Questions to ask after a failed cycle (to get ready for your next cycle)

Sarah Banks
Fertility Coach and Mentor, Sarah Banks Coaching

Emotions and Support, Failed IVF Cycles

All the questions that you should be asking after your failed IVF attempt.
From this video you will find out:
  • How to cope immediately after a negative pregnancy test?
  • What are the things I am pleased that I did during this round?
  • What will help me recover from the failed cycle?
  • What can we learn from this failed cycle?
  • Do we need to take a break from treatment? At what point?
  • Where can I find TTC support online?




What should I know before I start my new IVF cycle?

In this OnlinePatient Meeting, Sarah Banks, Fertility Coach and Mentor, helps you formulate questions you should ask yourself after a failed IVF cycle in order to get ready for another attempt.

- Questions and Answers

I just had an egg retrieval that resulted in internal bleeding in my abdominal cavity and a blood clot that lodged between my diaphragm and liver – how long would you wait after trying again. They think an artery was nicked. What questions would you ask the dr about this? He acts like it was no big deal and I’m scared – what if the ovary was damaged?

I’m so sorry, I hope you’re feeling all right after that, and I’m not medically trained, so I’m not able to advise on a medical point of view, but if you’re concerned, don’t feel bad about asking your doctor again. I’d say if you’ve got questions whether you’re well and whether there are any actual medical issues still then I definitely go to see another doctor. If you’re not happy with the answer, you could always get a second opinion on that. I think it’s really important, you know your body, so get that checked, don’t be afraid to ask and say that it’s really bothering you, I’d make sure that you’re medically safe first before starting any other treatment because you don’t know if it could impact the treatment, but that’s definitely a question I’d ask your consultant. Try to explain your worries about what you’ve gone through and check that there’s no health implications or implications on treatment. Ask if they’ve checked if it was damaged or if they know it’s not damaged, if they say that it’s definitely not, you can check if they have scanned it, what have they done to check that. I think in terms of how long to wait before trying again, I think it’s completely personal. I would say sort out the medical side first that you’re comfortable there and ask your consultant, but you’ve got to feel emotionally ready because it’s going to have a bit of an impact. The fact that you’re concerned about that I’d definitely make sure that you feel comfortable, that all the medical side is safe and ready before you start trying again, and you know maybe speak to if there’s a counsellor at the clinic, maybe speak to them about what you’ve been through while you’re waiting in the meantime. Don’t feel afraid about asking the questions again to make sure that you’re okay even if they’ve acted like it’s no big deal. I would say tell them why you’re concerned and ask if they can talk through it with you again. I hope that helps and I hope you’re okay as well.

Are you going to give us examples of support groups? My husband doesn’t like talking about the failures but is supportive of me taking time to recover. I found the counsellors time checked, so I always left the calls raw. How can we find the right people to help us prepare for the next move?

In terms of support groups, there are quite a lot around on Facebook, all of them tend to have the same group rules about confidentiality and keeping things safe within there and not talking outside of the group. I certainly have that, and there’s no judgment, so I’d say closed support groups are great because they are full of people who’ve been through it themselves, places like forums are probably a little bit more public than closed groups. There’s a lot of support on Instagram, so it does not support groups as such, but if you open an account under an anonymous name then you can post things and get some support on there, and as I said you’re more than welcome to join my group. I check it every day, to make sure it’s staying safe and the people are okay in there, it’s really hard, if your partner doesn’t like talking about it, but it’s because you must get support as well. If you’ve found that the counsellors don’t really help some people find it a bit like it’s a ticking a box that they’ve been and they’re not always best, and it’s not for everybody. I think in terms of how we find the right people to help us prepare for the next move, it depends on what helps you recover. For me, I went to see a life coach because after my failed cycle I felt that it wouldn’t work next time, I was convinced, it wouldn’t work again, and I needed to get myself out of that, and I didn’t feel that seeing a counsellor and talking about it would help, and that might be just my perception of counsellors at that time, but that’s why I went to a life coach because I felt I needed somebody to help me to make an action plan to move forward and which is what really helped me because they gave me techniques to stop the spiral of worrying and that really helped me. I’m a very action-oriented person, and I wanted to have that kind of support, but some people like to process what’s already happened, so counselling is more for them and some people like acupuncture because they get the health benefits, but it’s also a bit of talking therapy. For me, the needles always put me off, and so it depends on what kind of person you are, but if you want, you can email me, and I can try and signpost you, and in the right direction of anybody that can help based on how you are, then please feel free to message me, you can get a lot of support anonymously, so you know it takes away that worry of your husband finding out about it as well, and so if you can join something anonymously then that’s a good way around, it’s less personal for you but as I said if you want to email me and say what kind of thing helps you, I can try and signpost you in the right direction.

