Recurrent implantation failure: how common is it?

Pirtea P, Scott RT, de Ziegler D, Ayoubi JM
Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. Apr. 2021 doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000698


Purpose of review: To clarify a lingering issue, the true incidence of repeated implantation failures (RIF) in women undergoing successive frozen euploid single embryo transfers (FE-SET). Recent findings: As not all Assisted reproductive techinique (ART) attempts are crowned by success, it has been questioned since incept of ART whether failures resulted from an embryonic or endometrial cause. RIF has received no precise definition but a trend has existed toward setting a more stringent definition, as reproductive biology has become more effective and ART success rates improved. No scientific society has yet convened on a universally accepted definition. The advent of effective and well tolerated pregestational testing of embryos for aneuploidy (PGT-A) has allowed to not transfer aneuploid embryos, which are bound not to succeed. This, therefore, justify revisiting the concept of RIF when only euploid embryos are transferred. Summary: Contrary to lingering beliefs, the results of our study indicate that RIF following three successive euploid embryo transfers in a morphologically normal endometrium is a rare occurrence (<5%). This supports the concept that ART failures mainly result from embryonic causes. Our data also propose a new - functional - definition of RIF being an ART failure following 3 successive FE-SET attempts. Our findings, therefore seriously question the soundness of prescribing the often complex and expensive endometrial testing procedures that largely publicized for treating RIF.