3 Failed IVF Cycles Can Be Devastating. Here’s What to Do Next?

“It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever been through…after three failed cycles I’m not sure I can take any more,” said a patient who came to us with wide eyes full of expectant hope. The news that an IVF cycle has failed – whether it’s the first one or the third – can be heartbreaking, but not without hope, as we shall see for this couple and many more like them, at the end of this article.

Many couples are overwhelmed with a sense of uncertainty when an IVF cycle has failed. After repeated failures, couples begin to wonder what to do. What next? How do I deal with this? Should we give up? Should we wait a year and try again? Under the circumstances, these questions and more are bound to arise.

Before we get into understanding IVF cycle failures, let’s start with…

What can you do to increase your chances of IVF success?

Turn to the best IVF clinic in Pune

The likelihood that you will achieve pregnancy and go through full term in the first cycle itself is largely dependent on the quality of the IVF program. IVF clinics are not equal – some have a higher rate of success than others. Going to the best IVF fertility clinic in Pune will certainly increase your IVF success rate. At Xenith, we have a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist and can boast of some of the highest rates for IVF success in Pune.

Freeze your eggs or embryos in the first IVF cycle

Collecting viable eggs in your first IVF cycle saves you from having to go through the entire hormonal treatment again. This can make the next few IVF cycles a little bit easier since all that the embryologist has to do is fertilize them if eggs are frozen, or implant an embryo if embryos are frozen.

How many IVF cycles should you go through before you see IVF success?

According to the National Institute of Health, it takes an average of 3.6 IVF cycles to achieve pregnancy.  Many clinics believe that after 3 to 4 unsuccessful IVF cycles, one is less likely to benefit from future cycles. However, according to a study done in the United Kingdom, the greatest percentage of IVF success occurs in 6 cycles but success is also age-related as this six-cycle regimen works best for women under the age of 35.1 The famous singer, Celine Dion, had to endure 6 failed IVF cycles before having a successful pregnancy. 

What are some of the common causes for IVF failure?

There can be myriad reasons why an IVF cycle fails. Each couple is different and while it is not possible to pinpoint the exact reason, there are some common causes.

Chromosomal abnormalities

A failed IVF cycle could be due to the presence of too many or too few chromosomes or structural abnormality in the chromosomes.  You can opt for preimplantation genetic testing to be done. A sample of cells from the embryo is taken and examined in our IVF lab for chromosomal abnormalities. This will ensure our embryologists implant an embryo that is not abnormal. This will increase the chances of success.

Endometrial receptivity

Sometimes, the embryo cannot attach to the membrane lining in the uterus also called the endometrium due to various factors like the thickness of the lining, presence of too much fluid, polyps or if there’s an infection.  A bacterial infection could be treated by antibiotic therapy.  Other factors like a history of fibroids, anatomical abnormality, and having PCOS may influence successful pregnancy.  Some of these issues are corrected before the IVF procedure begins to encourage successful pregnancy.

Lifestyle factors

To help the success of the IVF cycle, we recommend that couples lead a healthy lifestyle. There is some indication from studies that show factors such as body weight, smoking, drinking, diet, exercise, and stress can all influence chances of becoming pregnant. Before starting an IVF cycle, it may help to reach an optimal weight through diet and exercise.

Next steps

Have a detailed discussion with your doctor

It is important to understand the recurrent causes of IVF failures. The doctor will be able to evaluate whether the causes can be corrected and the modifications that need to be made for the next cycle.

Couples can have several options even after IVF cycles have failed. If maternal age is a factor, think about using donor eggs which can increase your chances of having a successful outcome.  There is also the opportunity to adopt a child to consider.  These are personal decisions each couple must make for themselves.  It’s also okay if a couple decided to stop the IVF journey.

Take time to pause and grieve, rely on your support group

It is important to seek support through your family, friends, and other support groups, even a psychologist — wherever you feel comfortable to vent your feelings and find a constructive way to heal.  Feel free to ask for help and don’t be so hard on yourself.  Don’t let yourself feel alone or isolate yourself.

No medical expert or scientist has been able to exactly figure why that magical moment happens and why other attempts have failed. We have experienced some couples succeed in spite of all odds and that gives us all joy. Some couples go through a harder time when there is apparently nothing wrong. Like the couple at the beginning of our article. They were blessed with a baby boy following treatment with us after the previous 5  failed attempts.IVF is still one of the best opportunities infertile couples have to succeed in having children of their own. Visit us at one of our Xenith fertility clinics near you – either at Wakad or Koregaon Park.

