Unsuccessful vs. Failure

I know I’ve mention this before, but I feel this concept deserves a closer inspection. It bothers me when I see the words “failed IVF” used. In my eyes our IVF attempt was unsuccessful, not a failure. Being unsuccessful and failing may seem like the same thing, but I think the difference is huge.

Consider a student in college dealing with a test coming up. This student plays football and needs an “A” on the test in order to participate in this weekends game. Foregoing the idea he could cheat, which I would view a failure for cheating his education over a sporting event, most would view him playing in the game this weekend as a success or failure outcome. I do not. I see three outcomes: successful, unsuccessful and failure.

Successful is obvious, but what is the difference between unsuccessful and failure? The difference is how the student prepared for the test. If he avoided parties and spent his free time studying for this test, the fact he doesn’t get an “A” I would view unsuccessful. However, if the student blows off studying to party with his friends, only to cram 2 hours before the test, I would view a grade lower than an “A” a failure. See the difference?

We did everything the doctor’s asked us to do to the best of our ability. Why should we consider the fact we fell short of our goal a failure? We didn’t smoke crack during the process. We didn’t skip injections because we grew tired of them. We didn’t go bungee jumping during the two week wait. If we had, I’d have no problem calling our IVF attempt a failure. But we didn’t.

That’s why I use the term “unsuccessful IVF” to describe our outcome.  What do you think?

© copyright 2011-2012

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About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on October 13, 2012, in Purgatory and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I guess it doesn’t matter to me what I call it! I know we did more than everything we needed to do but the cycle failed. Noones fault. Failed or was not successful, we cannot blame anyone or be angry at anyone. We are just sad, disappointed that things didn’t work out. The clinic did their best and so did we. Onwards and upwards! It depends on how you look at the word failure. For me the word does not apply blame to anyone. I teach so being overly politically correct can actually be of disservice to a child. If a fail is below a certain criteria, then it’s a fail. If there was something they can do to improve, great! Applying the way that teachers use the word fail to an IVF cycle failure is very different, I think. When you apply yourself and want to learn and do well in any assessment, you can achieve higher results. With IVF, that is not the case! That’s biology and biology is not the same as physics. E.g. When the apple falls, it will hit the floor! fact! However, with IVf and any form of biology,there are too many variables for a fail ever to be truly attributed to something.
    That’s my thought! But, good discussion pointer!

    • Excellent points. I’m not against the word fail, especially when it comes to grades. I’m applying it mainly to whether someone’s goal was achieved.

      That being said, as a student struggling with understanding a concept most teachers were happy to provide extra help so I would not fail. Many times grading me a little easier for the extra effort. However, if I showed no effort, they had no problems just giving me a poor grade. Thankfully this happened only once.

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. I think your assessment is very valid and the words ‘fail’ and ‘failure’ should never be used in association with IVF. So many emotions are involved, and hope should always be part of every result. ‘Unsuccessful’ to me means ‘not this time, but perhaps next time’, ‘fail’ means ‘did not work.’
    I have just noticed that you have added me to your ‘Non-IF-FAV’ list. Thank you 🙂

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