Fertility clinics often advertise “personalized fertility treatments,” but what does that really mean? Today, Fertility Solutions wants to outline what personally selected IVF protocols mean for us and how they improve our patients’ fertility success rates.
Your Personalized IVF Protocol Relies on Accurate Infertility Testing
The first step in any fertility treatment plan is infertility testing. However, we can’t rely on another clinic’s results because we can’t vet their process or results. Our fertility center is special in that we have our own in-house IVF laboratory, which means we have complete control of the entire process. Accurate results and infertility diagnosis is essential to creating the best plan for you.
Keep in mind that test results are only part of the equation.
Additional Factors May Alter Infertility Diagnosis or Treatment Methods
We also take additional factors into the equation before beginning any new IVF cycle or changing the treatment protocol. We are your partner in the process.
Your doctor and nurses will explain all of your results to you, along with the spectrum of potential treatment options. Together, we weigh the risks and benefits. Patients should always feel comfortable asking questions, getting further clarification, or sharing input/feelings – even if they differ from ours.
As we weigh all of the factors that affect IVF fertility outcomes, we pay close attention to:
- Your age. As you know, age directly impacts fertility rates. If you’ve had repeated failed IVF cycles, and age/egg quality appears to be a factor, we may recommend considering donor eggs so you benefit from the higher IVF success rates associated with lower age brackets.
- Your history. Testing and results only get us so far. Some infertility remains unexplained until we get further clues, many of which come from your treatment failures and what we learn from those. Studies are clear that success rates go up with repeat cycles, so stay focused on the goal and we’ll glean all we can from the failed cycles to improve future cycle protocols.
- Ovarian reserve. The results of antral follicle counts, Day 3 FSH and AMH are all used to determine how many eggs you have left. Preconception genetic testing helps us identify if you’re carrying a mutation that compromises egg viability, while preimplantation genetic testing identifies if embryos are likely to have a chromosomal/genetic abnormality that compromises IVF outcomes. All of this information informs things like how many embryos we implant (more on that below), or whether we move to donor eggs/embryos.
- Prior cycle outcomes. Every woman’s body is different, which is why some women with severe endometriosis get pregnant with IUI and women with mild-to-moderate cases may require IVF. We learn more as we go. For example, sometimes how you respond to fertility medications teaches your doctor more about your body and your diagnosis so that they can adjust your medication protocol if another cycle is needed! Or there are times we may recommend transferring more than one or two embryos (the current standard based on meta-review). Again, it all depends on your age and cycle history.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
All of that being said, a recent retrospective study by Wald et al. (Fertility and Sterility 2021) suggested that embryology outcomes are just as good, if not slightly better, in a second IVF cycle when the same IVF protocol is used (though retrospective studies do have limitations!).
Either way, you should feel comfortable with the plan you and your doctor develop for each cycle. You’re making a tremendous energetic, emotional, and financial investment when pursuing repeat IVF cycles. We understand that, and it’s why the incredible team at Fertility Solutions are committed to working with you.
Our personal approach to fertility care and IVF cycles is essential to our way of being. Contact us to schedule a consultation or to learn more about how to choose the right IVF protocol for your diagnosis and medical history.