Importance of Psychological Support During Fertility Treatment

Parenthood is considered an important milestone in a couple’s life. When “good news” seems to have passed you by, couples have the next “good news” – the chance to be able to conceive with the help of a fertility specialist. Thanks to science and advanced technology, couples can look forward to having their dreams come true.

However, IVF treatment can be a stressful experience for some couples. There is a link between mental health and fertility. It is important for couples to recognize the need for psychological support during this time to make the journey as comfortable as possible.

Types of Psychological Support

Emotional issues during fertility treatment are common. This is in part due to the hormonal treatment administered to women during the treatment process. Generally, there are three types of psychological support couples can receive during this time.

Education support for emotional wellbeing

This can be as simple as getting the answers you need to common questions you may have. We also recommend that couples go through documentary resources on stress coping, audiovisual information of IVF processes and treatments. It is important to receive support after negative pregnancy tests, and abandoned cycles. We believe that the patient-centric care we offer helps to improve emotional wellbeing and also increases a couple’s acceptance and preparation of fertility treatments.

Support counseling

Couples who come for infertility treatment are already saddened by the fact that they have not been able to conceive naturally. Infertility is associated with anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. There is a sense of loss and social stigma that many childless couples face. We, at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, understand the issues. All members of our infertility team are trained to provide emotional support. The main aim of such counseling is to help couples use their resources to cope with situations in and outside the clinic.

Professional counselors

Professional counselors can help couples address specific needs at different stages of the IVF journey. Some couples are particularly anxious because of the unfulfilled desire to get pregnant, the repeated cycles of interventions with IVF treatment, long-lasting wait that often creates frustration, disappointment that can put an additional marital, familial, and interpersonal strain on relationships.

Professional counselors are qualified and have a working knowledge of reproductive psychology and infertility. They can help couples handle complex issues, assisting couples to accept the situation and develop coping strategies. Such counselors can also help couples deal with specific issues they are facing in their marital life.

Tips for couples

IVF can impact a couple’s life in different ways – socially, financially, emotionally, and physically and all of these factors can lead to psychological issues.  Here are a few tips to help you make it through the IVF journey.

Look after your relationships.  Have open, honest communication with your partner before starting the IVF cycle so that you can be strong together throughout the procedure.  Discuss what you expect of each other during the treatment like whether you want to go together for all the appointments, what to do if you need to undergo unexpected procedures.

Find support from friends and family. It’s important to have an extended circle of support apart from your spouse. This extended circle should consist of people who understand and know you. Studies have found that a good support group can decrease stress and in turn increase positive pregnancy outcomes. (1)

Identify what causes you stress and consider ways to cope. Think about solutions to these stressors and anticipate ahead.  You and your partner may deal with stress in different ways. It is important to recognize those differences and have a good discussion with your partner. Learn to support each other and reduce conflict.

Exercise is a good way to reduce stress. Other ways to de-stress can include listening to music, relaxation tapes, meditation, and humour to lighten your mood.  Try yoga or breathing techniques to calm your mind and body.  Express your feelings in a journal if you think it helps.

Eat healthy nutritional meals, cut out smoking or excessive drinking. 

Don’t make major changes in your life like taking on a big project at work or moving to a new place or changing jobs.  Avoid anything that can add to the stress levels. 

Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling

Everyone is different but there are some common signs that show professional psychological support may be required. Here are just a few:

  • You are constantly thinking about your fertility treatment and struggling to cope with daily routines
  • Strained relationships make you want to isolate yourself from others.
  • You are experiencing strong feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression
  • Persistent sadness and tearfulness

At Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre, we can assure couples that they will receive the psychological support needed during any kind of infertility treatment with us. Maintaining mental health during fertility problems translates to having a calm, joyful spirit – this is really half the battle won! Let’s work together to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Visit or schedule an appointment at Xenith.

How to Take Special Care After Failed IVF Attempt

One of the hardest things couples have to deal with after IVF is a failed pregnancy. Failed IVF treatments can be painful and traumatic taking an emotional and financial toll. It is normal to feel sadness and a sense of frustration.

Possible reasons for pregnancy failure after IVF treatment

It is true that some research suggests that there is a slightly elevated risk of failed pregnancy for women who use IVF and get pregnant with a single embryo. This risk is not associated with the IVF procedure but rather with the underlying causes that have led to infertility treatment. A couple of possible reasons are described below:

Advanced age: Women who go through IVF treatment tend to be older and this in itself is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage.

Underlying health problems: Women undergoing IVF treatment are more likely to have had some previous health problems or chronic health conditions like being overweight, diabetes, or thyroid issues.

