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In vitro fertilization (IVF) offers hopeful individuals and couples an option to make their baby dreams come true. However, embryo implantation failure is a common reason IVF cycles fail to work. In fact, for most individuals and couples, it takes a few rounds of IVF to achieve success.

In this article, we’re going to explore the signs of failed IVF, the reasons for embryo implantation failure, and how to cope with IVF failure. 

What is Embryo Implantation?

Embryo implantation is when an embryo (a fertilized egg) is implanted into the uterus and attaches to the uterine wall. Many consider this implantation of the embryo the very beginning stages of pregnancy. Within the uterus, the embryo goes on to develop into a fetus and hopefully a successful pregnancy. So, what happens when this process fails to work?

Embryo Implantation Failure

During IVF, the egg is fertilized in a laboratory setting. From there, an embryo transfer takes place, where the embryo is transferred into the uterus with the hope it will properly implant. Inevitably, throughout this process, there are various cases where a failed embryo transfer occurs. Below, we take a closer look at the symptoms of embryo implantation failure and what causes embryo implantation failure.

Failed Implantation Symptoms

A failed embryo implantation can be frustrating for hopeful individuals and couples. However, there are various symptoms that arise indicating that the embryo has failed to implant. Preparing yourself and understanding what these symptoms are can help you know what to watch out for.

Generally, when implantation occurs, you may experience sensitive breasts and mild abdominal cramping. If you haven’t experienced these in the weeks after your embryo transfer, it may be indicative that the implantation has failed. Additionally, you may experience vaginal bleeding.

Implantation Failure Reasons 

So, what causes an embryo transfer to fail? Causes of implantation failure in IVF include:

  • Genetic or Chromosomal Issues: Human embryos frequently contain various chromosomal abnormalities. These chromosomal abnormalities also increase with a woman’s age. However, PGS (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) is a way where you can screen for these abnormalities and avoid implantation failure due to this reason.
  • Uterine Problems: On the other side of the equation, you can have a healthy embryo but if the environment for the embryo isn’t quite right, you are more likely to experience a failed implantation.
  • Age of the Eggs: The quality of the egg determines the quality of the embryo. After 30 years of age, the quality of a woman’s eggs may begin to decline, which can impact whether or not IVF is successful. This impact starts to become more material around the 38 to 42 years of age and quite detrimental after the age of 42 years. 
  • Lifestyle Factors: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before and during the IVF process is crucial for success. We encourage patients to quit smoking, adopt a healthy diet, avoid alcohol, and reduce stress via self-management strategies. Additionally, being overweight may decrease your chances of a successful IVF and implantation. Thus, some may benefit from losing weight prior to undergoing this process.

Treating Implantation Issues

Luckily, there are many ways to treat embryo implantation failure, including:

  • Medications
  • Hormone therapy
  • Blood thinners
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • IVF with PGS
  • Surrogacy 
  • Donor eggs

Your fertility team, such as those at ELITE IVF, will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment method for you and your specific situation. Treatment depends on what is causing the implantation failure in the first place.

Dealing with IVF Failure 

When IVF fails, what next? 

Dealing with IVF failure can feel frustrating and sad. However, your fertility journey doesn’t end here. You have various treatment options and other fertility options to explore. As previously stated, it can take a few failed IVF rounds for a successful one to take place. This is not uncommon, and there is still hope. 

During this difficult time, we encourage you to lean on your support system, join support groups, and reach out to a professional if needed. 


Still got questions about embryo implantation failure? Check out the frequently asked questions below.

Can there be miscarriages due to implantation failure?

Thankfully, there is no evidence indicating miscarriages happen due to implantation failure. Most often, if implantation failure happens, this is due to chromosomal abnormalities. This can, then, be detected via testing before the embryo transfer stage of IVF.

My first cycle of IVF failed. What should I do next?

After the first cycle of IVF fails, typically, patients are encouraged to try again. Your fertility team will examine what caused the failure and try to learn what can be done differently to avoid it in the next cycle. Probability of success increases with repetition due to the learned experience of your physician, and your body’s growing “awakening” to the fertility treatment process and hormonal stimulations. 

What are the most stressful stages of IVF?

The embryo transfer stage is usually the most stressful part of the IVF process. In this phase, it is determined whether or not the entire process results in a successful pregnancy. Many couples and individuals feel anxious when waiting for the results of their embryo transfer. Thus, it’s crucial to actively find ways to de-stress and relax (especially since stress can lead to an increased risk of IVF failure).

How long is the process of IVF?

A single IVF cycle typically takes three weeks. However, it may take a bit longer depending on what your fertility team decides and how the stages of IVF are spaced out. Many individuals and couples take three IVF rounds for a successful pregnancy to take place.

At ELITE IVF, we are here for you every step of the way. Our compassionate and caring team includes an array of fertility experts, helping you achieve the family you’ve always wanted. If you’re ready to begin your fertility journey, contact us today. 


Speak with a fertility specialist at ELITE IVF today!