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To ask if anyone stopped IVF after 1 cycle?

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ohbigdaddio Tue 14-Nov-17 10:55:30

Feeling pretty down at the moment! I'm almost 39, have never been pregnant and have done 1 IVF cycle which failed and have 2 frozen embryos to use. I am constantly told by friends and relatives to 'stay positive' and 'be strong' and 'it'll happen eventually'. I understand they are trying to help but it is very hard living day to day, emotions and mood up and down (mainly down!), listening to pregnancy announcements, hearing how easy it was for friends etc. Just waiting for our follow up appointment is a 5 week wait and I am constantly wishing weeks and months away to get to our next step in the process. All sounding familiar to many, I'm sure.

What I'd really like to know is has anybody had one cycle of IVF and decided, actually I can't live like this anymore – the constant hope and disappointment, all for something which may never happen?

I realise I sound sorry for myself (I am!) but I suffer from anxiety and depression and over the last few weeks have become increasing low. I have no self confidence and feel horrible about myself. I feel like a shadow of my former self and have had some dark thoughts. I think soon I will need anti-depressants and I am thinking maybe not everyone is cut out for this? Why should I put myself through years of IVF to the severe detriment of my mental health? Of course, I really want a family and have been told to expect to do 3 cycles but I have been thinking lately about stopping after trying with these 2 embryos and deciding I've put myself through enough. There must be more to life than this?

Rebeccaslicker Tue 14-Nov-17 11:23:14

I'm so sorry OP. I don't have anything useful to share save that I have a friend who felt as you did. I just wanted to say flowers and I'm sorry you're having to deal with something so shitty and feeling so down.

430West Tue 14-Nov-17 11:34:39

Oh op, I really feel for you. I'm sorry you're so low.

I'm an ivf veteran, and have often found myself questioning whether I wanted DCs at all, whether it was all worth it, seriously considering throwing in the towel etc

I had counselling and explored my desire to pack it in. I eventually realised that this was a self preservation thing - to stop meant protecting myself from any future hurt and disappointment and that was a very seductive idea.

Can I suggest you do the same? Really explore your feelings with a professional? My counselling was free and unlimited at my ivf clinic, does yours have anything similar?

If you genuinely want to stop, then just stop. Be careful though that you don't find yourself looking back on your life with regret. That must be an even harder place to be.

430West Tue 14-Nov-17 11:37:04

As a slight aside, Do you have any insight into why the cycle failed? A diagnosis of your infertility?

Perhaps come and join us on the infertility board and have a chat?

FlouncyDoves Tue 14-Nov-17 11:37:12

Maybe adoption? I’m sorry you’re feeling down about this, but you could make a real difference to the life of an unwanted/abandoned child.

430West Tue 14-Nov-17 11:41:07

flouncy I'm sure you mean well, but that has to be near the top of the 'things never to say to a person with fertility issues' list.

OP, might be an idea to actually get this thread moved to the infertility board? AIBU isn't the place for this discussion x

Kannet Tue 14-Nov-17 11:53:42

Please take your time before going for next transfer. I very nearly gave up after first transfer. It’s hard as the first transfer feels like the end of a long road, it’s so hard when it fails.

Speak to your dr about having a uterine scratch before your next transfer.

Be kind to yourself

FlouncyDoves Tue 14-Nov-17 11:57:38

430West - why is that? I don’t really understand the ‘I can’t conceive naturally or with IVF so that’s that’ argument. Adoption is a very viable, responsible and appropriate course to take if you unfortunately can’t concieve in the other ways mentioned.

I’m not saying the OP should decide to do that now, but there is that option on the table.

Capricorn76 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:00:53

OP get this post moved, there will be well meaning but clueless people on to suggest adoption or buying a puppy. They don't/won't get it and you'll just get more upset.

AngelaTwerkel Tue 14-Nov-17 12:02:06

"Adoption is a very viable, responsible and appropriate course to take if you unfortunately can’t concieve in the other ways mentioned."