Implantation issues:  The chances that an embryo will implant in the uterine cavity even after using top-quality embryos is about 60%. This means that even after transferring good quality embryos implantation is not guaranteed. At the same time since the eggs, sperms or the endometrial lining could be compromised in patients going through IVF, these factors could also be a factor resulting in an unsuccessful pregnancy.More than one attempt at IVF may be needed for couples to conceive. However, a failed cycle causes disappointment, and here are a couple of suggestions to help you get back on track after a failed attempt.

How to take care of yourself after a failed attempt

Whatever the reasons are, couples need to take special care after a failed pregnancy. It is important that women take care of themselves after an unsuccessful attempt to ensure fast recovery of the body and mind. Here are a few tips:

Recouping physically- It is important to take a rest for the body and let menses set after all hormonal medication has been stopped.

Avoid doing very heavy work: Don’t engage in heavy-duty work that may make you overtired and strain our muscles. Avoid intense workouts at the gym to help your body recover from any physical exertion. Try some mild exercises like doing some breathing techniques or yoga which can relieve stress.

Take any medications that may have been advised: These should be taken under the doctor’s advice and at the proper time. Follow the complete course as may be advised and continue taking folic acid supplements.

Give yourself time and space to grieve: Take it slow. Some days will be better than others. Focus on getting through one day at a time. 

Let go of personal blame: Sometimes women begin blaming themselves and go through the “What if…” process thinking that could have avoided a failed pregnancy “if only they had not ….” There is no way to avoid a failed pregnancy.  Women should not blame themselves.

Seek support when ready: Talk with your partner because he might not cope with grief the same way you do.  So be open and honest with each other.  Talk to close friends or family for support or if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, speak to a counselor or a spiritual adviser.  Join a support group because sharing with others who are also dealing with failed pregnancy might help you deal with your own sense of loss.  If feelings of depression seem prolonged or you are having trouble completing your normal routine or have trouble dealing with feelings of loss, consult your doctor, mental health provider for professional support.

Eat a healthy diet: Consume warm nourishing foods, drink lots of water and take an iron supplement or iron-rich foods and multivitamins.

Keep a journal: Some women find a sense of relief by writing in a journal. It can be thoughts, prose or even poetry — express your feelings on paper to let go of the pain. 

Listen to music: Music can be a therapy in itself and can help some women keep their spirits up.

Contact your doctor: It is best to consult your doctor to discuss what the possible reasons could have been. A detailed PreIVF evaluation and assessment to rule out conditions that may lead to failure of the IVF treatment is important and is always done at Xenith. Talking to your doctor and understanding possible causes and options will help.

What next?

Couples need to remember that one or two failed cycles don’t mean that pregnancy will never happen. A failed pregnancy can indicate that you need more time or a different treatment plan. Discuss with your doctor the next steps you need to take. You may want to ask questions like:

What could the possible reasons be?

Will another IVF cycle results in success?

What are the different treatment options open?

What are the additional tests that may be required? Coping with infertility is not easy for couples. A failed pregnancy after IVF makes it even more difficult. Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic has some of the highest success rates for IVF treatment. With proper diagnosis and attention to detail before starting the cycle itself and using the right treatment option, we give couples a greater chance to succeed. Contact us at Xenith Advanced Healthcare to schedule an appointment.

What Is Unexplained Secondary Infertility?

Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide and impacts their families and communities. Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally.

For some couples, infertility issues may arise after having their first child. This is known as secondary infertility – a failure to conceive following a previous pregnancy. Clinically, infertility is a reproductive system disease defined by failing to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. But in the case of secondary infertility, we recommend that couples visit an infertility specialist after 6 months of unprotected sex because of the age factor. Women between the ages of 35 and 40 have the highest rate of unexplained infertility because of problems in the quality and quantity of eggs in the ovarian reserve.

Unexplained secondary infertility can have a lot of causes and this article will help you understand a few of them and the treatment options available.

What is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive a child or carry a pregnancy to full term after a previous childbirth. The previous delivery must have occurred without help from fertility medications or treatments, like in vitro fertilization, to classify as secondary infertility. 

Secondary infertility is typically diagnosed after trying unsuccessfully to conceive for six months to a year. A related condition is recurrent pregnancy loss, where patients and couples can conceive but cannot carry to term.

Causes of Secondary Infertility

Infertility may be caused by several different factors in either the male or female reproductive systems. However, it is sometimes not possible to explain the causes of infertility.

In the female reproductive system, secondary infertility may be caused by:

  • Tubal disorders such as blocked fallopian tubes
  • Uterine infections which could be inflammatory
  • Disorders of the ovaries
  • Disorders of the endocrine system cause imbalances of reproductive hormones

In the male reproductive system, secondary infertility may be caused by:

  • Obstruction of the reproductive tract causes dysfunctionalities in the ejection of semen
  • Hormonal disorders lead to abnormalities in hormones produced by the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and testicles.
  • Testicular failure to produce sperm
  • Abnormal sperm function and quality

Environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and obesity can affect fertility. In addition, exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins can be directly toxic to gametes (eggs and sperm), resulting in their decreased numbers and poor quality, leading to infertility.

