Whenever an IVF cycle fails, the first question patients ask is - What went wrong?

Now this is a very emotionally loaded term, because the moment you say, "something went wrong," it means that someone messed up ! Was it the doctor ? the nurse ? the embryologist ? or the patient.

This is the wrong way of looking at a failed IVF cycle.

Remember that when a husband and wife have baby-making sex, just because they don't get pregnant in one month doesn't mean anything went wrong, or that they did something wrong. They can't jump to the conclusion that they were having sex incorrectly, or his sperms are defective ! It just means that human reproduction is inefficient and that it takes time to achieve a pregnancy.

Now this is as true in the IVF clinic as it is in the bedroom - after all, we are just giving Nature a helping hand in the IVF lab, and substituting the test tube for the fallopian tube !

We counsel patients - "You need to take a longterm approach. You can't think of each IVF cycle on a single-cycle basis , because then you're very highly likely to give up , because it's such an emotional rollercoaster ride, and this can be very hard to deal with."

It's often a question of being patient and taking a long-term perspective. Yes, you will get pregnant - it;s just that we can't predict when this will happen.

Once you have found the right formula, and are transferring a top quality blastocyst into a receptive endometrium, then the secret for success is to stick to this, rather than keeping on experimenting and changing the protocol every cycle out of desperation.

What to find an IVF clinic which respects your time and intelligence ?
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Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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