Undergoing IVF fertility treatment is an incredibly challenging journey. It takes a toll on one’s body and one’s emotional wellbeing. It can tax the finances, put pressure on your relationships and the most distressing part of all, is that IVF is never a guarantee that you will one day cradle a baby of your own in your arms. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there is real data and real pregnancies to prove that there is always a reason to have hope.
Technology success rates for IVF are continually improving. Couples facing challenges such as male infertility, tubal and pelvic factor disease, age and menstrual cycle irregularities are increasingly finding success with IVF. So too are women who have previously had “unexplained” reasons for not conceiving.
You can still conceive naturally after a failed fertility treatment. An important study conducted by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that 17% (around 1 in 6) of women for whom IVF was unsuccessful, went on to have a live birth, without treatment, within five years.
Mild IVF. Also known as Mini IVF, Mild IVF is a good treatment to explore if you are under 45, have a low or very +Low Ovarian Reserve, +Endometriosis or other similar reproductive obstacles. And most importantly, Mild IVF is a viable alternative to egg donation. The treatment also eliminates the need for excessive amounts of artificial-stimulation medication, which means that the uterus is more receptive – and its lining is healthier – increasing the chances of successful implantation. Mild IVF also completely removes the risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which can be a dangerous side effect of medically induced artificial stimulation. Talk to your fertility team about the pros and cons of Mild IVF as an option to explore given your specific set of needs.
What to do after an unsuccessful IVF cycle
• Seek support. This is a traumatic experience for everyone. A failed IVF is not your fault. It is also not the end of the road. But be kind to yourself and get help from your family, friends, your religious community, a fertility counsellor – anyone who has your back.
• Once you’ve had a chance to regain your balance, review your previous cycle with your fertility team and discuss your next steps.
• Refocus on making your health and wellbeing a priority.
• Keep the lines of communication as open as possible with your partner.
Don’t lose hope. IVF technology is advancing at the speed of light, which means that your chance to conceive is also improving. And if you decide not to undergo another cycle, remember that you can still become pregnant on your own.