In many cases, however, the exact cause of secondary infertility cannot be determined. According to the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Reviews, “Approximately 15% to 30% of couples will be diagnosed with unexplained infertility after their diagnostic workup.”1  Couples may be asked to take further investigations and tests to assess ovarian reserve, semen analysis, ovulation testing, imaging to assess for tubal and uterine factors before a diagnosis of unexplained infertility is made.

Treatment Options for Unexplained Secondary Infertility

Treatment for unexplained infertility can include expectant observation with timed intercourse and lifestyle changes, clomiphene citrate and intrauterine insemination (IUI), controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with IUI, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

For Women:

Laparoscopy, a female infertility treatment, is a key-hole surgical procedure to reconstruct reproductive organs and treat conditions like endometriosis, blocked tubes, or ovarian cysts.

The IVF infertility treatment involves carefully using ovarian stimulating hormones, which cause multiple follicles to grow in the ovaries to increase the number of eggs. 

IUI, Intrauterine insemination, is a relatively simple treatment that increases the number of sperm cells placed in the uterus.

Egg preservation or freezing is a suitable option for couples who are not ready to start a family immediately but want to conceive later.

For Men

  • Antibiotics for Genital Tract Infection

Antibiotics are prescribed to treat genital infections.

This process is used in severe male infertility. Sperm is extracted surgically from the testes or epididymis. ICSI involves the injection of a single, carefully selected sperm directly into a mature egg. Xenith is the only single speciality IVF Centre in Pune, to conduct surgical sperm extraction under a high magnification microscope thus helping the couple achieve a much higher pregnancy rate.

  • Microsurgical Sperm Retrieval

This procedure is conducted when men have no sperm in their semen.

  • Gonadotropin Therapy

Gonadotropins are injectable fertility medications used in the infertility treatment of men. 

Unexplained Secondary Infertility Success Stories

At Xenith, we determine the optimal treatment for unexplained secondary infertility based on individual patient characteristics. Factors such as age, treatment efficacy, side effect profile, as well as cost considerations are discussed with the couple before creating a treatment plan. We have had high success rates for our patients. Here are two of our very own success stories – couples who came to us and were delighted with the treatment they received! If you have had a child and are wondering why conceiving for your second child has been so difficult, visit us at Xenith Clinic.

Essential Vitamins to Boost Sperm Production

Unlike women who are born with all the eggs they will inside their ovaries, a man’s body creates sperm every day.  Sperm is produced in the testicles and hormones such as testosterone stimulate the production of sperm.  As per WHO guidelines, normal sperm count can range anywhere from 15 million to more than 200 million sperm count per ml of semen. Shape of sperm is also important. Sperm must also have an oval shaped head, a midpiece and a tail.  Motility is the ability of sperm to swim in a straight forward direction to reach the egg and measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen.

Factors that Affect Sperm Production

In order to improve fertility, there are certain things you can try at home, some of which include eating the right diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, quitting smoking, and avoiding stress amongst other things.

There are a number of factors that can affect sperm count. Some of them include certain medical conditions, genetic disorders, infections and even stress. Sometimes nutritional deficiencies can be the cause of low sperm production. Men are often able to boost their sperm quality and quantity by meeting the nutritional gap in their diet.

Which Vitamins Boost the Production of Sperm?

After consulting your doctor, include the following vitamins and supplements in your diet. Studies have shown that it may be able to boost male fertility.

Vitamin C is commonly known to boost the immune system because of its antioxidant properties.  A study has shown that taking 1000mg vitamin C twice a day for up to 2 months increased sperm motility by 60% and sperm count by more than 100%. It also increased the normal morphology of sperm cells by 67%.1

D-aspartic acid (D-AA) is a type of amino acid present in the testicles, semen and sperm cells. D-AA levels are much lower in infertile men than fertile men and it has been shown that D-AA supplements may increase testosterone levels as well as sperm count and motility.2  

Vitamin B12 is involved in cellular energy production and is important for sperm production. It is also needed for red blood cell formation, normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and for DNA production.  Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin and many vegetarians are likely to have a dietary B12 deficiency since it is mostly found in meat, fish and dairy products.  Vegan men also receive little vitamin B12 in their diets.  Studies show that sperm count in men who have B12 deficiency may be improved with supplemental doses of Vitamin B12.3

