After many months of preparation, you have had your embryo transfer and the waiting began. You crossed your fingers and toes and ate the french fries. You wore your lucky embryo transfer socks, you followed every suggestion, even the superstitious ones.
And then, you got the results from your beta.
You’re flooded with emotions. You wonder what you did wrong. You’re worried about your Intended Parents. Their hearts must be broken, too. Do they blame you? Do they still want you? Is there something wrong with your body? Could you have done something different?
This is not your fault.
Please, please, do not feel like it is your fault if your embryo transfer is not successful. It can take more than one embryo transfer to achieve pregnancy. At least one study suggests that up to 6 embryo transfers may be required to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Embryo transfers fail for many reasons. When Intended Parents follow up with their fertility doctor they may discuss:
- Egg quality
- Sperm quality
- Embryo quality
- Percentage of embryos that appear healthy
- Fertilization rates achieved when creating embryos
- Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, or PGD
- Medications used to achieve optimal uterine conditions for implantation
Your Intended Parents may decide to try something different. If they did not have genetic testing done on their embryos prior to the failed transfer they may decide to have their remaining embryos tested. Intended Parents may decide to use an egg donor, if they did not use an egg donor previously. If sperm quality was a factor, they may decide to use donor sperm. Your Intended Parents may pursue embryo donation. They may need to take a break from their surrogacy journey to regroup and consider their goals and budget. You and your Intended Parents may both need time to grieve the failed embryo transfer.
Your emotions and feelings are important.
It can feel selfish to mourn and grieve the loss of what never was. You may feel guilty for being heartbroken about the failed embryo transfer knowing what is at stake for your Intended Parents. These feelings are normal and valid but not true. You are allowed to feel a sense of loss. You’re invested in the surrogacy journey and had sincere hope that this would be the day you had great news to share with a deserving family. You want nothing more than to help your Intended Parents have the child they’re longing for. Your heartbreak is every bit as valid as their.
Be gentle with yourself.
Do not allow yourself to take blame. You are not to blame. So much of Invitro fertilisation can be chalked up to luck. Everyone involved can do all of the right things and it can still take many embryo transfers to achieve a successful pregnancy. Your body and actions are not at fault. You’re doing the right things.
Seek support from a professional.
Proud Fertility is happy to provide you with counselling and support as you process the loss of the failed embryo transfer. We have connections with Canadas most sought after loss counselors. We will connect you with someone who can help you hash out your feelings and prepare mentally for future communication with your Intended Parents, facing upcoming embryo transfers, and processing your feeling of loss.
Find your tribe.
You are not the first hopeful Surrogate Mother to not achieve pregnancy following your first (second or more) embryo transfer. You can rely on your Surrogate Sisters during this heavy time. Share in our Facebook Group for virtual hugs and advice. Connect one on one with other Proud Fertility Surrogates who can be a listening ear and truly understand how you are feeling.
Take care of yourself.
Whether you’re prepared to undergo further transfers, or you are not sure about how you can endure the process again, take care of yourself, body and mind. Keep taking your vitamins, eating healthy whole foods, and seeking out emotional support. Self care at times of mourning is so important.
You will move past this loss. With the right support and self care, you will be ready to move forward.
From all of us at Proud Fertility, we are deeply sorry for your loss.