Should I try another go of IVF?

Dear Professor Winston,

Should I try another go of IVF?

I have have a 5 year old son which I conceived by icsi on my first attempt in November 2012. Since then we have been trying naturally and 4 further IVF for a second child. I have had 4 failed ivfs since 2014. I have low ovarian reserve/AmH last tested 1.5 and my husband has severely low sperm count.

I am 36 years of age and my husband is 39 years old. I have underactive thyroid and take 75mg levothyroxine.

My last failed ivf was in September 2018 where I had 4 eggs collected but zero fertilisation. The consultant has said the reason for my failures is due to poor egg quality. We are unsure whether to keep trying or whether we should accept that it is not going to work. We have tried accupunture, exercising, vitamins and now just don’t know what do do next. Any advice or guidance you can give will be most appreciated.

Best wishes,


Dear U.

It doesn’t look very good, does it? I do think this is a difficult decision but given the small number of eggs collected, the difficulty in fertilising them, the poor quality that the embryologists see under the microscope, I am inclined to suggest you stop treatment. I am sorry to say this because I do understand that this is a very difficult decision.

By the way, I should point out that the use of acupuncture, exercising, vitamin supplements, and many other home-spun treatments which are widely sold and often greatly praised, particularly in the popular press, are useless. I simply do not know of any evidence which suggests that any of these really improve IVF treatment when you have kind of severe problem you mention. Of course, it is very good to exercise your general health, but even people who will not walk up a single flight of stairs or even run for a bus, are capable of having successful fertilisation. Believe me, I am not making fun of you as I am sure you understand. But I think that there comes a time when common sense suggests a change. I have no doubt this is causing anxiety and distress and perhaps it is time to rethink how you deal with this area of your life which is being dominated by a completely natural and understandable desire.

My very best wishes

Robert Winston