Zinc has been shown to raise testosterone levels, promote fertility and help in muscle growth.  Zinc is found in meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, lentils, yoghurt, oats and mushrooms.  However, too much zinc in semen may damage sperm.  Studies have shown that taking zinc supplements may increase testosterone levels and sperm count in those who are low in zinc.4

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. This vitamin affects many physiological functions including male fertility.  One study found that men with higher Vitamin D levels had improved overall fertility and sperm count.  Close to 40% of Indians are vitamin D deficient even though most parts of the country get abundant sunlight throughout the year.5

Folic acid is a B vitamin that’s important for the development of red blood cells, DNA production and cell division.  One study found that combined supplementation of folic acid and zinc for a period of 26 weeks increased total sperm count in men.  However other studies have found no effect of taking folic acid and zinc supplements on male fertility. A natural way to get more folic acid into your diet is by regularly including green leafy vegetables.6

Vitamin E is an antioxidant.  A combination of antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and CoQ10 intake can improve semen parameters in infertile men according to one study.7

Selenium is important for normal testicular development, sperm formation, motility and function and is also an antioxidant.  There was a 52% improvement in sperm motility, morphology as well as 10% increased rate of pregnancy in a study which used selenium and Vitamin E.8

Botanicals and Other Nutrients that May Boost Male Fertility

Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is a shrub found in India and North Africa and used in Ayurvedic medicine.  It may improve male fertility by boosting testosterone levels. One study has found that Ashwagandha use caused a 53% increase in semen volume, a 57% increase in sperm motility and a 167% increase in sperm count.9

Shilajit is also used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a sticky substance produced by the slow decomposition of plants and is found mainly in Himalayan rocks. In one study, a group of 60 infertile men took shilajit twice a day for 90 days after meals. More than 60 percent of the study participants showed an increase in total sperm count and more than 12 percent had an increase in sperm motility.  It can also increase testosterone levels.10

Omega 3 fatty acids are associated with male fertility because sperm contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and they influence sperm morphology, count, motility as well as improved antioxidant activity.  However, it takes some time for it to come into effect.  Avoid eating products with transfats like potato chips and processed baked goods which are deleterious for sperm and testosterone levels.  Try supplementing your diet with fish oils, flax seeds or walnuts.11

Lycopene is a natural pigment found in many fruits and vegetables that give them their bright yellow, orange and red colors.  It is believed to improve sperm count by as much as 70%.12

Fenugreek extract used in a study showed that it improved testosterone levels, sexual function and sexual frequency.13

Coenzyme Q10 is an enzyme and is found in semen.  Higher concentrations are correlated with high sperm count and better motility.14

How long should men take vitamins to boost sperm production?

Sperm take 72-90 days to develop and most fertility experts recommend taking supplements for 90 days or longer to see the best results. Taking these supplements for 30 days can also make a difference.

Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants have been shown to improve fertility and if getting these from foods is hard, then consider taking supplements according to each individual’s deficiency.  In general, improving health will also boost fertility.  There’s no guaranteed fix but if the reason for infertility is due to nutrient deficiencies, then these tips may help.  Visit Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic and let us help you diagnose the cause of your infertility. Things may change as you focus on a healthy diet that meets the nutritional gaps in your life. After a thorough diagnosis, the team at Xenith will offer an array of treatment options. Early diagnosis and treatment are advisable.

How HIV Affects Fertility

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, which are a type of white blood cells, weakening a person’s immunity against opportunistic infections. It can be transmitted through blood (unclean needles or unscreened blood), by having unprotected sex, or from mother to baby.  

Once infected with HIV, it is there for life because there is currently no effective cure. However, with proper medical care and antiretroviral treatment, HIV can be controlled and people can live long healthy lives. The antiretroviral treatment works by decreasing the viral load or the amount of virus in the blood. About 38 million people in the world were living with HIV in 2020. Since many young HIV-infected patients are living longer and healthier lives, they can now contemplate having children.

Does HIV Infection Affect Fertility?

Fertility can be affected by HIV infection through biological and psychosocial factors. The virus affects the white blood cells and therefore can lower the body’s immunity making it prone to various other illnesses. It can also cause weight loss which in turn can result in infertility. Drug abuse may also impact fertility.

HIV in Men

In men with HIV, sperm functions like motility, morphology, and quantity are impaired along with decreased semen volume. Inflammation of the testicles and production of insufficient testosterone levels might occur in HIV-infected men leading to infertility issues. Such people also experience decreased sex drive and erectile or ejaculatory dysfunction.  