It's insensitive because because the OP a) has heard this suggestion a million times and b) and is presumably a sentient adult who has heard of adoption before and has no doubt thought of it herself.

OP no suggestions but I wish you well, I can't imagine how hard it's been.

430West Tue 14-Nov-17 12:04:52

Flouncy Why don't you have a read of the infertility board? there are quite a few threads dealing with the subject of what is and is not a helpful thing to say to people struggling with this issue.

I do understand that you don't mean to be hurtful or offensive though. You're right, It is a superficially logical suggestion, but nevertheless a really crass and unhelpful one to most infertile/sub-fertile people.

Mrsdraper1 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:09:21

Flouncy adoption is not that simple. Many of the children put up for adoption nowadays have serious issues due to their difficult start in life and the support available to take care of them is seriously lacking depending on where you live. It's something you have to consider, you may want to provide a loving home but it may be very difficult to do so unless you have great finances to help pay for therapy etc. Especially if as the OP states she's now not sure she wants a child.
I agree with a pp who said maybe explore your feelings with a counsellor so you can really know your own mind and then hopefully it will be easier to come to a decision.
OP, I don't have any experience of IVF other than a close friend who went through it. We could see how hard it was for her. That said she probably didn't tell us the half of it. IVF is not an easy path.
Am sorry for what you are going through.

Rebeccaslicker Tue 14-Nov-17 12:15:11

Flouncy - it's not an "argument"! It's the most intensely personal and private feelings a person can have after being kicked in the teeth by nature. Are you really saying that someone who has been devastated by the inability to have their own child should simply accept your point of view that they can just adopt? And that's before you get onto the myriad of practical issues with it.

Please listen to the people going through it on this as you could really upset someone who is already feeling very broken.

If you're going through it yourself, or have been there, it's truly great that it was an option you could explore. But you're not everyone.

gabsdot Tue 14-Nov-17 12:26:12

We only did one IVF cycle. Actually it was half a cycle as it didn't work and we were told it never would so there was no point continuing.
It was good actually because we had total closure and had to move on.
We actually did adopt 2 children but that was just what we did and I'm not telling you that you should. Adoption is definitely not for the faint hearted.
Anyway. I'd suggest taking some time before you do the FET and then have that be the last thing you do. If it ends in pregnancy then great, of not then be prepared to move on.
IVF can be a rollercoaster. My friend did 8 cycles. Your priority should be your own health.

JustHappy3 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:29:49

I kept going with ivf until i knew i couldn't put ourselves through it again. The counselling the clinic offered was very very helpful and i urge you to take that to help you guys decide what's right for you.

Flouncy - you're getting a lot of flak when you're just saying something that many people think who don't know that much about adoption. Almost every single child adopted is traumatised and profoundly affected by their early experience. Adoptive parents have to parent differently and it's a wonderful joyous process but also extremely hard and exhausting. (I have a birth child from one of the early IVFs so know what i'm talking about.) It is completely different to parenting a birth child. You don't love them any less but people need time to process their infertility grief before they are even in a place to consider adoption.
Most "info evenings" are about brutally ramming that message home to prospective adopters. But many people still imagine there are relinquished babies in care (like in the 50s, 60s and 70s) and there are not. There are also many more approved adopters than children available for adoption so there are no guarantees.

Sashkin Tue 14-Nov-17 12:29:50

Flouncy, have you ever looked into the requirements for adoptive parents? In my area, you need to be both under 40, non-smokers, one SAHP (because the children available for adoption are so high need), and an ethnic match. We would have needed an extra bedroom, but in our borough three bedroom houses are around £1M, which we can’t afford on one salary. So while we did look into it while we were waiting for IVF, we knew we wouldn’t have been approved.

The children available for adoption are generally tweens who have been in the care system for a while and who have severe emotional and behavioural problems. There is another subset of profoundly physically disabled children who essentially need a home hospital setting. Quite a different proposition from having your own cute little newborn really.

