Failed IVF cycle- how to cope... - Fertility Network UK

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Failed IVF cycle- how to cope...


*warning long ranty post*

So our first IVF cycle failed spectacularly on Tuesday. Despite 20 eggs collected, 17 fertilized and 9 embryos doing well right up until the day before our planned ET by the time of our transfer only 2 had reached blastocyst (more like 1 and a half really) with nothing to freeze. We were recommended considering our low numbers to put both back and hope. We knew it was a long shot our ET would succeed but its still been devastating to find out its failed. I genuinely didn't think it would happen like this, I did everything right, I cut out everything that could have been negative, I never missed treatment, I battled through severe side effects of medication thinking it would all be worth it.

I don't know how to begin to cope and go back to "normal". Family keep suggesting I do all the things I couldn't do before to "treat myself". They don't understand I don't want to do all that stuff it holds absolutely no interest to me. I have never felt so disappointed, sad and empty in my entire life.

That's our funding finished any further tries will need to be self funded and that just adds pressure to an already difficult situation.

Does anyone have any advice/tips on how to cope with a failed cycle, if you do I would love to hear them!

21 Replies

I have had one failed cycle so I am no expert.....

When we did ours I was stupidly expecting to get loads of embryos for the freezer and was prepared for lots of cycles. We did have 1 for our fresh cycle and 1 to freeze so were grateful, especially reading this forum and understanding the process more and realising it is not so simple....

We were just numb after it failed -

After our failed cycle I had to get away - we went on holiday and I indulged in all the things I had denied myself for the 3 months before the IVF cycle.

If you feel you need counselling then it might benefit you to process the failed cycle.

Give yourself time and spend time only with people who care about you and make you feel good.

Sorry I don't have any other answers/advice.


InfertilityTeam in reply to Hidden

Thanks so much for your reply. Numb is definitely how I feel.

It's tough. You never really get over the devastation but you learn to live with it. Take some time out and decide what your next steps are in terms of funding etc and what options are available to you. This is not the end but a bumpy road. I'm gearing myself up for the next transfer as my first transfer failed and it's tough as not sure how I will cope with another BFN but I have to keep trying. Good luck on your journey xx

Thanks and good luck to you too! Hoping for a big fat positive for you xxx


I found the first cycle the worst to deal with. Like you, it was our only funded cycle. I was teary for a long time. Having 2 close friends to talk to it about was a saviour.

I coped with my 3rd failed cycle far better than my first.

Have you looked in to Access Fertility for funding future treatment? We were frustrated to only find out about this after funding our own second cycle. It just takes some stress out of the money side of things although it doesn’t include the cost of meds. We changed clinics so we could use Access Fertility.

Most importantly now, is just to allow yourself to go through the tough emotions of it all.


Thanks I'll look into xx

Planning helped for me, so, making a plan of what our next steps would be which in my case after first failed cycle was getting a laparoscopy/hysteroscopy to check my womb, my tubes and dilate my cervix. You should be offered a follow up at your clinic (as part of the funded round) so definitely get that booked in. And I’m so sorry for your loss, it is a loss and therefore you’ll need to grieve x

Thanks so much I always like a plan myself too.

Hey Hun, I am sorry it didn't work out. My first failure I took it so hard. I honestly felt like I was the worst woman in the world and I couldn't give my husband a baby. My husband and I both took time out and went on holidays and enjoyed each others company. Like you we only had one cycle which was funded by the NHS. The following year we tried again, and paid for it. This again failed. I was heartbroken. However we managed to freeze embryos on this cycle. I was out on different medication. Third frozen cycle worked! I am currently 5 and a half months pregnant. Please read my previous posts. I know how you feel and wanted to give up all the time. Just felt so low. But we came through it by looking at the positives in life. We supported each other and made sure we had "us" time. This journey isn't easy. And I am thankful everyday xx

Really sorry to hear that, I've heard times a healer but to be honest I think you've taken a great first step just by posting. I'm really proud of you for reaching out for help and not trying to handle all of this alone. Too many people suffer in silence and I think you're showing a lot of bravery and resourcefulness, I hope that time helps for the pain to become less raw x

It’s amazing how often I read posts on here and think “I could have written that myself!” I’m so sorry that your cycle failed and I know exactly how you feel. I had four failed cycles before I decided to give up in June. I couldn’t handle the emotional trauma any longer, so I decided to try to accept that I will never be pregnant, and move on. Time is the biggest thing, I think, but I’ve also been having lots of therapy and talking to friends about it. I have also taken on an allotment which has been an excellent distraction! The hardest part is not being hard on myself. I am trying to be kind to myself, which is difficult because I feel a lot of self-loathing from infertility. We are also starting to look into adoption and to look forward to the idea of becoming parents, even if it’s not in the usual way. But really, it’s just super hard and so so sad. This is a good place to talk about things too. Xx

The first cycle failure was definitely our worst. It was the only cycle which my wife cried for days when it didn't work. It was our only funded cycle with the NHS, looking back we were unprepared if it wouldn't work.

