Tips for Surviving a Failed Transfer: Intended Parents

You’ve waited for this moment and put a significant amount of hope and money on the line — only to find out that this embryo transfer failed and your gestational surrogate is not pregnant this time. Now what?

Everyone’s reaction to a failed transfer is going to be different. But, these general tips may help you cope with this loss, so you can start to move forward with the next steps in your surrogacy journey:


Allow yourself a moment to feel whatever you’re feeling.

If you experienced infertility prior to pursuing surrogacy, then you already had to grieve that loss. For some, a failed transfer can feel like an IVF failure all over again. It’s OK if you’re feeling hopeless, frustrated and disappointed. Talk to your spouse, partner, surrogacy specialist, counselor or whoever you lean on for support to help you deal with this loss in a healthy way.

Connect with your surrogate and with other intended parents.

Your surrogate is also grieving for, and with, you. It wasn’t her embryo, but her hopes were high for you, and she’s probably going through some guilt and sadness of her own. Turning to one another for support can be comforting — you’re in this together, after all. Talking to parents via surrogacy or IVF who experienced similar setbacks can also be reassuring, and they can often offer perspective and tips for coping.

Focus on your surrogacy plan.

When you created your surrogacy contract, you agreed on a maximum number of embryo transfers with your gestational surrogate. This wasn’t your only chance. Failed transfers aren’t at all unusual. Your fertility clinic and surrogacy specialist know that, and they’ll help you to stay focused on your next step.


Indulge the urge to jump ship.

It can be tempting to switch fertility clinics, gestational surrogates, surrogacy professionals, or even run from your surrogacy journey altogether when something goes wrong. It often takes more than one transfer to become pregnant, and failed transfers aren’t a sign that any person within your surrogacy team is failing you. Stick with it, and stick with them for a while longer. Everyone is doing their utmost for you.

Blame yourself.

You might look for someone else to blame, or you might try to blame yourself. Ultimately, there’s no one at fault. Somehow, it’s more frustrating to shrug and say that, “These things just happen,” but unfortunately, it’s true. You’re doing everything you can for your future baby, and nothing you or anyone else could have done would have made this transfer magically successful.

Become overwhelmed by this loss.

Again, a failed embryo transfer can be incredibly devastating — even more so if you have experienced pregnancy losses in the past. However, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of something important: If you stick with this, you will become a parent. This is easier said than done when you’re grieving a loss, and it sometimes feels like it’ll “never happen,” but it will.

If you’re struggling after a failed transfer, or you need some guidance about emotionally moving forward with your surrogacy journey, you can always contact a specialist at American Surrogacy for help.

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