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How To Cope When Your IVF Fails


IVF CAN FEEL LIKE A LIGHTHOUSE OF HOPE WHEN YOU’VE SPENT YEARS TRYING FOR A BABY. So how do you deal with it when you find out that the IVF cycle has failed? All hope is gone as a tsunami of emotions wash over. I know these feelings well. I have had my own personal experience and lots of other women have told me about these very same feelings.

Here are some things to remember, at a time when you might forget.

You didn’t do anything wrong. Do not blame yourself. Here are some examples of blaming yourself.

  • “I should have stayed home and rested more.”
  • “I should have waited until the supplements had more time to impact my eggs.”
  • “I should have taken time off work.”
  • “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”

As human beings, our mind tries to make sense of the failure and gain some form of control. It’s so easy to blame ourselves. Your actions had no impact on the outcome of your treatment, and you’re self-sabotaging. Using self-compassion techniques, instead of self-blame can make this difficult time easier for you.

Take some time to grieve

A failed cycle can feel like a loss. A lost opportunity, loss of hope, loss of what you had dreamed of happening. Unfortunately, the grieving is compounded by a slurry but of hormones and the beginning of a new cycle, which can make the experience worse. Grief isn’t linear and taking some time to heal is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Embrace THIS time

Order sushi, have a salami sandwich, perhaps a glass of red wine? Give yourself a break from all those limiting restrictions that have taken a hold of your life. Allow yourself to let go. Remember this doesn’t mean letting go of your desire to be a mom. Let go of all of that which no longer serves you.

This isn’t your final destination

A bad day does not mean a bad life. A failed treatment does not mean that treatment will never work. One FET fail does not mean all the embryos are bad. Different IVF protocols can elicit different outcomes. If you don’t allow yourself time to process and grieve, it may be more difficult to get back to balance.

Get Support, you are not alone

Attend a support group or see a counsellor. You are not alone. These feelings aren’t permanent. You are loved; you already are whole and YOU deserve to be supported.

  • Mother Yourself (this one was written by a client who recently had a failed embryo transfer).
  • Remind yourself: I am learning to mother myself through the entirety of my IVF journey, even more so in times of loss and grief.
  • Understand the necessity to feel through all the stages of grief: shock and denial, anger & bargaining, sadness & depression, acceptance, & then move forward.
  • Appreciate that you have gained because what you have learned from your first failed transfer is that you really can get through anything, a resilience born from befriending & overcoming pain.

And here are some thoughts to consider

  • a gratitude for grabbing life while dancing with infertility
  • to relinquish attachment to a specific outcome
  • to spin the wheel of life and see where it lands
  • to be happy where I am
  • to be open to what life brings my way.

Amira is a Social Worker in Toronto, Ontario. She works in private practice with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. She is also a mother of three miracles.

Bridging Hope & Acceptance

Amira Posner

Amira Posner is Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. In addition to working with individuals, couples and families providing therapy in a secure and safe setting, she is a member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). Amira is also a certified hypnotherapist.

Amira Posner

July 7, 2023 • 3 minutes

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