DOI: 10.1093/hropen/hoad023 ISSN: 2399-3529

ESHRE good practice recommendations on recurrent implantation failure

, D Cimadomo, M J de los Santos, G Griesinger, G Lainas, N Le Clef, D J McLernon, D Montjean, B Toth, N Vermeulen, N Macklon
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering



How should recurrent implantation failure (RIF) in patients undergoing ART be defined and managed?


This is the first ESHRE good practice recommendations paper providing a definition for RIF together with recommendations on how to investigate causes and contributing factors, and how to improve the chances of a pregnancy.


RIF is a challenge in the ART clinic, with a multitude of investigations and interventions offered and applied in clinical practice, often without biological rationale or with unequivocal evidence of benefit.


This document was developed according to a predefined methodology for ESHRE good practice recommendations. Recommendations are supported by data from the literature, if available, and the results of a previously published survey on clinical practice in RIF and the expertise of the working group. A literature search was performed in PubMed and Cochrane focussing on ‘recurrent reproductive failure’, ‘recurrent implantation failure’, and ‘repeated implantation failure’.


The ESHRE Working Group on Recurrent Implantation Failure included eight members representing the ESHRE Special Interest Groups for Implantation and Early Pregnancy, Reproductive Endocrinology, and Embryology, with an independent chair and an expert in statistics. The recommendations for clinical practice were formulated based on the expert opinion of the working group, while taking into consideration the published data and results of the survey on uptake in clinical practice. The draft document was then open to ESHRE members for online peer review and was revised in light of the comments received.


The working group recommends considering RIF as a secondary phenomenon of ART, as it can only be observed in patients undergoing IVF, and that the following description of RIF be adopted: ‘RIF describes the scenario in which the transfer of embryos considered to be viable has failed to result in a positive pregnancy test sufficiently often in a specific patient to warrant consideration of further investigations and/or interventions'. It was agreed that the recommended threshold for the cumulative predicted chance of implantation to identify RIF for the purposes of initiating further investigation is 60%. When a couple have not had a successful implantation by a certain number of embryo transfers and the cumulative predicted chance of implantation associated with that number is greater than 60%, then they should be counselled on further investigation and/or treatment options. This term defines clinical RIF for which further actions should be considered. Nineteen recommendations were formulated on investigations when RIF is suspected, and 13 on interventions. Recommendations were colour-coded based on whether the investigations/interventions were recommended (green), to be considered (orange), or not recommended, i.e. not to be offered routinely (red).


While awaiting the results of further studies and trials, the ESHRE Working Group on Recurrent Implantation Failure recommends identifying RIF based on the chance of successful implantation for the individual patient or couple and to restrict investigations and treatments to those supported by a clear rationale and data indicating their likely benefit.


This article provides not only good practice advice but also highlights the investigations and interventions that need further research. This research, when well-conducted, will be key to making progress in the clinical management of RIF.


The meetings and technical support for this project were funded by ESHRE. N.M. declared consulting fees from ArtPRED (The Netherlands) and Freya Biosciences (Denmark); Honoraria for lectures from Gedeon Richter, Merck, Abbott, and IBSA; being co-founder of Verso Biosense. He is Co-Chief Editor of Reproductive Biomedicine Online (RBMO). D.C. declared being an Associate Editor of Human Reproduction Update, and declared honoraria for lectures from Merck, Organon, IBSA, and Fairtility; support for attending meetings from Cooper Surgical, Fujifilm Irvine Scientific. G.G. declared that he or his institution received financial or non-financial support for research, lectures, workshops, advisory roles, or travelling from Ferring, Merck, Gedeon-Richter, PregLem, Abbott, Vifor, Organon, MSD, Coopersurgical, ObsEVA, and ReprodWissen. He is an Editor of the journals Archives of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biomedicine Online, and Editor in Chief of Journal Gynäkologische Endokrinologie. He is involved in guideline developments and quality control on national and international level. G.L. declared he or his institution received honoraria for lectures from Merck, Ferring, Vianex/Organon, and MSD. He is an Associate Editor of Human Reproduction Update, immediate past Coordinator of Special Interest Group for Reproductive Endocrinology of ESHRE and has been involved in Guideline Development Groups of ESHRE and national fertility authorities. D.J.M. declared being an Associate Editor for Human Reproduction Open and statistical Advisor for Reproductive Biomedicine Online. B.T. declared being shareholder of Reprognostics and she or her institution received financial or non-financial support for research, clinical trials, lectures, workshops, advisory roles or travelling from support for attending meetings from Ferring, MSD, Exeltis, Merck Serono, Bayer, Teva, Theramex and Novartis, Astropharm, Ferring. The other authors had nothing to disclose.


This Good Practice Recommendations (GPR) document represents the views of ESHRE, which are the result of consensus between the relevant ESHRE stakeholders and are based on the scientific evidence available at the time of preparation.

ESHRE GPRs should be used for information and educational purposes. They should not be interpreted as setting a standard of care or be deemed inclusive of all proper methods of care, or be exclusive of other methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results. They do not replace the need for application of clinical judgement to each individual presentation, or variations based on locality and facility type.

Furthermore, ESHRE GPRs do not constitute or imply the endorsement, or favouring, of any of the included technologies by ESHRE.

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