What Happens To Women When IVF Fails?

Undergoing IVF, also known as in vitro fertilization, is a deeply personal journey that is often fraught with fear, pain, and discomfort. IVF is also a bit complex. Women are first given hormonal injections to foster the creation of several eggs (via Mayo Clinic). Once those eggs reach maturity, they are extracted during an egg retrieval process. Then, they are combined with sperm and fertilized in a lab. The fertilized eggs are then placed directly into the uterus.

Couples can use their own eggs and sperm or they can use donor eggs and sperm if their own isn't a possibility. Yet, with so many moving parts to the process and the causes of infertility so varied, IVF doesn't always result in a healthy pregnancy. Many people go through IVF multiple times, which can be quite expensive. Each IVF cycle can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, as per Forbes, and many people undergo multiple cycles.

For those who undergo IVF and never proceed to a healthy pregnancy or birth, it can be devastating.

Unsuccessful IVF results in devastation for many

Katy Seppi, 40, told CNN of her IVF journey, "For those of us who close our infertility chapters without a baby, we're often met with unsolicited advice, reinforcing the narrative that we obviously gave up too early." Seppi suffered from endometriosis and fibroids, which worsened with IVF, so she chose to stop it and have a hysterectomy. "I stopped to protect my physical, emotional, and mental health,” says Seppi. "My heart would shatter every month when I'd get my period, and I didn't know how much more I could take."

"The toughest part was feeling like we are getting somewhere to have five embryos and end up with none with no actual chance to do a transfer." says 35-year-old Meaghan Hamm who had five embryos that didn't survive.

April Barsby, 32, was left with only one mature egg which didn't take, and says that seeing Jennifer Aniston open up about her fertility struggles in her Allure interview will help bring awareness. "Having no baby at the end can be extremely disheartening and destructive to a person's mental health," she says. "I'm not sure there's any right way to normalize infertility, but to talk about it and let the women and men share their stories is a good start."

If you need support in the IVF journey, check out RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.