November 2021

Moving on after failure of treatment


We’re incredibly lucky to live in an age full of amazing technology and medicine which are able to fix and cure all sorts of diseases and ailments that simply wouldn’t have been possible decades ago. Although treatment for things such as infertility are a success most of the time, there’s always a possibility that things won’t work.



In general, infertility is defined as a couple who cannot get pregnant after a year of having regular unprotected sex. Although men and women are affected by fertility problems equally, causes can vary from males to females. These problems can be caused by many things, such as age, physical abnormalities, disease, and lifestyle choices.

Luckily, there are many treatment options available for people that are struggling to conceive. For women, the most common options include:

Surgery may also be required if the problem is a structural issue such as a fallopian tube blockage, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids to name a few. [2]

For men, treatment can be quite different. These include:

  • Surgery [3]
  • Medicine that treats hormonal problems
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART)



Unfortunately, although uncommon, treatment isn’t always a success. There can be numerous reasons as to why things might fail. With IVF for example, eggs and sperm must be viable to fertilize successfully. That fertilization must result in a healthy embryo, and that embryo must implant accordingly in the uterus. All of this is a delicate and precise process. [4]

Here are some common possibilities why IVF treatment might fail:

  • Eggs that weren’t viable: With age, a woman’s eggs will begin to diminish in number as well as quality.
  • Fertilization was not successful: Sometimes fertilization doesn’t happen. This can be because of the quality of eggs, or sperm.
  • Embryo did not implant: An inadequate environment to support an embryo, or a chromosomal abnormality are common reasons why an embryo may fail to implant successfully.
  • Inadequate number of follicles: Age plays a factor in the number of follicles available in a woman.
  • Lifestyle choices: Things such as smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol can directly impact IVF success.




When treatment isn’t successful, it can be a devastating blow for both you and your partner. If you’re in that situation, it’s important to take enough time to grieve and come to terms with it, and to also give your body a chance to recover – both physically and mentally.

When you’re ready, you should talk to your doctor about whether you should try again, and what chances you have of conceiving if you did give it another go. They may then suggest different treatment options or methods that might increase the likelihood of you getting pregnant.

If you’re unable to have more treatment, or you don’t want to go through with treatment again, you may find it helpful to talk to a counsellor to share your thoughts and feelings with them. This can be very beneficial for your mental health if you’re struggling to cope emotionally after a failed pregnancy. [5]



[1] Fertility Treatment Options for Women - Types, Costs and Success Rates (

[2] Surgical Infertility Treatment | Loma Linda University Center for Fertility (

[3] Male infertility - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

[4] Failed IVF Can Be Devastating. Here’s What To Do Next | (

[5] Getting emotional support | Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (