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Coping with a Failed IVF Cycle

Effective Strategies

 By Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar

If you have ever faced difficulty in conceiving naturally, testing negative for pregnancy might not be any new for you, but witnessing the single line post an IVF cycle hits very hard. A failed IVF cycle often leaves you upset and panicking about what next can be done. But for women who have never personally fallen prey to infertility and have never undergone an IVF treatment, the understanding of how it actually feels post a failed IVF cycle is mainly impossible. The multifarious emotions involved, are not easily understandable and the agony you have suffered to end with nothing; is quite challenging to even imagine.

When we speak about a ‘failed’ IVF cycle, the damage is unbearable, the irritation and fury of it all come crashing down, and you understand you won’t be able to get your little bundle of joy this time. But it is vital to note that an unsuccessful IVF cycle can offer a lot of information for a positive subsequent IVF treatment. Most issues understood in a futile first IVF attempt can be effectively addressed in order to eliminate or lessen its probability from occurring in a second IVF cycle. Nevertheless, if you have experienced a failed IVF treatment, there are many things you can do to aid you in coping better with your day-to-day life. Below mentioned are some effective strategies on how to cope when IVF does not work.

Never blame yourself or your partner: If you have experienced a failed cycle, it does not mean that you or your partner have done anything wrong. This is just biology and nature doing its job, your medical experts have definitely done all that they could to handpick the healthiest embryo to implant into your womb and post which things get beyond anyone’s control. There is definitely nothing that you can do to influence an embryo inserting effectively. Hence you must stop playing the blame game.

It is ok to vent your emotions out: An IVF cycle that has not worked out is equal to the loss of a dream which is distressing for many aspirant parents. It is completely ok and natural to feel this way. It is essential to take the time out to express sorrow and deal with the painful situation, or else the feelings won’t go away. Instead, they will keep on piling in you and can further grow to control every aspect of life. Hence you must allow yourself some time to enable the healing of your head and heart.

In your follow-up appointment focus on what can be done differently: The moment you and your partner are ready you should meet with your fertility expert to access the cycle, comprehend the various results and form an expected success rate for the second attempt of IVF. Try to avoid making any decisions until you have met with your doctor. You may find that there are modifications that can be made to the protocols that might facilitate your odds on a subsequent cycle. There may also be more advanced techniques or fertility surveys that can be conducted.

Medical Points to discuss with your doctor at your follow-up appointment: The first thing that you must discuss with your doctor is the receptivity of the endometrium that is discussing your implantation window. In certain patients, the timing of the embryo transfer has to be modified because the lining of the uterus gets ready either earlier or later as compared to the normal schedule. Therefore, your health expert may suggest an ERA test which is why you must discuss the same with your doctor to check if you are eligible for it and need it. Secondly, you must discuss about the quality of the embryo because sometimes despite the egg and sperm being nice and healthy, the quality of the embryo may not be great and hence the cycle might not have worked out. Thirdly you must discuss about creating a fresh batch of embryos because if a certain batch has not given you a fruitful pregnancy and if you have already attempted two transfers with the same batch of embryos, then probably creating a new batch of embryos will give two benefits that is – it will give us a different batch to work with and secondly it also gives us more number of embryos so that we have enough for further attempts. This is because the success of IVF increases with every successful attempt. The next thing that patients can consider is looking into doing finer tests. Hence taking the HBA test or sperm DNA fragmentation test for sperms. Other interventions to discuss with your doctor would be how to time the next cycle, you must discuss about taking a break and what you must do during the break. In the transfer cycle itself, you must consider increasing the number of embryos. This means in case you had a transfer with one or two embryos, you must consider getting three embryos transferred because sometimes an increase in the number of embryos increases your chances of pregnancy. Lastly, you can also discuss with your doctor about getting a sequential transfer done, which is putting one embryo on the third and one on the fifth day and this might also improve your chances of pregnancy.

Implement appropriate lifestyle changes: Following an enhanced fertile lifestyle sends the brain signals that a new and healthier strategy is being presented, and it can hence anticipate having a restored outcome. Modifying your lifestyle could include regular workouts, weight management, averting smoking and reducing alcohol intake, avoiding caffeine and learning new ways to manage your stress levels.

Consider Egg Donation: In cases where advanced maternal age or identified genetic illnesses are hampering egg quality, it might be a good option to talk about the prospect of making use of a donor egg. While it’s true that the baby will not carry the female’s inherited material, fertility clinics work exceptionally hard to match couples with egg donors that tend to meet their own bodily and individual profiles. In exchange, you are assured the chance to produce embryos from young, healthy eggs, which can considerably upturn your chances of IVF success.

Consider Embryo Donation: If your embryos seem to be of bad quality, the reserve of your egg is too low to retry and/or the male partner has an infertility analysis, you can embrace donor embryos. It’s an exceptional route to enjoy the wonder of pregnancy and giving birth.

Get yourself counselled: Counselling with an infertility expert on issues can be extremely helpful. Most coupled tend to gain a lot of strength and hope from counselling.

Nurture your relationship: Sometimes with any disturbing loss like a failed reproductive cycle can take a colossal toll on your healthy relationship. For some couples, the relationship itself can become less significant than the aim of having a child. Hence one should foster your relationship with your partner, spend more time talking and being sympathetic to each other’s grief, and endure to make time for yourselves.

Although in present times IVF success rates are improving day-by-day, IVF failure can occur and it can often take tea numeral IVF cycles before a patient being able to witness a fruitful outcome.

Doctors’ Advice: Because one IVF has failed does not mean that the next one is going to fail too. About 50 percent of the people for whom the first IVF cycle did not work will fall pregnant with the next attempt. Hence having one failed IVF is not the end of the world.

Dr. Rajalaxmi Walavalkar, is a Medical Director, Senior Gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Cocoon Fertility

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