You are here
Negative Pregnancy Test After Infertility Treatment
Dealing with a negative pregnancy test result can be one of the hardest things to cope with during fertility treatments. It brings forth numerous emotions, such as disappointment, despair, anger, and frustration. You may feel that money, time, and energy have been wasted. Feelings are often tinged with a sense of guilt as well — women often blame themselves, and feel they have let others down by failing to conceive.
Ask your doctor the following questions:
- Why do you think the cycle failed?
- What was the quality of the eggs, sperm, embryos, or uterus?
- Should I do another treatment cycle? If so, will you change the protocol? How? Why?
- Are there any additional tests to troubleshoot for undiagnosed factors?
- Are there any special therapies I should consider?
How long you will need to wait before attempting another cycle depends on many factors. Some treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be done back to back. Usually doctors ask the patient to wait one complete menstrual cycle before beginning another assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). This gives them time to "regroup," evaluate what was learned from the prior cycle, and determine the next steps. Sometimes tests will be done to ensure there are no complications, and these can delay subsequent cycles. In addition, it is important to be emotionally ready to try again. A failed cycle can be draining, and you need to be in a good frame of mind before another attempt.
Thinking ahead, patients often ask how many cycles they should do to improve their odds of a successful outcome. It has been reported that success rates do not decrease significantly until after four or more unsuccessful cycles. Likewise, studies show that most pregnancies from ART happen in the first four attempts. For some, however, repeat cycles are not an option. The high expense, the lack of insurance coverage, and the emotional intensity involved prohibit them from trying again.
Each patient’s situation is different, making it important to speak with your doctor and review all options before making any decisions.
Home Pregnancy Test (HPT)
Most doctors will tell women undergoing fertility treatment to avoid HPTs and wait for the more accurate blood test given by your clinic about two weeks after transfer. Sometimes hCG levels aren’t high enough yet to be detected by a HPT but will show up on a blood test.