Success stories of IVF: Giving Hope After a Failed IVF

When your IVF treatment fails, it is common to undergo moments of grief. In times like this, the success stories of IVF can help to make you stay positive and hopeful. Many couples who have conceived and have a baby via the test tube baby method have previously experienced multiple failures. One thing common in most of these couples is their persistence and determination to fulfil their parenthood dream. IVF journeys can be rough and drain you emotionally, mentally and psychologically, but always remember that there is hope after a failed IVF. You can also be a part of the success stories of IVF.

“A failed IVF is an emotional roller coaster journey not only for a couple but for us, the fertility team as well. As much as a couple wishes to hear ‘it’s positive’ after an IVF procedure, the fertility team wishes the same. A couple’s failure to conceive after an IVF is a big loss for us too.” Dr Navdeep Singh Pannu


The Impact of failed IVF

The “what ifs” and blaming after a failed IVF can be endless. Whenever a couple fails to get pregnant after the IVF treatment, they usually go through grieving. It starts with denial, where they refuse to accept that the treatment has failed. It then leads to feeling angry towards everything. They begin to blame the situation and everyone for the failure. They will start to ask questions like, “What if my IVF failed because I parked the car too far from my workplace and exerted myself whilst walking?” or “Doctor, maybe you didn’t do enough for this IVF to be successful”. These “what ifs” scenarios and unhealthy thoughts make them more depressed and exhausted. Then, slowly, the couple starts to accept the situation. The grieving they go through is somewhat similar to one who has lost a child.

As much as a failed IVF affects couples, it affects our fertility team too. Any unfavorable outcome is devastating for us. My nurses, my embryologist and I put in our hearts and soul to do everything possible in hopes of a successful IVF outcome. We do everything possible to deliver happy news to couples. However, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. The average success rate of IVF globally is under 50 per cent. More than half of those who undergo IVF do not get pregnant. A hard fact to digest, but it is the truth.

Coping with Failed IVF

Going through various steps during IVF may exhaust you physically and emotionally. The process, which includes hormone injections, egg extraction and an embryo transfer over 2 to 6 weeks, can be tiring for those undergoing the IVF treatment. It is a challenging journey for many couples out there. Thus, I understand how devastating it must be for you when the treatment fails. I usually suggest my patients to give time for their body and mind to rest and heal. Here are some suggestions that you can considered if you have failed your IVF treatments.

• Stop Blaming Yourself 

The failed IVF treatment may cause you to think of all the “what ifs” and you may start to blame yourself for the failure. It is important for you to know that IVF success rates are affected by various factors. Even under promising cases, the transfer of fertilised eggs may not end with a positive result. Anything can happen. The fertility specialist will usually analyse and explain the next step after IVF. So, stop blaming yourself. Talk to your fertility doctor and plan your next step patiently.

• Take a Break

I would advise a couple that failed IVF to take a break. You may feel the rush to hop on to do another IVF cycle. However, give yourself and your partner a break. Stop all medication and take as much time as you need to grieve and accept the failure. Some patients even deeply mourn after a failed IVF. To these couples, I advise them to seek the right help. Getting proper aid will direct you to prepare emotionally and physically for the next cycle or to take the next step.

• Approach a Fertility Coach

For couples who are deeply mourning and do not know what to do next, I suggest they meet our Fertility Coach, who will help them cope with their failed IVF. You may feel depressed, guilty, and worthless. Sometimes, the inability to express emotions can also be overwhelming and isolating. Our Fertility Coach is a great help. She provides extra mental and emotional support while assisting couples in navigating through their fertility struggles. She can help couples work through their feelings and advise them on the best fertility plan. She will give you the support you need to function through the grief.

• Read or listen to Success Stories of IVF

Reading or listening to success stories of IVF is an excellent way to cope. These stories shared are usually filled with the struggles and emotional rides couples faced during their journey. It may not be the same for you. However, hearing similar stories may give validations to your feelings. The stories could be a reminder that you are not alone in this journey. It can give you hope and help you cope with your journey.

• Get Involved with Fun Activities

Couples need to engage themselves in different activities that can distract them from their problems. They may go cycling, attend yoga classes, watch movies, gardening, take art classes and many more. Such activities may give them peace of mind and make them feel good. It also is a good distraction from dwelling much on the failure of IVF.

What to Do Next?

I see failure as an opportunity to begin again – but more intelligently. When an IVF fails, there can be various reasons. Usually, I will review a couple’s latest IVF procedure to determine which areas could be improved to help boost the odds of success the next time. Depending on a couple’s situation, I may order additional tests such as:

Immune System Tests- It is a test that figures out any issues that may cause the IVF treatment to fail. It checks different aspects of the immune system. When the immune system is over- or under-activated, it may result in repeated pregnancy loss or infertility.

Hysteroscopy – It is a tool that helps examine the uterus condition. It checks whether the uterus is healthy and ready to carry a baby. It can spot things that ultrasound can’t. A tiny camera is inserted into the cervix to check and treat any potential threats before implanting the embryo.

Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA/MIRA)- It is a test that can increase the chances of getting pregnant. The test helps to check the endometrium lining and plan the best day to transfer the embryo. The doctor will scrape the uterus lining during the test to collect the tissue sample. After that, the sample is sent to check the right time to plant the embryo.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)- This male-related infertility treatment is an additional part of IVF. This treatment involves injecting sperm directly into the egg to fertilise it. This procedure allows the doctor to choose a healthy sperm to be fertilised with the egg, so there are better chances for pregnancy.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) – A genetic test is done on embryos from IVF before the transfer to the womb. It is an extra step on top of IVF. If there are any congenital disabilities or chromosome problems, the embryos will not be transferred. Couples can avoid passing on any genetic disabilities to their future children.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – To increase the odds of a positive outcome, I advise couples to change their diet plans and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes, I advise couples to try TCM. Yes, I believe in the benefits of TCM. Acupuncture which is a part of TCM treatment, has a calming effect on the body. It can help to make you less anxious. A change in IVF protocol alongside this alternative medicine can sometimes do wonders.

Every couple is different. There is no one size fits all treatment. The right path will depend on a particular situation and what has already been tried by a couple before. Consult with your doctor to check other possible ways to become pregnant.

Do Not Give Up

I always believe that a failure is not a failure. It is a success in progress. If 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 proper support that you need to get through this. Compassionate care is available at our facility for those coping and grieving through a failed IVF. It would be best if you didn’t have to do this alone. With the proper treatment and the right motivation, your story can also be part of the success stories of IVF.

You may watch this video to find out more : Success Stories of IVF

You are sure to have many questions. In addressing infertility, the sooner you have them answered, the better. Do list them down and call 03-80699333 (TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre, Puchong) or email ask@drnavdeepfertility.com to make an appointment to consult with Dr Navdeep.