I have the utmost respect for adoptive parents, and despite being a HCP I’m not sure I could do it successfully myself. It’s certainly not something to be undertaken lightly, or suggested flippantly to infertile couples.

EarlGreyT Tue 14-Nov-17 12:34:09

I'm an ivf veteran, and have often found myself questioning whether I wanted DCs at all, whether it was all worth it, seriously considering throwing in the towel etc


I also thought about giving up after the first round as it was so painful emotionally, I wasn’t sure I could cope with going through the emotions again. As 430west says, I think this was a self preservation thing and a way of protecting myself.

After a few months, I did feel able to go through with another cycle, but did also end up taking antidepressants for anxiety and depression. I don’t think this was purely caused by infertility/IVF, but it certainly didn’t help and I think that it was the straw which broke the camel’s back so to speak.

I’d also suggest getting this thread moved to infertility, otherwise more posters are likely to pile in with unhelpful comments about adoption and platitudes about thinking positive and that you’ll get there in the end which may well make you feel even worse.

I really do feel for you OP. I’d try not to make any decisions about how long you’re going to pursue this for when you’re still recovering from a failed cycle and be kind to yourself, this process is hard, really hard.

juddyrockingcloggs Tue 14-Nov-17 12:48:36

Firstly, massive hugs to you.

IVF is a massive undertaking and unless you have undertaken it then I’m afraid it’s impossible to understand how it makes you feel both physically and mentally.

I had 6 full fresh cycles. I had those 6 cycles because luckily we were financially able to do so (no NHS treatment in my PCT) by putting off absolutely every other necessity and because of my age at the time left me able to pursue it with more ‘time’ if you understand me? I was 23 at my first cycle.

I went into it expecting it to work and the more treatments that it didn’t the more bitter I became. I felt terrible at the time for being bitter but now I have come to embrace it because it was the way I was able to preserve me and my feelings!

You are in this position because life is wank at times, you don’t deserve it and of course the thoughts and feelings that go with infertility and IVF play havoc with your mental health.

If you were to stop at the one cycle you would still have given it your all. You gave it all that you absolutely could, we all have a limit where we have to put our hands up and say ‘I cannot take anymore of this’. It’s not being defeatist, it’s looking after yourself.

I have many good friends who I met over on a different forum dedicated solely to infertility.
Some of these ladies tried IVF once others numerous times, some got their dream, some had to make another dream. Some never even got to the first cycle because they just couldn’t put themselves through it. On that forum we all talk about OUR ‘journeys’ (god I hate that word but I can’t think of another!) and are surprised to know that there are hundreds in exactly the same position as us. Whether that’s one cycle or 10. We all still have it our all.

I think that perhaps it’s time to look after you for a little while. Those Frosties arnt going anywhere at the moment, so why don’t you take some time out for you, get to grips with where you are now, try and enjoy being you for while and then go back to it in a couple of months and decide how you are feeling then? A few months to decide where you’re at and what you want to do will affect nothing treatment wise but will allow you to refresh yourself a bit mentally and then if you do decide to run again you will be in a better place.

Separately, please don’t ever suggest to a woman who has just had a failed IVF cycle and is struggling mentally that she could consider adoption. It’s insensitive and whilst it is absolutely a viable way to become a mother for some, it is not for everyone and downplays the emotional yearning that many of us have to carry and give birth to our own child.

Lily2007 Tue 14-Nov-17 13:07:21

It's completely understandable. I know a couple where they didn't do IVF as she was scared and stayed childless.

My SIL did IVF and did carry on but gave up work for 2 years to cope. She ended up with a donor IVF cycle working after 5 attempts in her early 40s.

I did IVF much younger and said if my first cycle didn't work I wouldn't do it again. Thankfully it worked and then second DS was just a surprise.

I did seriously consider adoption but it was a 3 year wait and no less stressful. If you take on a much older child then there's less of a wait but think its still a year of being assessed plus an awful lot of support needed for a child who's lost its birth family.

I think counselling may help and holidays helped me if you can afford that.

