Fertility Blog

Coping with IVF Failure: What to Do When Your Treatment Isn't Successful

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process of fertilization involving the introduction of an egg and sperm in vitro (i.e., in a lab petri dish). Although IVF is considered to be the most effective form of fertility care, the procedure is not always successful for various reasons, especially during the first round of treatment.

Experiencing an IVF failure is often disappointing and emotionally challenging, and can have a negative impact on relationships and emotional health. Coping with this outcome often requires time, patience, and emotional support.

Why Does IVF Fail?

IVF failure can be caused by various underlying factors, including:

  • Embryo implantation or growth failure
  • A high level of genetic variability
  • Abnormal sperm
  • A poor-quality embryo
  • Chromosomally abnormal embryos
  • Fertility incompatible uterus
  • Reproductive system conditions (e.g., endometriosis or pelvic infection)

Coping With IVF Failure

Below are some suggestions to help you cope with your loss after IVF failure.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

After an unsuccessful round of IVF, it’s normal to have feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and guilt. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your expectations and give yourself time to process these emotions.

Seek Support

Your partner, close friends, or family members have an opportunity to provide emotional support if you share your feelings with them. If you suffer from infertility issues, you may consider joining a support group. If your sadness, grief, or other symptoms are severe and ongoing, consider seeking counseling from a mental health professional.

Get Educated on IVF

Don't assume that you will never conceive if you fail IVF. Make sure you understand the process, possible reasons for failure, and alternatives that may be available to you. Making informed decisions based on this knowledge can empower you.

Discuss Your Next Steps with Your Fertility Specialist

Consult your fertility specialist about your previous IVF cycle. Consider any adjustments or alternative treatment options that may increase your chances of success in future cycles. If you have any concerns or expectations, it's important to have an open and honest conversation about them with your healthcare provider.

Practice Self-Care

Make self-care a priority during this difficult time. Relax and reduce stress by engaging in activities that bring you happiness. A healthy lifestyle may include exercise, yoga, meditation, pursuing hobbies, or spending quality time with loved ones.

Consider Taking a Break to Regroup

In some cases, it may be beneficial to take a break from fertility treatments. Before deciding what to do next, allow yourself time to heal emotionally. Taking a step back and reassessing your goals and priorities is okay. It could even reduce your stress level, lending itself to a successful subsequent IVF cycle.

Consider Alternatives

Depending on your circumstances and preferences, you may want to consider adoption, surrogacy, or fostering as possible paths to parenthood. The decision can be personal and may require additional time to research your options and prepare yourself emotionally.

A Word of Encouragement from Washington Fertility Center

Last but not least, don’t let go of hope. Although IVF failures are often very disheartening, it's important to remember that it often takes multiple IVF attempts before many individuals and couples experience successful pregnancies. Maintaining hope and staying optimistic will lend itself to your overall success in your family-building journey. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to family planning, so reach out to Washington Fertility Center to find what works best for you.