HIV in Women

Women living with HIV tend to have lower birth rates than the general population. HIV-positive women could also have some issues with their menstrual cycle where it is sometimes absent or no egg is released during ovulation. In addition, stress, a weakened immune system, weight loss, and the presence of various other sexually transmitted diseases may cause infertility in HIV-positive women. 

Using antiretrovirals before pregnancy may protect women from having a miscarriage.  

Psychosocial conditions can also affect fertility because issues like fear can decrease the frequency of sexual intercourse, and cause stress. People with HIV may have limited access to medical care in terms of reproduction, and lack the knowledge of how to conceive safely. There is also a stigma attached to being HIV positive from their community. The fear of transmitting HIV to the child could be a deterrent to fertility although with rigorous testing this can be minimized. The desire for motherhood and the decision to have a child can also be affected by family support.

Infertility Treatment for HIV Patients

Assisted reproduction options like IUI, IVF, and ICSI can serve as a blessing for people facing fertility-related issues and can be a safe choice for couples where one partner is negative and the other is positive for HIV. With the development of antiretrovirals, a growing number of HIV-positive women can opt to have safe vaginal deliveries. However, a completely separate area and unit catering to HIV positive couples needs to be considered during ART treatments to avoid the risk of contamination and transmission to other couples, though this risk is very low.

Antiretroviral therapy followed by fertility treatment can enable female HIV-positive patients who desire to become mothers to have a healthy pregnancy. To reduce the chance of infection transfer to the child, the woman is kept on medication throughout her pregnancy. Preexposure prophylaxis is an oral daily pill for people who don’t have HIV but are considered high risk to protect themselves.  

Before starting the treatment cycle, one would undergo HIV viral load test to measure the number of HIV particles present in the blood and do a blood test to look at the number of CD4 cells in the body to check the immunity. Thus, infection is minimized with the use of antiretroviral drug combinations during pregnancy, neonatal prophylaxis, elective Caesarean delivery, and avoidance of breastfeeding.  

If the male partner is HIV positive, the sperm is washed and motile sperm are separated from the rest of the ejaculation and inseminated into the egg. Sperm washing eliminates seminal plasma and the majority of immotile sperm and is then tested for the presence of HIV RNA.  A special method of sperm preparation is used for washing semen of affected men.

Hope for Those with HIV to Start a Family

In the past, pregnancy was discouraged among women living with HIV because of the risk of infecting the baby by the mother. Presently, however, this risk is negligible if the people living with HIV achieve viral suppression by taking combination antiretroviral therapy before planning pregnancy.

Evidence indicates that fertility treatments can be a safe option for couples where one or both are HIV positive, although the potential risk of viral transmission cannot be eliminated it may be safer than attempted natural conception. According to a report by WHO, the transmission rates of HIV from mother to the offspring can be reduced to below 5% with effective treatment during the cycle of pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.   Feel free to contact Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic for any questions on infertility treatment for those with HIV. We would be happy to guide you in your desire to start a family.

Why is Personalized Infertility Treatment Important?

At Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, we have a policy. We know that no two couples are alike in their infertility issues and therefore we offer each couple individualized or personalized infertility treatment plans. That’s because infertility can stem from a variety of causes such as age, lifestyle and issues related to the male and female reproductive system. Infertility issues can stem from disorders like diabetes, obesity, thyroid functions, or hormonal imbalance. It can be a single issue or it can be a combination of issues that can make it difficult for a couple to conceive.

Fortunately, in these modern times, the medical fraternity can now delve deeper into infertility issues thanks to advanced diagnostics, technology, and research. Many more childless couples can look forward to having a baby of their own than they could ten or twenty years ago. Personalization is now a growing trend within reproductive medicine that opens higher quality care to couples with a more individualized approach.

What Is Personalized IVF?

IVF is an expensive process and can be a physically and emotionally challenging experience for couples. Performing diagnostic tests – either some, or all – allows fertility specialists to determine the precise treatment to set couples up for the best chance of a successful cycle.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to providing competent fertility care with consistent success rates. Personalized IVF includes tailoring treatments specific to each couple. This personalized treatment can be based on diagnostics, genetic testing, patient preferences, observed responses to treatment or specific symptoms.

At Xenith, our team will work with you to design an individual IVF protocol based on your diagnostics. We will take into consideration any financial constraints, lifestyle, need for counseling or alternative therapies, along with other factors. We are sensitive to your fertility needs, your comfort, and your personal preferences.

Personalized Fertility Assessment

The personalized infertility treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis of the root cause of infertility. Pinpointing the exact cause of why couples cannot get pregnant is the only way to treat infertility effectively. The assessment and testing process begins with a thorough medical history of each partner. This can include semen analysis, hormone tests, sperm DNA fragmentation tests, and more.

