Analysis: Why my eggs did not fertilise

After my failed IVF cycle in early December 2017, I was demanding answers from my IVF doctor. No one said to me that my eggs would not fertilise. The process was explained to me as:

  1. egg collection
  2. eggs fertilise and placed in incubator in lab
  3. Day 3 – review eggs and see if they are growing to that 6-8 cell range
  4. Day 5 – Blastocyst stage and implantation of the embryo
  5. TWW (the 2 week wait to see if you are pregnant) – pregnancy blood test booked in.

The clinic actually made me appointments for the embryo implantation and the pregnancy test blood test before they even knew if my eggs had fertilised. This is why I had my hopes up and high expectations! As far as I was concerned they failed!

Nathan and I sat with the doctor to discuss what went wrong and where the hell my $10,000 went (if we didn’t proceed to the embryo transfer why am I paying the full fee shouldn’t it only be half?).

We had the 2 hour meeting. It was explained to me that there are 3 reasons that eggs fail to fertilise:

  1. The EGGS
  2. The SPERM
  3. The LAB

He said that its not the Lab because other couples had fertilised eggs with the same incubator, equipment and scientist team that day.

The eggs looked good and we had plenty of them (11 mature from 18 collected).

The Sperm however was a problem – we had to use a frozen sample and that effected the motility of the sperm. The scientist think this was why even with ICSI it failed to work and all the eggs died. The doctor gave us some stats for women aged 38 – 40 where no fertilisation occurred this happened around 3.0% of the time. So we were very unlucky – especially since I had so many eggs, he encouraged us to do another cycle and this time we would do things differently…

  • vitamins for Nathan
  • vitamins for me
  • menopur injections (rather than the Gonal F which  I did for the first round – apparently menopur gives better quality eggs but less of them)
  • 50% we will do ICSI and 50% IVF (last time we did all ICSI)
  • produce 3 frozen sperm samples 3 days apart so they have lots of options if the fresh sample is not provided
  • have Nathan prepped and ready for an extraction of sperm direct from the testes if no fresh sample is made available on the day (now that’s an incentive!)



The Doctor reminded me that you get about $4700 back from Medicare so I wasn’t actually out of pocket $10000. I hadn’t received the rebate yet so was happy to hear this. It did arrive the next few days and so we decided to do it all again and this time I was determined to make it work.