Monday, July 13, 2015

The Invisible Losses of Infertility

When infertile couples come to us for treatment, they are full of hope and we are also very positive in our approach to consulting and treating them. However, there are times when fate (is there such a thing at all?), has something else in store for them. Though we have pretty high success rates at our clinic, there are times when nature takes its own course and despite what we do, our attempts fail. Some couples go through multiple failed IVF cycles and are unable to conceive.

Whilst it doesn’t appear that these patients have actually lost anything tangible (in the physical sense), a number of people who face involuntary childlessness tend to suffer a very deep sense of grief and loss; this is something most people around them are oblivious to. Family and close friends don’t recognize that when you have to face the fact that you aren’t going to have the baby you wanted, you can feel very isolated.  For many women, this grief can be very intense and overwhelming.

Facing the reality that they are not going to be able to have children, can be heart-breaking to say the least; regardless of whether a couple is attempting to conceive a child in the bedroom or with the help of IVF.

The Invisible Losses

The loss that is linked with involuntary childlessness is far deeper than just not being a father or mother, since they also lose:

The chance of having their own biological family
Celebrating milestones with their children- their first steps, their first day of school . This is something most of us who are fortunate to be parents take for granted
The chance  to see their kids playing alongside their nephews and nieces

To make matters worse, many  suffer from the additional burden of  guilt, because they feel they have failed in giving their own parents a deeply desired grandchild.

 When Grief Strikes

For most women who face IVF failure, realizing that they aren’t going to be able to have a child doesn’t just strike them out of the blue. Many patients go through various  investigations and treatments(on account of the nature of their infertility issues) and for them, the reality of the situation becomes more  of a very “gradual process”. As they  go through multiple failed cycles and losses, they recognize that their chances of  becoming a mother are fading  before their eyes.

Many couples try for years before they finally  decide that enough is enough and that the  process was becoming  just too painful and difficult. People who have not going through IVF treatment, can’t even begin  to comprehend the emotional and physical  torment that an IVF patient  goes through and how their mind, body & spirit starts buckling with every failed IVF cycle.

When Grief Fades Away

Anyone who has trodden this path and walked over these brambles will also tell you that over time, the cloud of grief does lift. It’s important to give yourself the time and scope to get the grief out of your system.

Understand that it’s okay to go through phases that are bad; once  you tell yourself this, that becomes the start of the healing process
Communicate with friends and family or go to a counselor
Take some time out and do things that will keep you occupied and distracted
Remember that your body needs to recover, and be kind to yourself
Get the negativity out  of your system

Hope on the Horizon

For many women the psychological loss of the life they thought they were going to give birth to becomes the biggest invisible loss while dealing with involuntary childlessness. When it comes to grief, there are no rules and every woman’s journey is unique. You may not be able to get  rid of grief completely, but with time, the pain will lessen and you may just  find that there are other options  before you.

We do have a number of patients coming back to us enquiring and wanting  to know more about  options such as surrogacy and adoption- and in most cases, that becomes the start of a brighter journey for them.

Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better!

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