Implantation Failure

Journey to parenthood is sometimes full of obstacles and challenges. Before reaching a healthy pregnancy, female organism has to complete several complicated stages. It happens that our bodies are not always capable of dealing with their tasks. Implantation failure is one of the most frustrating experiences on the way to parenthood. We have to learn about ways of helping our bodies to conduct required processes successfully.


What is implantation?

Once an egg is fertilized successfully, female body starts to prepare for pregnancy. Walls of the uterus start to thicken and grow in order to protect and nourish embryo throughout the following 9 months of gestation. Wall of the uterus is called endometrium and is where the fertilized egg attaches itself for further growth and development. The process of attachment is called implantation.

Accordingly, when we refer to implantation failure, we mean that fertilized egg was not able to attach itself to the wall of the uterus.

Implantation is probably one of the most complicated processes before the successful pregnancy.  Implantation failure may contribute to unexplained infertility in females. Abnormalities that occur during  implantation are indeed complicated to capture.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) stands for procedures that aim to achieve pregnancy through surrogacy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation and etc. Throughout  ART programs, implantation failure is one of the most common occurrences. While IVF is an amazingly successful treatment of infertility, not all cycles tend to result in successful implantation.


Recurrent implantation failure

Recurrent implantation failure refers to inability to achieve pregnancy after four embryo transfers, provided that embryos are of a good quality. Unfortunately up to 10% of females experience implantation problems during their IVF treatment.


Some of the related tests and factors include :


  • White blood cells, leukocytes , are responsible for protecting body from infections and “invaders”. Increased level of white blood cells are found to contribute to recurrent failure of cycles. Doctors, however, may suggest to not treat this issue. It is a controversial and confusing task to treat infertility by suppressing the immune system – which is so important later during the pregnancy. Drugs suitable for treatment can be risky for mother and a child. Before the beginning of treatment, parents should consider discussing all of the possible outcomes with their doctors.
  • Endometrial scratch is the procedure when doctor passes a thin catheter through cervix. Disruptions caused by catheter rotation result in response within the endometrium and surprisingly is found to have a positive effect on endometrium ability of reception. Doctor may also pass a thin telescope into the womb and observe if there is a polyp or a scar tissue that needs to be removed.
  • It is available to observe a tissue from endometrium to find an underlying problem. Scientists claim that it is possible to analyze a number of genes (more than 200) that are associated with implantation.
  • Clotting of the blood is a further factor that can hold pregnancy from progressing. Doctor might prescribe medications to thin the blood as a part of treatment.


While controlling health of parents is essential, experience revealed that the cause of implantation failure is usually hiding behind egg quality and rarely behind sperm or uterus.

  • Preimplantation genetic screening is the process of removing a cell from IVF embryo and testing it for genetic conditions and chromosomal abnormalities. Studies suggest that maternal age is the typical reason behind chromosomal abnormality in embryo. If several IVF attempts are unsuccessful, using a young egg donor is likely to result in normal pregnancy. Together with female’s age, abnormalities in mature eggs increase correspondingly.


It is particularly hard to make predictions about implantation. Scientists still have a long way to go until they investigate this stage closely. However, above mentioned tests and facts are proved to be relevant while discovering and solving the issue.