Traumatic potential of Recurrent Implantation Failure in Assisted Reproductive Technology paths for couples experiencing infertility

Chiara Fusco, Pier Luigi Righetti, Camilla Pellicelli, Chiara Masaro, Silvia Longo, Vincenzo Calvo


Heterosexual couples dealing with infertility can seek Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments to achieve pregnancy. Within these programs, infertile couples can experience Recurrent Implantation Failure (RIF), which is the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after three or more transfers of good-quality embryos into the uterus. RIF also refers to cases of biochemical pregnancy in which increased levels of Beta hCG hormone are detected without subsequent signs of clinical pregnancy.

Although the psychological literature has shown that the repetition of ART attempts significantly correlates with negative psychological outcomes for men and women, to date there are no studies regarding the potentially traumatic features of RIF experiences.

Hence, we provide an overview of the extant literature to highlight points of contact between the features of traumatic experiences and those of RIF and infertility, including the specific characteristics that make the population of infertile couples in ART programs potentially more vulnerable to trauma. This article aims to stimulate reflection in this area and emphasize the importance of expanding research to deepen our knowledge of the psychological processes involved in RIF conditions within ART treatments for infertile couples.


Recurrent Implantation Failure; Infertility; Assisted Reproductive Technology; Couple; Reproductive Trauma.

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