Do you have a list of good questions to ask embryologists after a failed fertilization or embryos that disintegrate?

I don’t have a list, but that might be a good blog to try. I would go and ask if you get chance to speak to the embryologist, I find them really helpful actually, they don’t get much contact with patients, so I find that when they get a chance to be asked questions, they’re really helpful with it. I think just generally asking how it works if they can explain why this might have happened to you, is there anything you could do differently to stop this happening, is there anything that could have caused it, so I think it’d be a lot around lessons learned from what happened. If you’ve tried IVF the first time, and there was a failed fertilization, that next time they’d look at ICSI instead. Actually, they found that the sperm quality had gone down since the sample or actually, because of the failed fertilization, they’d probably look at doing ICSI next time anyway. I’m not sure how much you know, but ICSI instead of just allowing it to happen on its own, they’ll find the best sperm and inject it straight into the egg, so in terms of that it’s around the lessons learned, what can you learn from what’s already happened and why might it have happened, what can we do differently next time to stop that happening, so if it’s embryos that disintegrate and is there any vitamins or anything like that you could take, is there anything you could do differently, is there any medication so it just is around what can we learn from what happened but if you can get in front of an embryologist then that would obviously be helpful because they’ll know more than the consultant. I hope that helps, but I’ll have a think and see if I can think of anything else.

Are there certain endorphins a patient give off or receptors a person can adapt to or make stronger., besides acupuncture?

I’m not sure, I’m afraid because as I said I’m not medically trained, and I don’t understand hormones that much, but I’m trying to think who it might be worth following, people who are nutritionists or hormone therapists they may have a better, so there’s quite a lot of that on Instagram, there is fertility nutritionist, there’s Rosy Life, and they’re two ladies I know that are really lovely and really good and are a lot more upon this kind of thing that may be able to advise certain dietary changes that might make that happen. I’m not sure if you’re against acupuncture as I was, although people have told me that it’s not bad at all, especially if you’ve been doing your own injections through IVF but if you’re concerned about acupuncture it might be worth speaking to somebody about it. If you have a look on my website I’ve got an interview with an acupuncturist, and she explains the process so on the blog sections on my website if you go through, there’s an interview with an acupuncturist, so she may be able to give you a bit more advice from in the interview that might help with the understanding of acupuncture. Other than that I’d say maybe look at people like nutritionists to follow on Instagram so that you could ask them that because I’m not able to answer I’m afraid as I’m not sure.

I am a single woman using donor sperm. I have had my first negative result just today. I started to bleed heavily on day 8 after transfer. Are there particular questions that you would suggest for after transfer: progesterone doses etc.?

I’m really sorry about that, I hope you’re feeling okay, and that you’ve got support around you as well. I’m guessing that the question could be should you have been taking more progesterone but definitely and they’re some of the things that I would say to ask your consultant for next time so lessons Lenart. Would having a higher progesterone dose have helped, things like that, so I just say what have we learned and was your protocol right. I would just doublecheck what could be done differently, whether they could leave you a bit longer for your lining to increase, is there anything you could have done differently, is there anything in terms of aftercare after the transfer that they’d recommend doing next time and following this, and so I would go in kind of with an open mind with questions like what would you recommend, we do differently that could improve the chances next time.

