Nobody undergoes IVF expecting to fail. After all, we’ve all put our hearts, hopes and dreams in the procedure. This is the main reason why IVF failure hits so hard. For some couples, the disappointment is so severe that becomes almost impossible to recover.
My first IVF experience resulted in failure. My doctor retrieved five eggs from eight follicles. Of them, only two fertilized but none made it to a blastocyst. As a result, I was at least spared from undergoing a transfer and getting a negative pregnancy test in two week.
I knew that it had ended before it had even begun.
While I’m now impatiently awaiting IVF attempt number two, the recovery from the first failed procedure was difficult. A failed IVF attempt will have both an emotional and a physiological impact on you and your partner.
Every person recovers in a specific way from the failures in life. Here’s what I’d recommend to everyone who hasn’t been successful the first time around.
Cry Your Heart Out
Give yourself a couple of days to mourn. For the first two days after getting the news that the embryos had stopped growing, I was a complete mess. The same applied to my significant other, although he never shed a tear.
It’s ok to be emotional and let it all out. In fact, that’s the healthiest thing you can do. Allowing the emotions to get bottled up inside you is going to lead to a much slower recovery.
Take a day or two off work if you need to. Some people cope better when surrounded by others. For me, isolation works better. The kind gestures and consolation attempts over the phone only made me cry harder. I didn’t need that in the particularly vulnerable state that I was in.
Talk to Your Doctor
It may be difficult to get an explanation about what failed and how things could be changed the next time around. Still, having a conversation with your doctor and knowing your options is one of the keys to moving on.
I was lucky enough to undergo the procedure with one of the kindest and most compassionate fertility specialists. We had a talk a couple of days after the failure. She came up with an action plan, telling me what could be changed the next time around for a higher chance of success.
Refrain from making serious decisions about your future at this point of time. You’re emotional, you’re disappointed and you’re not going to be rational. Take some time before figuring out whether you want to do your next attempt with the same doctor or with another expert.
Go on a Vacation
Can both you and your partner take some time off work? If so, the time is ideal to go on a vacation.
We planned a trip just two months after the failed IVF attempt. It was our chance to relax and reconnect with each other. Needless to say, IVF puts your relationship on the backburner. Focusing once again on your partner and the love you have for each other will have a highly therapeutic impact.
Have a Conversation with Each Other and Come up with an Action Plan
My recovery from the failed IVF attempt involved one serious conversation with my partner. I decided to have the conversation a few weeks after the procedure. I was already feeling rational and calm enough to focus on the future and think rationally about it.
We decided to talk about the failure just once, to plan our next attempt and stop talking about it. So far, the plan is working great.
Our first IVF attempt occurred in May 2016. We are planning to try again in October. This way, we’ve had enough time to recover and we’re also acting fast. While I’m still young, I’d like to get pregnant soon. As long as we have the money and the strength for it, we will keep on trying.
Decide Whether You Want to Get Family and Friends Involved in the Process
Only three people know about our failed IVF attempt. I decided that sharing the experience with a limited number of people is the smartest thing to do.
Some people, however, prefer building a support network that features multiple people. That’s perfectly ok! Choose the approach that makes you feel good. Having to talk to multiple people about my IVF seems to be particularly stressful. This is the main reason why I preferred to have limited communication with a very small number of people about what happened.
Considering the Options
While I plan to have another round of IVF, I’m also open to alternatives.
It’s always a good idea to consider all of the possibilities and to come up with an action plan. This is particularly true for the individuals that have already undergone multiple failed attempts.
Adoption is a viable possibility. This is the one I will turn to if the next few attempts don’t deliver the desired results. Actually, I am determined to adopt at least one child even if I manage to get pregnant through a fertility treatment.
Whatever happens remember one thing – you have options. The fact that the IVF procedure has failed doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a parent.
Finally, remember that you’re not in this alone. If you have a significant other, you should lean on him and focus on the relationship. If you are going through IVF alone, get your family involved.
There are people who love you and who will be there for you, no matter what. Don’t forget about their love and rely on their support during the recovery. Chances are that they will help you overcome the sadness faster and help you to rebuild your positive outlook on the future.