By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 04/01/2014

It can be very hard to cope with a negative pregnancy test, especially if you have been trying to get pregnant for a long time and/or are undergoing a fertility treatment.

Before starting an IVF treatment, both you and your partner should be mentally prepared for the possibility of a negative result and for the stress that this may cause.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

When to test for pregnancy after IVF

Once the embryo has been transferred, you should wait at least 15 days before doing a pregnancy test. If you perform it too early, you may get a false positive result. In addition, home-made pregnancy tests are not recommended among women undergoing a fertility treatment. Instead, you should wait to perform a blood test at your clinic.

If you get a beta-hCG (the hormone produced during pregnancy) negative result, it means you are not pregnant. Chances of error are practically non-existent. Therefore, you should not cling to the possibility of having obtained a false negative result. Instead, you should cope with the fact that the treatment has failed and you are not pregnant.

Why is the pregnancy test negative?

Do not become obsessed with unanswered questions like: “what did I do?”, “what I did not do?”, “why it went wrong?”, “what remains to be done?”… These questions are both unhelpful and useless for the next time you try it. Indeed, they only contribute to making you feel sad.

If you need it, cry. Letting off steam and expressing your emotions may be good to you. Moreover, sharing your feelings may help you cope with a negative pregnancy test. If you have decided to let your friends, relatives and/or acquaintances know that you are undergoing an assisted reproductive treatment, you should emphasise the fact that you do not want to be asked about it. Instead, report the results when you are ready. This way you will avoid awkward questions and compromising situations.

The failure of an assisted reproductive treatment does not mean you will not ever have children. Conversely, it just means that this time it did not work. Make time for yourself and whenever you are ready again, try another IVF treatment or assisted reproductive technique.

Psychological help

The vast majority of reproductive centers has a psychology department willing to help patients accept not only their fertility problems, but also to offer support throughout the process, including the final pregnancy test.

When a pregnancy test is negative, many feelings arise, illusions are broken and anxiety increases. Having the support of a specialist, who understands what you are going through and offers personalized help, might help to reduce anguish.

Furthermore, this help is important when it comes to facing another cycle and forgetting the previously failed one. It’s not easy to start a new treatment after a negative experience. Psychological support is essential because attitude is very important during the reproductive treatment and may dictate its success.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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