When reading this blog, you might be aware that IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization. It is the most successful treatment available for individuals/couples suffering from one form of infertility, however, it requires an investment of energy, time, money, and hope…

Whether an IVF is successful or not depends on many different factors – often, multiple IVF cycles might lead to a pregnancy, without any guarantee. IVF fails when a woman either does not become pregnant at all during treatment or when the implantation of an embryo leads to pregnancy – however, a miscarriage takes place.

IVF and the emotional implications 

For most individuals, an IVF journey begins with mixed feelings such as curiosity, doubt, excitement, and fear. It might feel like a rollercoaster ride accompanied by hope, and despair in dealing with all the necessary medication, injections, medical procedures, and endless motivation to get through this, and eventually fulfil a dream. 

And then a negative result gets revealed. 

Failed IVF – first step

Speak to your doctor – based on the professional’s input, you will be able to understand the reasons for your failed IVF. Common reasons why the treatment fails are female age, quality of sperm used, embryo implantation failure, low egg quality, low ovarian response, and genetic abnormalities in the embryo. Once you understand the reasons for your failed IVF cycle better, you can decide how to move forward. 

Apart from the medical part, there is the emotional side of things.

Failed IVF – emotional support to facilitate recovery

A failed IVF cycle can be devastating. Some individuals might experience frustration, sadness, or at times anger. Even when no pregnancy was achieved, the emotional response would be equivalent to pregnancy loss and might lead to the same stages of grief, including a depressive phase. 

Giving yourself time to heal is essential – make time for yourself and get the emotional support you need to recover. For those who never went through an IVF themselves, it might be very difficult to understand the grief of a pregnancy that was not created successfully. Having said that, sometimes speaking to friends and family members might not make you feel supported enough to get through such a difficult time. You are still not alone in this: 

Support groups 

Many couples are going through similar experiences in their IVF journeys. Support groups are there to share experiences, learn from each other, and get inspired by other people’s coping strategies in a safe space. 


You might wish to attend some counselling sessions to process the emotional impact of your failed IVF cycle(s). It can help you identify what exactly you are feeling, acknowledge these feelings, sit with them, and accept them. Suppressing emotions might lead to an escalation later – you will learn how to cope best during this tough time. 

Attending couples’ counselling with your partner can bring about better mutual understanding. If we are honest, IVF cycles can easily turn into a real stress test for your relationship. You will learn how to open up to each other about your feelings and perspectives on the IVF journey, support each other, and work on figuring out how to move forward as the question is often whether to try again or not. 

As mentioned earlier, there is no guarantee that IVF will be successful. It takes approximately three attempts on average to conceive depending on many different factors. Whether you decide to try again or not, it is important to properly process what has just happened and what this means for your life going forward. In my opinion, by differing, the two one is stating that normal pregnancy is not the same as an IVF pregnancy – almost diminishing it as a pregnancy. 

This is even moving forward from where failed IVF could be a miscarriage which is a pregnancy loss.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with the Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health. 


Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. (2022). Coping if treatment doesn’t work | HFEA. Hfea.gov.uk. https://www.hfea.gov.uk/treatments/explore-all-treatments/coping-if-treatment-doesnt-work/

LA IVF. (2022, March). Multiple IVF Failures: What Are the Next Steps? |. Https://Laivfclinic.com/. https://laivfclinic.com/blog/multiple-ivf-failures-what-are-the-next-steps/

Malik, I. (2021). How To Stay Positive After Failed IVF. Fertilitydost.com. https://www.fertilitydost.com/articles/article-details/how-to-stay-positive-after-failed-ivf