Personalized IVF Protocol

There can be a vast array of factors that impact fertility, implantation, and live birth. Some infertility issues such as tubal blockages can be treated even before a couple attempts to get pregnant. Others such as age (advanced maternal age) cannot be altered. Based on diagnostics, personalized IVF protocols can include minimal stimulation IVF and natural cycle IVF are chosen, and dose modifications are done case-to-case.

Screening for biomarkers or certain genetic signs can increase the chances of more positive outcomes.

Biomarkers are useful in determining a treatment path. Biomarkers like the anti-Mullerian hormone are used to screen for conditions like diminished ovarian reserve. Other biomarkers can help determine whether a patient is subfertile and infertile. They are useful in determining the extent of male infertility through a more detailed look at the sperm genome. Biomarkers give doctors a more definitive diagnosis of fertility issues and are useful even after pregnancy has been achieved.

Endometrial receptive array is used to determine the best timing for implantation. This is particularly useful for women who have experienced repeated implantation failures. Determining the precise time can increase the chances of implantation success.

Genetic testing of embryos is also an important part of personalized IVF treatment. The genetic testing of the embryo before implantation can help reduce the chances of miscarriages.

Benefits of a Personalized IVF Method

Approaching infertility with a highly personalized treatment plan can open up benefits for couples which can include:

  • Reduced patient physical stress
  • Reduced patient emotional stress
  • Reduced patient financial stress
  • Offers the highest chances of pregnancy
  • Produces the best overall patient trust
  • Produces the best overall patient satisfaction

IVF Success Rate in India

Due to more advanced screening and personalized IVF treatment plans, IVF success rates in India have been rising. India is now among the top five countries with the most IVF success rates, making it a prime destination for anyone considering undergoing fertility treatments. Xenith Advanced Infertility Clinic is your one-stop infertility clinic. We have everything you need under one roof right from advanced diagnostics to our own state-of-the-art IVF lab. If you are having problems conceiving, you can be sure you will receive the best infertility treatment at Xenith. We’ve quite friendly, too. Schedule a consultation.

PCOS and Infertility

PCOS is short for polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is a common disorder affecting 1 in 10 women who are of childbearing age. PCOS is usually caused by reproductive hormonal imbalances and problems with metabolism. Not only can PCOS affect the overall health and appearance of a woman due to hormonal imbalances, it is known to be one of the leading causes of infertility among women.

Symptoms of PCOS

How do you know you may have PCOS? Are there any tell-tale signs? There may not be any signs for women who are using contraceptive pills. The pill can make you have a period every month but it can be a false period because it is not related to egg production. Therefore, the pill can mask the condition for many years.

If you are not on the pill, women who are likely to have PCOS will show some of the symptoms mentioned below:

  • Missed or irregular menstrual periods
  • Higher level of male hormones can show as more facial or body hair
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Thinning hair on scalp resembling male pattern baldness
  • Unexplainable rapid weight gain and difficulty losing that weight

Symptoms can vary from women to women. Some experience more severe symptoms while for others, the symptoms are mild and may not be noticeable.

However, the only sure way to know that you have PCOS is to get a test done under the supervision of a doctor. The doctor may request a transvaginal scan that sends a probe inside the pelvis to enable a view of the ovaries. Other blood tests may be ordered such as thyroid, prolactin and metabolic workup.

PCOS can make it tough to get pregnant… treatment can help

It is possible for women who have PCOS to get pregnant. But with that said, most women will need the help of a fertility specialist. Because cases vary and different treatments have different outcomes, treatment for PCOS is individualized and depends on a number of factors such as weight, health of the ovaries, severity of anovulation, and more.

Something to keep in mind: Fertility tends to decline with age so if you are over 30 years of age, we would recommend you seek the assistance at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, sooner rather than later.

The good news for women with PCOS is that with treatment the chances of getting pregnant are very good. Here are a few treatments options:

The first line of treatment usually involves making lifestyle changes. This can include following a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise and taking folic acid supplements.  By a good diet we mean low-carb, low-sugar, adequate amount of protein, and high in fibre. Load up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily or at least 3 times per week.  About 70% of women who have PCOS may struggle with insulin resistance so it is important than you maintain a low glycemic diet leaning toward more protein than carbohydrates.1

Experts say that by losing 10% of your body weight your menstrual cycle may become more predictable. This first line of treatment alone may help your body to start ovulating, increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

Fertility medication can assist women with PCOS. Clomifene citrate or letrozole is the standard medication to start with. It stimulates the ovaries to release eggs.  Gonadotropins may be used as the next step to stimulate egg production. The effect of both these medications are closely monitored by ultrasound and at times blood tests to determine hormone levels and to make sure that the ovaries are not being overstimulated. Metformin may be prescribed to control sugar levels. Medication along with lifestyle changes can increase your chances of having a baby.

