Monday, February 18, 2013

IVF failure stories

Most IVF websites are full of IVF success stories . They highlight patients who did IVF treatment , and are now happily pregnant ! Such stories do serve a useful purpose – they give hope to infertile couples that it's possible for them to have a happy ending as well ! These stories carry a lot of weight, because they are first person accounts from some who's “ been there, done that “. If patients can get firsthand information from another  patient ( who knows how to reduce the pain of the injections; and how terrible the two week wait is ) , they are able to prepare themselves much better for their own treatment.

However , I wish there was a separate section for IVF failure stories also ! It's a fact of life that not all IVF cycles will be successful – and the majority of them do fail . It’s very hard to cope with this failure ! These stories would help patients to do so, so they can pick up the pieces of their shattered dreams, and continue their quest to have a baby. These stories help them to prepare for the worst, so they become emotionally resilient ; and can start considering Plan B options such as adoption or childfree living, instead of being paralysed into inactivity when the IVF cycle fails.

Unfortunately, it's very hard to get patients who have failed IVF treatment to share their experiences . They think of themselves as being failures - not just as their IVF cycle as having failed . They bottle up their emotions and keep their hurt to themselves. I think this is a shame , because a lot of their knowledge and hard-earned wisdom and experience would be very helpful to other people who go through the pain of experiencing a failed IVF cycle. Equally importantly, these stories would give infertile couples a much more balanced , realistic perspective of what IVF treatment is like . The truth is that not all IVF cycles have happy endings – and that even if the cycle fails , at least you can have peace of mind that you received good quality care - and that life continues on , even if the cycle fails .

IVF failure stories ensure that patients have realistic expectations ; and remind them that IVF cycles are more likely to fail than to succeed. The fact that other people have dealt with IVF failure successfully will help them cope better in case their cycle fails. Patients do learn to bounce back after a failed IVF – it’s not the end of the world, or the end of the journey !

These stories would also make my life as an IVF doctor much easier , because I spend a lot of my time counseling patients after the IVF cycle has failed and these real life first hand accounts would provide a useful resource for patients. Reading these stories would boost patient’s morale in case their cycle fails, by reminding them that other people have dealt with the failure successfully !

I think patients would also have a lot more respect for IVF clinics which published their IVF failure stories. One criticism against IVF clinics is that they paint a very rosy picture – they overpromise , because they want to attract patients for treatment. This means that they aren't always forthcoming with the truths, and sometimes hide the downsides of IVF treatment. An IVF clinic which had a section of IVF failure stories would mean that they had the patient’s best interests at heart, and were willing to portray the complete picture - the unvarnished truth about IVF - warts and all ! Any intelligent patient would respect such a clinic. One reason IVF clinics are worried about putting up failure stories is that they feel that patients may get put off as a result of these stories, because they may discourage patients. I think we underestimate the intelligence of our patients ! They are smart enough to learn the truth – and the more open and honest we are with them , the easier it will be for clinics to cope with their disappointments in case the cycle does fail. A common complain patients have is that when they come for the first consultation, the IVF doctor is very sweet – but when the cycle fails, their IVF doctor abandons them.

I think all of us learn a lot more from failure, rather than from success - we learn more from adversity than from our good times. Both IVF patients and clinics can learn a lot from IVF failure stories.

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  1. My IVF failed the very first time I did it. I was broken and shattered but then I realized that despite the heartache life moves on and it is upto me to how to move on in life. Thankfully me and my husband took in a stride and don't dwell on the failure or our baby less life. We have accepted the situation and realized that there are people with more serious problems, life threatening diseases etc. We at least have each other and our health for which we are thankful to God. I had met Dr. Malpani for initial consultation and he had explained very patiently about IVF, its success rates and how he would give us the best of treatment, medicines and care but ultimately the Hand of God also plays an important role. Dr. Malpani gave me good advice however for some personal reason we could not carry out the procedure with him. We went to some other clinic there I saw and met women who were completely stressed out, trying for 4-5 times and dreading failure and thinking that life begins and ends with a baby. There I was reminded of Dr. Malpani's words and wise wisdom and promised myself that I would not be like those suffering women. As I embarked on my IVF journey there was hope, excitement and joy but I never thought about the journeys end. The two weeks wait was stressful, my mind would wonder to what soon as that happened I would start reading my fav book or listen to a song or a bhajan. It helped. After the Two weeks wait the result came negative..i was shattered, my husband was disappointed but he just said two words 'Never Mind'. Those two words said with support just helped me heal. AFter that we discussed in length our situation and came to the conclusion that there are people who are in worse situation then we are but life never stops for anyone. We decided to move on and live life to the fullest. After three months we again transferred the frozen embryos and too was not a success. We want to give IVF a second try however as we are in the Defense sector we have been posted out from Mumbai to a smaller city. Its been more than a year but we are at peace. I keep reading Dr. Malpani's blogs and news letter, they really help you to get a perspective on IVF. In fact even though he was not my doc but he has helped me cope with the situation. Hopefully we will get back to Mumbai soon and meet Dr Malpani for the second round OF IVF. However let me also say that we are very very hopeful that second round will work out for us but at the same time I think we are mentally prepared for a child less life.

    1. Anonymous10:19 AM

      this is my failure story. I am 44 year old and i have done five IVf 2 frozen and rest not. I have received the result of the last one on 6/8/15 and it shatter my world. This is my last trail and with age, have no money it was end of my journey. There are time i am having anxiety attack wonder why this happen to me. Why i did not get my child as a younger age. Why miracle did not happen. Why God could not have mercy on me. I am in so much pain. I guess lives goes on and i have to accept my failure

  2. Dear Sinolchu,

    You are a thoughtful person and this journey will make you stronger and better able to deal with life's vicissitudes !

    And it's not a child less life - it's a child free life :)


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