If you are reading this you probably have a strong unfulfilled desire to have (more) children. As such, you may be faced with one of life’s hardest challenges and may be experiencing a huge sense of loss and grief. This self-help guide[i] aims to enable you to help yourself, by informing about what most people in your situation experience and giving you step-by-step guidance to come to terms with this difficult life challenge.

We invite you to engage with eight activities designed to be done over a two-month period (one activity per week). Some activities may be challenging in that they confront you with your situation and prompt you to face the future. However, research indicates that for most people this type of help eases their acceptance journey.

Click here to find out what most people in your situation experience

Click here to access self-help activities


This self-help guide was developed by Sofia Gameiro, Cardiff University. To know more about it’s underpinning research please click here


































































[i] This self-help guide was developed by Sofia Gameiro, Cardiff University.

It is based on multiple research studies conducted by Sofia Gameiro and collaborators (Gameiro & Finnigan, 2007; Gameiro et al, 2014, 2016; Gameiro, in prep) that account for the experience of more than 10,000 people. The quotes presented were retrieved from the primary qualitative research included in the Gameiro & Finnigan (2007) review. The exercises were developed by Sofia Gameiro, apart from when otherwise indicated.

Underpinning research:

Gameiro, S., & Finnigan, A. (2017). Long-term adjustment to unmet parenthood goals following ART: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update, 23(3), 322-337.

Gameiro, S., van den Belt-Dusebout, A. W., Bleiker, E., Braat, D., van Leeuwen, F. E., & Verhaak, C. M. (2014). Do children make you happier? Sustained child-wish and mental health in women 11-17 years after fertility treatment. Human Reproduction, 29(10), 2238-2246. doi:10.1093/humrep/deu178

Gameiro, S., van den Belt-Dusebout, A. W., Smeenk, J., Braat, D., van Leeuwen, F. E., & Verhaak, C. M. (2016). Women’s adjustment trajectories during IVF and impact on mental health 11-17 years later. Human Reproduction, 31(8), 1788-1798. doi:10.1093/humrep/dew131

Gameiro, S. (in prep). Adjustment to unmet parenthood goals: A test of the Three Tasks Model of Adjustment to Unmet Parenthood Goals.


Primary qualitative studies included in the Gameiro & Finnigan (2007) review:

Boden, J. (2007). When IVF treatment fails. Human Fertility, 10(2), 93-98.

Daniluk, J. C. (2001). Reconstructing their lives: A longitudinal, qualitative analyses of the transition to biological childlessness for infertile couples. Journal of Counselling and Development, 79(4), 439-449.

Johansson, M., & Berg, M. (2004). Women’s experiences of childlessness 2 years after the end of in vitro fertilization treatment. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 19(1), 58-63.

Lee, G. L., Choi, W. H. H., C.H.Y., C., Chan, C. L. W., & Ng, E. H. Y. (2009). Life after unsuccessful IVF treatment in an assisted reproduction unit: A qualitative analysis of gains through loss among Chinese persons in Hong Kong. Human Reproduction, 24(8), 1920-1929.

McCarthy, M. P. (2008). Women’s lived experience of infertility after unsuccessful medical intervention. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 53(4), 319-324.

Su, T.-J., & Chen, Y.-C. (2006). Transforming hope: The lived experience of infertile women who terminated treatment after in Vitro Fertilization failure. Journal of Nursing Research, 14(1), 46-53.

Throsby, K. (2001). No one will ever call me Mummy: Making sense of the end of IVF treatment (Vol. 5, November). London: London School of Economics – Gender Institute.

Volgsten, H., Skoog-Svanberg, A., & Olsson, P. (2010). Unresolved grief in women and men in Sweden three years after undergoing unsuccessful in vitro fertilization treatment. Acta Obstericia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 89(10), 1290-1297.

Wirtberg, I., Möller, A., Hogström, L., Tronstad, S.-E., & Lalos, A. (2007). Life 20 years after unsuccessful infertility treatment. Human Reproduction, 22(2), 598-604.