Laparoscopic ovarian drilling can restore ovulation but it is important that it is done only in indicated patients. This helps to decrease the excess of testosterone being produced in the ovarian stroma helping to restore hormonal balance.

Ovarian stimulation with IUI (Intrauterine Insemination )- An intrauterine insemination is done after good ovarian stimulation or combined if an additional mild male factor is present.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) can help achieve pregnancy. This is the last option we would recommend if none of the above procedures work.In this process, after ovarian stimulation eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, fertilized with the partner’s sperm in an IVF lab, and then transferred into the uterus.

Early diagnosis of PCOS can lead to early treatment. Your chances of getting pregnant become a lot higher when it is diagnosed well in time. If you suspect you may have PCOS, visit us at Xenith Advanced Fertility Centre. Our friendly environment as well as the experience and expertise of our medical staff will put you at ease as we work with you to fulfill your dreams!

Best Season for an IVF Treatment

Is summer the best season for IVF treatment? It is true that some research studies have shown that summer is the best time for IVF cycles. However, these studies were conducted in countries where there are distinct seasons – summer, winter, spring, and autumn. In India we have plenty of sunshine in most parts of the country, all year round. 😊

Here are a few reasons why some (not all) studies have suggested that summer may be the best season for IVF treatment.

Vitamin D production increases in summer

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because sunlight aids in Vitamin D production.  Vitamin D maintains the body’s calcium levels and also increases immunity but a little-known fact is that having Vitamin D sufficiency could help improve the chances of Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART), according to a study published in Reproductive Health (July 2019).1 

In India, a large population of women are Vitamin D deficient despite the sun shining on us practically the whole year. An August 2019 article in India Today, revealed a study that showed “70-90% of Indians including 88% urban Mumbaikars are Vitamin D deficient. It also showed that pregnant women in India have up to 84 percent Vitamin D deficiency.”2 

Melatonin production increases in summer

Melatonin is a neurohormone that plays an important role in the circadian rhythm or sleep cycle.  It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.  Its secretion is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light.  According to research, melatonin regulates fertility in women and shown to prime the fertility of women apart from determining their sleep-wake cycle.3 

A study featured in the January 2021 issue of Frontiers in Bioscience Research suggests that “melatonin improves the egg quality and increases the chance of success of in vitro fertilization (IVF).” Melatonin may directly act on the reproductive tissues leading to increased fertility in women.4 

The best season concept for IVF treatment is more likely a myth

The success rate for IVF depends on various factors like age of both the male and female patient, egg and sperm quality, cause of infertility among various other reasons. 

A study published in the Public Library of Science (July 2018) states, “It might be speculated that the complete pharmaceutical control of the ovarian and endometrial function, as well as the homogeneous treatments, procedures and laboratory equipment used during the study period have lowered the influence of seasonal effect on IVF treatment outcome.”5

Scientists in China conducted a study of both IVF and ICSI cycles, as well as fresh and frozen transfers in 38,476 patients undergoing IVF/FET between 2014 and 2017. The study was designed to seek an answer to the question: Do seasonal variations have an impact on IVF outcome? They came to the conclusion that there was no significant difference of seasonal variations in the outcome of IVF with fresh embryo transfer and frozen embryo transfer.6

We encourage women undergoing IVF treatment to maintain a healthy weight by eating well-balanced meals along with at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, using prenatal multivitamins and supplements which include folic acid and Vitamin D, getting enough sleep each night, avoiding chemical products, reducing stress, quitting smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation and partnering with excellent fertility specialists at Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic. It seems like quite a to-do list but our motto is do what you can, don’t stress out!

What is the best season for IVF treatment?

There is no best season to have babies! While IVF technology helps in bringing the sperm and egg together for conception, conception  still remains a mystical process. Couples who have not been able to get pregnant now have a greater possibility with advanced science to get pregnant but while the success rate is high, the entire process is still a mystery in many ways. 

The IVF cycle can be done any time. In fact, we recommend that you do not wait for any particular season thinking it might bring you success. Age is an important factor to consider in IVF success outcomes and the sooner you start treatment the more likely it is to succeed. Statistics show that women under 35 have higher success IVF rates.

The success rate for IVF in India averages around 45-48%. More advanced reproductive techniques and technologies continue to raise the success rates each year, and these success rates are independent of seasonal variations. At Xenith Advanced Fertility Clinic, we’ve IVF success rates up to 75%. Contact us at Xenith today if you don’t know why you are unable to conceive after trying for more than 6 months. We can help you make your dreams come true in any season!

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