“A failed IVF is an emotional roller coaster journey not only for a couple but for us, the fertility team as well. Just as much as a couple wishes to hear ‘it’s positive’ after an IVF procedure, the fertility team so wishes the same. A couple’s failure to conceive after an IVF is truly a big loss for us too”
Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu
A Failed IVF – The Impact
Pictures of smiling parents and their new babies posted on social media feeds and magazine covers make in vitro fertilisation (IVF) look like a stroll in the park. But I know for a fact that only a couple who has gone through a failed IVF would truly understand how devastating it can be.
Denial – anger – bargaining – depression – acceptance. This is the grieving process a couple goes through after a failed IVF. The grieving they go through is somewhat similar to one who has lost a child.
“What if my IVF failed because I parked the car too far from my workplace and exert myself whilst walking?” or “Doctor, maybe you didn’t do enough for this IVF to be successful,” – the “what ifs” and blaming that ensues after a failed IVF can be endless.
And just as a couple grieves a failed IVF, a negative outcome is devastating for us, the fertility team too. My nurses, my embryologist and I – together, we put in our heart and soul to do everything possible in hopes of a successful IVF outcome for a couple. Unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
The average success rate of IVF globally is under 50 percent. This means that more than half of those who undergo IVF unfortunately do not get pregnant. A tough fact to digest, but it is the hard truth.
Coping Through Loss
After what seems like endless hormone injections, an egg extraction procedure, an embryo transfer and the waiting and praying for good news, a negative IVF result is profoundly depressing for a couple.
To a couple that has had a failed IVF, the first advice I give them is to take a break. I tell them to stop all medication and take as much time as they need to grieve and come to terms with the failure.
Some patients even go into deep mourning after a failed IVF, especially the woman for obvious reasons. To these couples, I advise them to seek the right help. I refer them to our Fertility Coach who helps them journey through the loss of a failed IVF which can be quite overwhelming and isolating.
Our Fertility Coach is truly a great help as she provides that extra mental and emotional support while assisting couples to navigate through their fertility struggles. Having struggled through infertility herself, she totally understands the journey of couples going through the same predicament.
The Next Step
I see failure as an opportunity to begin again – but more intelligently.
When an IVF fails, there can be a myriad of reasons. Usually, I will review a couple’s last IVF procedure to determine which areas could be improved to help boost the odds of success the next time around.
Depending on a couple’s situation, I may order additional tests such as Immune system tests, Hysteroscopy or Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA) which could potentially help improve IVF success.
To better increase the odds of a positive outcome, I advise couples to change their diet plans and adopt a healthier lifestyle. In some cases, I even advise couples to try out Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Yes, I believe in the benefits of TCM. Acupuncture which is part of TCM treatment has a calming effect on the body which helps make a person less anxious. A change in IVF protocol alongside this alternative medicine can sometimes do wonders.
Every couple is different and there is no one size that fits all. The path that is right will depend on a particular situation and what has already been tried by a couple before
There is HOPE
I always believe that a failure is not really a failure. It is success in progress. When you have had a failed IVF, don’t lose hope. It is not the end of the road to having that family you have always wanted. Seek the support that you need to get through this. Compassionate care is readily available at our facility for those coping and grieving through a failed IVF. You shouldn’t have to do this alone.
You are sure to have many questions. In addressing infertility, the sooner you have them answered, the better. Do list them down and call +6-03-80699333 (TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre, Puchong) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to consult with Dr Navdeep.