PanGalaticGargleBlaster Tue 14-Nov-17 13:22:44

Stopped after third cycle, mainly for our own sanity and health of our relationship. Having seen the zombie like state of many couples in fertility clinic waiting rooms on their umpteenth cycle persuaded us to put a cap on it.

Aridane Tue 14-Nov-17 13:26:18

My sister stopped after first cycle. That was a pre-determined decision - ie to have one cycle only and if it worked, it worked. That said, her IVF was more a safety net against a 'what if?' mindset - ie if in 10 - 15 years time she / DH had thought 'what if it had worked?'

ohbigdaddio Tue 14-Nov-17 14:14:17

Thanks all so much for your kind replies. I was posting for traffic really and am not sure how to get my thread moved blush

I had counselling and explored my desire to pack it in. I eventually realised that this was a self preservation thing - to stop meant protecting myself from any future hurt and disappointment and that was a very seductive idea.

430West this really resonates with me. I'm entitled to counselling but as it's on the NHS they cannot offer regular counselling. So far I've been seen twice since the beginning of September. I think I need weekly support so am starting to look into going private. It's just the cost (we are not entitled to free IVF) that is worrying me but I know it is important.

I have unexplained infertility and we haven't had our follow up appointment to see what went wrong yet (if anything.)

I do have one fibroid which is protruding 10-20% into the lining of my womb but our consultant said it would do way more harm removing it and potentially create scar tissue. We had a private doctor tell us I needed a laparoscopy and potential removal of fibroid but we trust the NHS consultant and decided not to. In fact NHS consultant made us promise we wouldn't get it removed. This is, however, the only thing I know about my womb and so I am obsessing over the fact that maybe this fibroid is the problem!

zaalitje Tue 14-Nov-17 14:16:34

flouncy do you realise that around 25% of adoptions breakdown?

Do you realise that people often don't fit their LAs very narrow criteria? I had anxiety 10 years before I made my enquiry, I was on meds for 6-8 months, I declared it in the interests of transparency, thinking it would go in my favour. It didn't, they weren't interested.

You're asking people when have already gone through so much pain, feelings of failure and rejection, to open themselves up to more. It could be more than they can cope with.
The process can take years and often you won't even be considered to start the process for 12-24 months after a "life changing" event like a failed ivf cycle or a miscarriage.

StringandGlitter Tue 14-Nov-17 14:27:03

I did one cycle and a frozen embryo transfer, then stopped. I just couldn’t do IVF again. I was 39 then too. We then started the adoption process. It took us 3 years from that initial phone call and we have been parents now for a month to a lively six year old.

I get very annoyed at the “why don’t you just adopt?” Because those there years of uncertainty we’re really really tough. There’s a lot of grief and loss to face head on in adoption. It’s not an easy path although it is worthwhile. Our daughter is doing really well, it there are gaps in her upbringing that we need to support her with. We did lots of therapeutic parenting courses which helped.

DonkeySkin Tue 14-Nov-17 15:04:20

I did one cycle of IVF at 40, which was fortunately successful, but I do remember the tunnel of depression and anxiety that the whole thing provoked. Between the embryo transfer and the blood test I got so overcome with anxiety and negative thinking that I vowed I wouldn't do another cycle, even though we had budgeted for three. It really is as if you enter into another reality when you do IVF, and you can't see things clearly at all. I particularly remember the hyper-vigilance and blame I directed towards my body, which was especially unpleasant. A counsellor at the clinic helped me to manage those feelings somewhat, but ultimately it's a very isolating place to be.

I honestly don't know whether I would have given up had my first cycle not been successful, but I suspect not, and that probably the same thing that drove me to try in the first place would have kept me going. Namely, that I didn't want to have to face the deep regret of having not tried when I had the chance. At 39, you still have a reasonable chance of having a baby; in a few years, the odds will be significantly against you. Not trying to push you into anything, just offering a reminder that your current emotional state is probably distorting your decision making right now.

And I really think it would be worth it to get a third opinion on that fibroid.

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