Friday, March 29, 2013

IVF-FAQs - Why did my eggs fail to fertilize ?

This is a heart-breaking situation which some couples face when they go through IVF. You are very anxious to know the day after egg collection as to how many of your eggs have fertilized and how many embryos you have ! But there are some rare instances where none of your  eggs fertilises and you are left with no embryos to transfer. The reasons for complete fertilization failure include :
•     Lab error - technical problems in the embryology lab , such as infection in the culture medium or an incubator malfunction can cause this
•    Sperm problems  –  Sometimes even normal looking sperms can fail to fertilize the eggs.  This kind of fertilization failure due to functionally incompetent sperm can be prevented by using ICSI (a technique where a sperm is directly injected into egg , thus facilitating fertilization).  If ICSI fail to solve the problem then the issue lies most probably with the egg and not with the sperm.  This is because once the sperm enters the egg , the further events that take place are controlled by the egg’s machinery , and not by the sperm’s !
•    Egg problems - Because of poor quality eggs

What do you do when faced with such a situation ? This is a medical emergency !

•    Ask the embryologist whether there was a lab problem. However, even if there was, it’s quite likely that the lab is not going to be completely honest about this. If only your eggs failed to fertilize on the particular day,  while the eggs of the other patients fertilised normally, the chances of a lab error are low.
•    Ask the embryologist to do rescue ICSI. Here the embryologist injects a sperm into the unfertilized egg . While the success rate is low, this can help to salvage the cycle; and will also prove that the problem was with the sperm and not with the egg
•    Try again in another clinic – this gives you a better chance of pinpointing where the problem lies!

Read more at :

This is an excerpt from our forthcoming, book, The Expert Patient's Guide to IVF. This being authored by our expert patient, Manju and me.

 You can email Manju at [email protected]

Her blog is at

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