I’m 42, had 3 miscarriages and now a failed IVF. Only one egg could be retrieved, so I have to start from scratch again. I have now started acupuncture, and they say I should wait 3 months before starting again but time is ticking. Anything you can advise?

I can completely understand that with time ticking. I’m not sure if you mean that the consultant has said to wait 3 months, whether your acupuncturist has said to wait 3 months. If it’s your acupuncturist, I’m guessing it’s because they feel starting from a 3-month point might be beneficial but what I would say is I’d speak to your consultant before waiting because they’ve said so because your consultant may say actually every month counts and that they think that the best thing to do would be to get started again sooner. I think it’s probably better based on when they can look at what happened in your IVF cycle and analyze what happened in your cycle, what lessons they can learn. I would definitely say to speak to your consultant around the waiting because they may say with your age and your previous cycle that it’s better to start sooner. Talk to your acupuncturists as well and say the same, that you’re worried about time and what difference does it make waiting 3 months. Ask if there is anything you could do while you’re waiting to get started sooner, and your consultant says that’s the best option, is there anything that can be done on a shorter time frame for you. That might be ideal, and that’s great if you’re younger and that might be an ideal time scale they want to start before someone starts treatment, but I think it’s probably getting all the information so you can weigh up what your best chances are. I’d say speak to your consultant if it’s your consultant that said about waiting 3 months that might just be from a medical point of view and why they think it’s worth waiting for.

How do you cope with pregnancy announcements or new births on social media?

It’s really hard, I remember myself and looking for them at times when we were trying. I have a full blog on this on my website with loads of tips, so please have a look at that because there are loads more information on there. One of the main things I’d say is to maybe take time off from social media. It’s difficult because at the minute it’s almost been a bit of a lifeline with us all being locked in our houses and not being able to really see many people, but I’d maybe take some time off social media if you find that it’s really triggering. You can’t escape from it there, we all sit with our phones, and it’s very hard you’ve got no safe space because it’s always accessible and so I’d say maybe just take a little break from social media if you’re finding it hard. Try and spend time with friends who maybe aren’t trying to get pregnant, so that you don’t have that immediate announcement there from them when you’re out and about. Just focus on looking after yourself, so I’d say switch off from social media would be my biggest thing, it’s also hard if your support groups are on there as well. Spend time with people that are supportive and that are unlikely to be making announcements anytime soon, spend time as a couple and just do things that really recharge your battery so maybe have a digital detox, focus on reading, or watching box sets, going for walks and things that help recharge your batteries and relax, but remember it’s all right to feel sad when you see those things, and it’s all right to feel jealous, it’s all right to feel frustrated that things seem to be happening easier for everybody else. I felt all of those things and then felt the guilt for feeling those things about friends, but it’s completely normal, so it’s really important not to beat yourself up about that, it’s really normal, and we all feel the same. Just take care of yourself, do anything you can to help you relax and feel good about yourself.
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Sarah Banks

Sarah Banks

Sarah Banks is a Fertility Coach and Mentor who works with patients and clinics to offer a broad range of support to suit each individual’s needs. She has written and published the IVF Positivity Planner, a journal combined with coping strategies and coaching tools to help you feel happier and stronger whilst TTC and going through IVF. She also works with fertility professionals to enhance their patient experience, through staff coaching and training, and creating a support structure that gives patients a range of support options and ensures staff understand their individual responsibility for patient care. Sarah set up and runs two online Fertility support communities, regularly supporting over 2,000 patients, and hosts two local support groups to provide emotional support for those in need. Through her work with fertility clients, and her own personal IVF journey, she has a deep understanding of the impact to emotional and mental health that infertility causes, and the support that is needed.
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Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.