You may have spent years trying unsuccessfully to conceive, or saving to fund fertility treatment, in the hope of having your own family. 

If you don’t qualify for NHS treatment, you may have spent a lot of time researching clinics and treatment options. Going through IVF is a lengthy process, with physical and emotional demands, lots of short notice appointments and an unknown outcome. So how much thought have you given to what comes after IVF? What if your treatment is unsuccessful? What if your treatment is successful? Are you prepared?

What are my options if my IVF treatment fails?

Sadly, IVF doesn’t work for everyone and there are no guarantees. It’s useful to be prepared for this outcome, just in case. Having your pregnancy test at the clinic is a good idea, so that you can get any support you need.

Having a negative test after IVF will feel devastating and counselling can help to deal with the feelings of anger, frustration, jealousy, sadness and grief that you may experience. 

It may be that another cycle of IVF isn’t an option for you. Perhaps, for financial or other reasons, all of your hopes were pinned on the one cycle, or maybe you have already tried several cycles and decided it’s time to stop. In this case, you may wish to consider other options, including fostering or adoption.  

If you are considering further IVF cycles, it’s important to allow yourself the time that you need to recover emotionally and physically before trying again. Any inflammation caused by the medication needs time to subside too. It’s also important to allow your fertility specialist time to consider the reasons why the first cycle failed. Although couples with high egg quality are most likely to be successful with their first attempt, it could be that your specialist can recommend tweaks to your medication to increase your chances. Equally, something may also come to light that might suggest that further cycles may not be likely to succeed.  Your fertility specialist is the best person to advise you on your next steps. 

Positive pregnancy test after IVF

What happens if I get a positive pregnancy test?

A positive pregnancy test could leave you feeling in a state of shock, especially if you’ve been trying very hard to prepare yourself for potential disappointment.  

You may want to see a counsellor to talk through any feelings that you have at this point and to help you to move forwards from your experiences of infertility and IVF. 

The clinic will advise you on the next steps to take after your positive test result. 

You will be invited for a scan and in most cases, your pregnancy will then be treated like any other. If you are in a higher risk category, due to age, potential issues with the pregnancy, you are expecting multiple babies or you have a more complex medical history, then the clinic would be able to give you the further instructions and support that you may need.

The general advice is that as expectant parents, it’s important for you to attend for any recommended scans, continue to take the advised dose of folic acid and to follow a healthy lifestyle for the benefit of you and your growing baby. You may already have been following a healthier diet and limiting your exercise to recommended amounts and your doctor can advise you on any other changes or adaptations to make. 

There is a wide range of support out there for expectant parents, including NHS and private ante-natal classes. Make sure that you are aware of what to expect at each stage of your pregnancy and if any symptoms are extreme or you are anxious about anything, then contact your GP for further support. You will also have the opportunity to discuss at your scans and ante-natal appointments any questions that you have around your pregnancy and the birth.

At The IVF Network, we are aware of how many questions people have when they are going through infertility and IVF and also relating to pregnancy and birth. Through our dedicated channel of experts in the field and through the information on our website and in our blog posts, we aim to help you to make informed choices at every stage of your journey.