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When a fertility treatment fails: how to cope

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Starting a cycle of fertility treatment automatically raises hopes of having a child, whether the patient has travelled to Spain for egg donation or undergone In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in their home country. Those trying to conceive via assisted reproduction are more likely to feel delicate, as it is possible they have spent months or years trying to get pregnant before asking for medical assistance. With this in mind, it is understandable that when fertility treatment fails, it may be difficult to cope. IVI offers psychological support to couples and single women who are undergoing fertility treatments, whether they have succeeded or failed. Our professionals at IVI understand the difficulties their patients face, and the stresses of each cycle, and aim to make each loss as manageable as possible.

Psychological preparation

It is important to go into each cycle with a realistic idea of the possible outcomes. Those who have been trying to get pregnant for a long time may expect the IVF treatment to work like a miracle drug, a painless procedure that will result in the desired outcome. While patients are encouraged to remain positive, they should also be aware that failure rates are relatively high. The first cycle has a 54% chance of resulting in pregnancy with IVI. This may seem like a high failure rate, but actually the chances of pregnancy with IVI are higher than national averages. Depending upon the type of treatment, there may be an even higher chance of pregnancy. We have an accumulated rate of 97% with patients who are trying to get pregnant, across three attempts. Our professionals talk through the issues and chances of success with each patient. Knowing what the success rates are for other patients in the same position may be the most helpful preparation that a couple or single woman can do before their/her first cycle of fertility treatment. Being prepared mentally for either success or failure is half the battle, and will help the patient to cope with the outcome. Couples should speak to each other to prepare for any eventuality, and will be able to lean on each other for emotional support should the worst happen. Single women are encouraged to have a friend or parent up to speed on their fertility treatment, so that they can be sure of having a comforting listening ear and moral support from someone who understands what they are going through.

Treatments and success rates

Different treatments can yield different success rates in terms of conception. Treatment can also result in a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage. Knowing what to expect can help, as it means that any failure is less of a shock to the system. There is also the importance of speaking to IVI professionals about different treatment options and their outcomes. Treatments based on egg donation in Spain may have a higher success rate than those based on egg donation in the home country. However, this may be down to factors outside the patients’ control. Getting to grips with all the issues surrounding fertility treatments across all clinics can really help to make sure that all parties are prepared for every eventuality.

IVI has 70 clinics in 13 countries around the world, which means that there is a wealth of experience behind every decision made. As a global leader in reproductive medicine, IVI’s rates of success are extremely good, and opting for IVI instead of another provider may make the difference when it comes to achieving conception. Nine out of ten couples who consult us see their dream of having a child become reality, and that is down to the expertise and experience of our professionals. When a treatment cycle fails, remember that there are other options and methods, and that even patients with two failed IVF cycles behind them can go on to conceive healthy babies and carry their pregnancies to full term. Of all our patients, 87% will get pregnant after three attempts of IVF. By understanding the different types of treatment and success rates, a patient may mentally prepare themselves for the possibility of more than one cycle and the likelihood of failing to conceive immediately.

Coping with loss

A couple or single woman who chooses to undertake fertility treatment has already proven themselves to be emotionally and psychologically strong. Facing up to infertility is difficult, and requires great fortitude. Deciding to undergo fertility treatment is no easy task, and no matter what the outcome, each patient should be recognised for the fortitude which led them to attempt to conceive with assisted reproduction treatment.

Some of the common emotions that result from a failure include shock, anger and sadness, and patients are often left feeling helpless. It is natural to look for someone to blame but, as with most medical procedures, often there is no one person or factor that a failure can be attributed to. The patient must not blame their partner, their medical practitioner, or, most importantly, themselves. Many losses are spontaneous, and outside factors have little to no bearing on pregnancies resulting in miscarriage. It is natural to feel despair and despondency, but also vital that patients make use of their support networks. Friends, family, and IVI can help patients through this loss and decide what the next step should be. Some may be willing and able to start another treatment cycle almost immediately afterwards. Others may need some time out for the natural grieving process. Both routes are valid, and the patient should remember at all times that their feelings are natural and normal.

Whether the treatment that has failed is the first cycle of IVF from egg donation in Spain, or the fourth treatment from artificial insemination in the home country, it can be hard to accept the loss. Preparedness and a good support system may make all the difference in terms of coping with failure and moving on to the next option. Whichever it is, IVI will be there to help.