Making the Decision to Stop Fertility Treatments
As you experience the challenges of infertility treatments, you may ask yourself occasionally, "Have I had enough?" The answer to this question is different for everyone. Some women may decide to stop when their doctors tell them that pregnancy will be close to (if not completely) impossible. Other women decide to stop when the emotional or financial burden of fertility treatments becomes too much to bear. No matter what the reason, deciding to stop treatment is a very difficult decision to make. You may doubt your decision, wonder if another doctor could help you, or question whether you just need to relax more. You may ask yourself, "After infertility, what happens next?"
Take your time
Experts say that there are good reasons and bad reasons to stop treatment. Here are some of the good ones:
- Financial issues: Your funds have dried up
- Emotional issues: You are having trouble coping
- Physical issues (or per your doctor's recommendations)
Bad reasons, on the other hand, usually arise more spontaneously and impulsively. In haste or anger, you may try to avoid the grief of infertility, seeking a short-term solution rather than thinking about the long-term. As you travel along your family-building journey, rethink your priorities and choices, re-analyzing your goals and needs. If you stop treatment, are you willing to pursue donor gametes, adoption, or find peace with childfree living?
Factors to consider
One way to think your decision through is to picture yourself 5, 10, or 30 years down the road. Ask yourself: "Will I be glad that I stopped now? Or would I regret stopping now?" The answer is different for everybody and no one can tell you the right answer. However, if you make a rushed decision, you may be more likely to regret that decision later. Fertility counselors often recommend that patients come up with a plan as they travel the fertility journey. Here are some things to consider early in the game:
- How many attempts of each treatment option am I willing to try?
- Are there any treatments that I am not comfortable with?
- What are my priorities and goals for treatment?
- Is there a financial limit to my fertility journey?
- How much time (months or years) am I willing to put into my quest to conceive?
This plan can help you and your partner as you make decisions or question if the end is near. Update your plan as you go along, and let your plan evolve. You may even decide to take a break from treatment, jumping back in at a later time. Or, if you decide to live childfree, you may be attempting to conceive again after a few months or years. No one will judge you or condemn you for changing your plan. The plan does not have to be set in stone, although a solid plan can help you as your thoughts and feelings change along the way. If you do change your plan, avoid impulsive decisions.
Have you had enough?
If you decide to take a break or stop treatments altogether, you can mark it in a special way. Perform a ritual or take a vacation to mark the end of your fertility journey. This decision is yours alone, and it is an important one. Do your research, gather information, and consider your thoughts and feelings thoroughly. Remember that most couples dealing with infertility become pregnant on their journey. Others may choose to stop before pregnancy comes. Infertility counseling and support groups are available all over the nation to help you cope, no matter what your journey may bring.
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