Moving on after a failed IVF cycle

As I reflect upon my first IVF cycle this past October, and dealing with the negative results, I feel that it is important to share with you how I was able to move past the grief and hurt. Though I am still grieving the loss of those two beautiful embryos today, I am stronger and more determined than ever to have a family. The tips below apply mainly to an IVF or fertility treatment cycle, but many are relatable on a TTC level as a whole. Just remember, you are strong. God wouldn’t put you through anything he didn’t think you could handle.

  1. Don’t place blame. When faced with a negative HPT, it is often easy to think back through the cycle and blame the results on something, or someone. My advice? Don’t. It just wasn’t meant to be this time around. That sip (or two) of wine you had during stims? That’s not the reason the embie didn’t stick. All that soy sauce your husband has been consuming? That didn’t impact his sperm enough to make your cycle unsuccessful. All that stress you felt during the TWW? That didn’t keep you from getting pregnant either. It just wasn’t the right embryo, or the right time. Just know that you did all of the right things, and keep doing them.
  2. Prepare for your follow up. I cannot emphasize this enough. Go into your follow up session with a list of questions ready, because odds are the visit might be overwhelming. Here are a few of the questions I would recommend asking:
    • What is the reason this cycle failed? Egg quality, OHSS, poor response to stims, genetics, implantation, semen/fertilization, etc.
    • What are the odds that a second/third cycle will be successful?
    • Are there any additional tests I can perform?
    • Is there anything I can do to improve my egg quality?
    • Is there a new protocol we can try?
    • Are you participating in any studies?
    • What are the success rates for a fresh versus frozen cycle?
    • What about surrogacy? Egg/embryo donation?
  3. Allow yourself to FEEL. Cry in the shower, throw your shoes at the wall, and scream as loud as you can. You deserve it and you need it. Take a day or two off of work, take a hot bath, watch the movie or listen to the song you know will make you cry. Do this for as long as you need, you have suffered a loss. And you just spent a shit ton of money! Let your partner hold you (or vice versa), pray, write in your journal. GET. IT. ALL. OUT. You’ll feel better after you do, I promise.
  4. Treat yourself. Go out and buy a new outfit, or go to a special dinner with your spouse. Get a massage and a pedicure to help you to relax. It helps, if only just a little bit.
  5. Take the time that YOU need. There is no right amount of time to spend grieving the loss that comes with a failed IVF cycle. You might need a day or two, a week, or months! When you and your partner are ready, then you can discuss next steps together. Some people find that diving right into another cycle helps them, while others might want to take a few months off to try new supplements, therapies, etc. The point is, that is up to you. Don’t let outsiders influence when and IF you want to try again.
  6. Be proactive. Start a new diet, new supplements, or anything else you think might help increase the success of a new cycle. I find that being proactive and organized helps to ease my mind and the fear of a new cycle. Try eating avocados, or starting acupuncture. It might not help, but it certainly won’t hurt, and it will make you feel like you are doing SOMETHING while you wait for that next cycle to begin.
  7. Remember your relationship. I know you are upset right now, but your partner may be too! Be sure to check in on them and make sure they are coping as well. Also, try not to let the pain interfere with your relationship. It is important to remain close and in love, even during these dark times. Go on a date, see a movie, put together a puzzle, or go grab a drink (you’re not pregnant, so you might as well take advantage of it). You’ll find that closeness with your partner not only serves as a distraction but helps you both to feel better as well!
  8. Talk about it, or don’t. If you are like me, talking about issues really helps you to feel better about a situation. So confide in someone close to you and let them know how you are feeling. If you are the type who likes to keep to yourself, that’s ok too. There is no right or wrong way to approach the subject of a failed IVF. If someone asks you about the cycle and you don’t want to answer, don’t feel bad about it.
  9. Don’t give up. This is not the end of the road for you, there are still several options available to help you start the family you have always dreamed of. You can try a few more IVF cycles. Look into egg or sperm donations. And there is always adoption. There are so many children in our country and around the world who deserve a loving family just as much as anyone. You WILL have your family someday, right now the “how” is just up in the air.

 

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One thought on “Moving on after a failed IVF cycle

  1. I hope you’re continuing to do well after this post! Great recommendations for dealing with the sadness and disappointment of an IVF cycle that did not end in pregnancy.

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