We educated ourselves after that kick in the teeth, read that at least 3 cycles were needed to have anything like a good chance for it to work, couples who work first time IVF are very very lucky and beating the odds. WE had many failed cycles after that, but somehow it was never even close to that first time.

Just take a break, and make a plan, that's what got us through, worked out how we can pay for it, and how many cycles , the refund programs if you're 37 and under are a good way to get 3 cycle treatment and a refund if it doesn't work ( but they do assess you first before you can get on the program)

Take time to heal yourself and so many couples know what you're going through , don't give up hope xx

Hi first time posting but your story really touched me as we’ve also just failed our first round a few weeks ago. We are self funding so as well as all the usual worries we are of course concerned about costs mounting.

Since our failure I’ve started accupunture and hypnotherapy. Have also been told that reflexology is worth trying. In addition we’re both now taking supplements (Maca, Ubiquinol & Royal jelly) in addition to the usual Pregnacare plus I’m also taking DHEA (the micronised version).

Whilst we were completely devastated by our failure at egg collection (naively we hadn’t prepared ourselves for failure at that point) I feel like our journey isn’t over yet. At the moment we are trying to stay positive although I know how difficult that is - our thinking is that we take a bit of time off and hope that the additional things that we are now doing will have a positive affect and give them some time to get into our systems.

I’m truly sorry for anyone that has to go through this and it all feels so unfair at times.

I wish you all the best of luck with whatever you decide are the right steps for you xxx

Hey, I saw your post yesterday and wasnt sure what to write but here goes as Ive no tips really....Ive had 3 failed cycles so far and its looking like this current one may be heading the same way! I actually sometimes feel like I cant do it anymore but I always seem to muster the determination from somewhere, like I wont be beaten although I must admit the more I do this the less likely this seems. I feel like planning my next treatment/step is my way of getting through it. Im a bit of a planner and its my only way of control anything and I always feel better with a plan. I do of course treat myself and wallow for a little bit too eating and and drinking gin....usually end up crying into a gin or wine but I think its good to cry and get it out. There are no firm ways to get over failed cycles so just take it a day at a time and do what you feel is right for you! Huge hugs!xx

I am so sorry to hear this, I completely understand what you and your partner must be going through.

The first cycle was NHS funded. I had 21 eggs collected but only three managed to go to blastocyst stage. Two of them were good quality and the third not so good. We followed our clinic’s advice to put back only one and froze the other two. I was naively hoping that this first cycle would be successful but I got a bfn. Then I had a self funded frozen cycle which led to a missed miscarriage. The third self funded cycle was successful, even if the embryo was not good quality.

This journey is a tough one. It has had an impact on my self esteem and I believed that I was so rubbish that I couldn’t do the most easy thing in the world for many people. I also felt that I was letting down my husband and my family for not giving them a baby.

I will now tell you what helped me cope after every failure.

1. Review of the failed cycle and trying to understand why it went wrong

2. Discuss with the clinic the next steps

3. Travelled abroad where I’m from and had a second opinion and extra tests. This reassured me that I was on the right track and I was doing everything I could.

4. Had counselling. I totally recommend this. I learnt to see positives in a negative situation and try to do things I enjoy and live life as it is. I learnt that life is unfair but it’s also short.

5. Travelled with my husband and had a relaxing holiday.

Good luck darling, don’t lose hope. IVF usually doesn’t work first time. Xx

This is one year since my failed cycle. I did everything positive to help my cause. Like you I had 20 eggs collected and none resulted in a live birth. A part of me died. And that to me is the only equivalent. I've gone through different levels of grief and like a numb ache I am living and dealing with it.

InfertilityTeam in reply to PC4U

It is incredibly hard isn't it. You definitely go through different levels of grief and there's an ache and a sadness in me now that wasn't there before and I think will probably always be.


Its so devastating when it doesnt work. We paid for 2 rounds ourselves and both rounds failed. The first round was awful, poor quality eggs and sperm and none made it past day 1. I was really banking on the 2nd one working as i did everything. Acupuncture for 3 months upto day after ET. DHEA, multi vitamins and folic acid, Omega 3, cut out sugar and alcohol for 3 months. Ate plenty of veg and salads. Had 2 fab looking embies on 2nd go, both 8 cells on 3 day transfer and 2 weeks later i came on. I literally cried for 3 weeks. Drank a lot of Baileys ate huge family sized dairy milk bars and downloaded a load of games on my tablet to keep distracted. Also watched One More Shot on Netflix to help me know i wasnt alone. Now going for 3rd round in Cyprus in October. If this doesnt work we are giving up. I never did the counselling as just wanted to plan my next round after having a few months off. I wish all the luck for your next go Xx

InfertilityTeam in reply to Hidden

Thanks its so tough, fingers crossed for October for you xxx

I can relate to this completely. how I felt damaged by this experience of infertility and how I feared I would never recover from it. I know I was at a low point in but reading other peoples posts on this forum gave me hope that I will one day lift myself out of this sad place. And I actually came out of this. I am on this forum for moral support now. How these people helped me get out of a terrible phase I want to help someone too. So many people will be able to relate to this. much love and support for you xx

Thanks so much for this. It helps to feel like you aren't on your own with everything. X

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