A failed IVF cycle is devastating. You pin all your hopes on it working, so when it doesn’t you don’t know what to do next. We look for explanations as to why it failed to help us process it. and cope.
If we get an answer, it makes us feel better, because if we know the reason it failed, we feel we can make changes next time.
On the medical side there may be changes that can be made based on leanings from this cycle, but there are also questions you can ask yourself to help you recover and move forward.
Some questions to think about after you have had a failed cycle:
What am I pleased that I did during this round
It could be healthy eating, extra sleep, add on treatments, counselling/coaching, going to a support group, acupuncture, time off – think about what it is that helped you feel better going through the treatment, either physically or emotionally, so you can replicate the good things if/when you have another cycle.
What will help me recover from the failed cycle?
Look at how you have previously recovered from a great loss or upset, there may be something you have done previously, that helped you cope, that you could use now - seeing friends, time out to yourself, journaling.
Remember that it's ok to grieve, to take time to yourself and to do what you need to do to get through this time.
Use your support network and things that you know work for you. Support groups are great for providing advice, comfort and support from others who understand how you feel.
What can we learn from this failed cycle?
And based on this information, what can we do differently the next time to increase our chances of success?
Make sure you go to your follow up appointment armed with questions so you can find out if there is anything you can do differently next time to improve the chances of success (different medication, higher dosage, endometrial scratch). Talk them through with your consultant who will be able to advise based on your specific circumstances.
Remember that this isn't about placing blame on yourself or the clinic, It's about looking for positive changes you could make to feel like the outcome could be different and that you've done all you can to help increase your chances.
Do I need to take a break from treatment?
It can be tempting to want to get straight back in to your next cycle (I was the same!) as it feels like every month counts, but it is important to allow yourself time to recover so you can be fully prepared emotionally and physically for your next cycle or to make decisions on going forward.
I also run a free Facebook support group called TTC Support UK that you are more than welcome to join for peer support, advice and comfort from me and lots of lovely people who understand how hard it is.
This article covers lots of feedback I have heard from patients, in the hope that it will help doctors and nurses understand how patients really feel, and also help everyone that is going through IVF know they are not alone.