When IVF doesn’t work

ivf_science-300x168It’s something no one wants to think about when they are starting out on a fertility journey, but the truth is that IVF doesn’t always work. We know that average success rates in the UK for an individual cycle are around 26%, which means a 74% chance of it not working. In reality, as recent research has shown, cumulative success rates are far better and over a course of treatment, the majority are likely to have a child – but even so, IVF is not going to work for everyone, something this article from Australia illustrates.

It may seem as if treatment not working would be the most unbearable outcome possible, but I have been really struck by pioneering childless women like Jody Day of Gateway Women and Lesley Pyne who show that this doesn’t have to mean the end of your hope for a happy future. Jody’s Gateway Women offers a chance to get together with other women in similar situations and she runs workshops and events, Lesley offers support through her blog, newsletter and one-to-one sessions, and there’s also help to be found from More to Life which offers support and regional contacts for anyone who is involuntarily childless. It may be useful to see a counsellor, and BICA – the British Infertility Counselling Association – can provide a list of specialist qualified counsellors across the UK, some of whom offer Skype or telephone counselling too.

Information after an unsuccessful cycle

Although we know that the average national success rates for IVF are only around 25%, which means that the majority of individual cycles are more likely to be unsuccessful, that doesn’t mean that the fallout after finding out that your treatment hasn’t worked is in any way diminished. It can leave you feeling totally devastated after you’ve invested so much time and emotion, and often money too, in a cycle.

If you’re looking for advice or support in this situation, there is an Infertility Network UK information pack which you can download free from the website. It contains lots of information about different options and advice too. You can download it here, and you may also want to browse through some of the other support options available, such as the free Supportline and the wide range of fertility groups which hold get-togethers across the UK.