, the women’s immune system would allow it to occur. But if the woman’s immune system identified that the embryo was foreign, what would happen is that the immune system would fight the embryo. So what we do at the clinic is identify if there is any problem with the immune system, which could affect the success of IVF.

How do you do test the immune system?

We have two levels of tests that aim to identify if there’s any treatable resilience that’s causing recurrent IVF failure or miscarriage. As the psychological impacts of IVF failure or miscarriage are huge, we aim to get it right as soon as possible. To do that, we have to look at the couple and try to individualise the treatment in order to optimise the outcome to the best of our ability. Some people benefit from therapy, some from hypnotherapy and some from just a change in diet, but we are very lucky to have it all under one roof.

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