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Why do we call it a failure when an IVF cycle does not result in a pregnancy ?

Posted Oct 26 2009 11:02pm
The commonest outcome of an IVF cycle is that the clinic makes good quality embryos, but these embryos do not implant , as a result of which the patient does not get pregnant.

When the embryos do not implant, why do we call it a failure ?

Infertile women often have low self esteem and pin a lot of their hopes and dreams on their IVF treatment cycle. When we use a word like failure, this is like stabbing another dagger through her broken heart. The word failed is loaded with meaning and emotions. When we call it a failure, the patient feels she has failed in her test. She feels she has failed in her role as a woman in society , by not being able to complete her family ; as a wife , by not being able to give her husband a child ; and as a daughter , by not being able to give her parents a grand child. This reinforces her feelings of low self-esteem and she feels even more inadequate and incompetent . She often blames herself and thinks that her body has rejected the embryos, which is why the IVF cycle failed.

I think we should stop using the word failure when the IVF cycle does not result in a pregnancy because it is such an emotionally charged word. After all, it's the cycle which failed, not the patient ! And even if the patient does not get pregnant, the IVF cycle usually does succeed in making embryos ! Isn't this an important milestone ? And each IVF cycle does give us invaluable information which helps us help the couple to move closer to their final goal !

When a couple does not get pregnant the first month they have sex, we don't say they have failed to make a baby ! Can we think of a kinder and more accurate term when the embryos do not implant after IVF ?

Or are we too focussed on success to be able to do so ?
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