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What happens to follicles after cancelled IVF

What happens to follicles after cancelled IVF?

| 03 Nov 2023 | 138858 Views |


IVF cancellation is a common occurrence, affecting up to 20% of all IVF cycles. There are many reasons why an IVF cycle may be cancelled, such as poor ovarian response, high risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), or unexpected medical problems.

When an IVF cycle is cancelled, the follicles that have been stimulated with fertility drugs will continue to grow and develop. However, since the eggs will not be fertilized and implanted in the uterus, the follicles will eventually become atretic, meaning that they will degenerate and disappear.

Follicle development

Follicles are the small sacs that develop in the ovaries and contain eggs. Each month, a few follicles begin to grow and develop. The follicle that matures the most will release its egg during ovulation.
The ovarian cycle is a complex process that is regulated by hormones. Follicles develop and mature in the ovaries each month. When a follicle is mature, it releases an egg. This process is called ovulation.

During IVF, fertility drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple follicles. This is done to increase the chances of retrieving multiple eggs and fertilizing them successfully.

What happens to follicles after cancelled IVF?

  • If the IVF cycle is cancelled, the follicles will continue to grow and mature. However, the eggs will not be retrieved or fertilized.
  • Some follicles may release their eggs even after the IVF cycle is cancelled. This is because the hormones that trigger ovulation are still present in the body.
  • However, most follicles will not release their eggs. These follicles will eventually reabsorb and disappear. This process can take several weeks.
  • During this time, women may experience symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and breast tenderness. These symptoms are due to the high levels of hormones in the body.
  • Most women will have a normal menstrual period within 4-6 weeks of a cancelled IVF cycle.

What happens to the eggs if they are not retrieved and fertilized?

Eggs that are not retrieved and fertilized will eventually degenerate and die. This is because they are not fertilized and do not have the nutrients they need to survive.

What can I do to help my body recover after a cancelled IVF cycle?

There are a few things you can do to help your body recover after a cancelled IVF cycle:

  • Rest: Get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water and juice.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol: Smoking and alcohol can interfere with hormone production and healing.
  • Talk to your doctor: If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor. They can offer you support and guidance during this time.

Pregnancy after cancelled IVF

It is possible to get pregnant after a cancelled IVF cycle. However, the chances of pregnancy will depend on the underlying cause of the cancellation and the woman’s individual fertility.
If you are concerned about your fertility after a cancelled IVF cycle, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you to identify the underlying cause of the cancellation and recommend the best course of treatment.

Tips for coping with a cancelled IVF cycle

A cancelled IVF cycle can be emotionally and physically challenging. Here are some tips for coping:

  • Allow yourself time to grieve the loss of the cycle. It is normal to feel sad, angry, and disappointed.
  • Talk to your partner and other supportive people about how you are feeling.
  • Talk to your doctor about what happened during the cycle and what you can do to improve your chances of success in the future.
  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep.


A cancelled IVF cycle can be emotionally and physically challenging. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many women experience cancelled IVF cycles. With time and support, you will recover.

About The Author
Dr. Richika Sahay

MBBS (Gold Medalist), DNB (Obst & Gyne), MNAMS, MRCOG (London-UK), Fellow IVF, Fellow MAS, Infertility (IVF) Specialist & Gynae Laparoscopic surgeon,[Ex AIIMS & Sir Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi]. Read more

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