Sometimes, IVF can become a long and drawn-out affair and can take you to breakpoint. So how can you avoid reaching that point? How do you know when it’s time to stop and say that you have tried enough and it’s now time to move on? A patient of mine had once posed this very valid question to me; she had failed 4 IVF cycles and had approached me for a second opinion.

She very plainly asked me “Should I do a fifth cycle, doctor? Isn’t it better that I just forget about it? Haven’t I tried my best already and haven’t I put myself through enough?”She had changed doctors, gone to different clinics, taken enough shots and had reached a point where she wasn’t sure what she was doing any longer.

She was stressed to an extreme point and wasn’t sure whether it was worth giving IVF another shot at all. She asked me “Is it really worth putting myself through all this stress and pain, just to have a baby? If I have failed 4 IVF cycles, is there any hope for me at all? Would you be able to do anything differently?”

No easy answers

The slew of questions was all ones that I had heard a multitude of times before from patients who had been in similar situations. The truth is we don’t really have the answers to these questions. So, if you have failed 4 IVF cycle, does that automatically mean that you will fail the 5th one too? Not really.

Those 4 cycles neither increase nor decrease the chances of failure of your 5th cycle. It might not sound scientific when I say this, but IVF is essentially a lottery ticket. As a patient, you will have to go through the same decision-making process all over again. It’s a process fraught with difficulties and I don’t really have all the answers.

Does this logic matter?

To a large extent, this depends on the patient’s personality. As children, our parents taught us to be tenacious and persistent and how it’s important to keep trying until you succeed. While this logic may hold water when you’re preparing for an interview or studying for an exam, biological systems don’t really follow logic.

Every patient has to know when to draw the line so that she doesn’t break-down or go to pieces. This point varies from person to person and depends on factors such as emotional resilience, personality, temperament, social support mechanisms, marriage stability and their finances.

You just need to very simply ask yourself whether your decision will give you peace of mind and this involves a lot of soul-searching. There are no easy answers and no one particular decision can apply to everyone. You need to make the decision that will work for you.  Take the path that you will regret the least. Remember that we rarely regret the things we do - but we often regret the things we don’t!

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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