Infertility Dilemma: If You Stop Are You Giving Up Too Soon?

Dawn Davenport


The advances in infertility treatment in the last five years have been amazing and a true blessing for those suffering from this disease. That’s the upside, but there is a downside as well. Deciding when to stop has become even harder for many people. There is always another treatment you can try, another procedure, another step up the escalator.

Will you feel like you quit on yourself if you stop infertility treatment?

Are you a quitter if you decide to not take that next step up the fertility treatment escalator? On member of the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group said it so well:

It seems that in our society, we’re always hearing the message that if you try hard enough, you will achieve your dreams and I think that there are many people struggling with Infertility who feel pressured to keep going longer than they might otherwise based on this mantra. In the end, it is up to the individual or couple to determine what is best for them as an individual and as a family, but there are many people who have a vested interest in the fertility treatment working. Extended family members, REs, etc. that add to that pressure as well. Yes, the general consensus that you should give IVF at least 3 or 4 times to see if it’ll work, but what if you aren’t able or willing to try IVF 3 or 4 times for whatever reason. Does that mean you didn’t try hard enough and you`re giving up to soon?

When is Enough Enough in Infertility

Knowing when to stop is complicated.

There are financial considerations. If you spend all your money on infertility treatment, will you have enough left over for adoption if you decide to go that route?

There are emotional considerations. Are you damaging your marriage or friendships beyond repair because of the stress of treatment? Are you giving up the joy of living your life right now and wasting years of happiness?

What would you tell your Pre-Treatment Infertile Self?

On the other hand, you’ve had a lifelong dream of having a child, including being pregnant. You’ve spent years imagining what a child from you and your spouse would look like. Are you giving up on your dream? You’re making a decision for yourself not just for the here and now, but also for the future, when you aren’t sick and tired of all the hassle… in the future when you might wonder in the middle of the night what might have been if you only tried harder.

How did you know how far to go with fertility treatment and how hard to try? Or did you just keep trying until you succeeded?

Originally published in 2013; Updated in 2019
Image credit: D. Sinclair Terrasidius

26/08/2019 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 3 Comments

3 Responses to Infertility Dilemma: If You Stop Are You Giving Up Too Soon?

  1. The answer to this question is different for everyone, but in my case, the emotional and mental turmoil of infertility treatments quickly became too much to bear for my husband and I. We had been trying for a long time, and then tried using acupuncture and herbs for many months. As everyone knows, it is heartbreaking, month after month. Then we “only” tried three months of ovulation drugs + injectables and one IUI. That might not seem like anything to a lot of people, but to us it was more than we could handle. It quickly became clear that pregnancy was not the goal and that starting a family was. We knew we didn’t have limitless cash to spend and we didn’t want to waste it. We were also tired of the pain. After the failed IUI, I was just done. Going to such great medical lengths was not something we were comfortable with, we knew from the start we would not do IVF, and adoption just felt like the way to go. Infertility treatments have a pretty low success rate and I think give many women false hope for far too long. Obviously not everyone, because they do work for many, but to me it just seemed like the odds were too far off. We decided that we would adopt and that hasn’t ever seemed like a second choice. Just a different one. For us, it was not worth it and does not feel like “giving up” at all. It felt like we were making the best decision–a smart decision–from the very moment we decided and we haven’t looked back.
    TTC was ruining my life. And while we desperately wanted to start a family, we did not want to do it at the expense of our sanity, mental health or our marriage. Life is short and I felt like I wasn’t really living when all I was doing was trying and failing every month. It’s all I could think about and I was an emotional wreck. Enough was enough for me.

  2. Avatar AnonAP says:

    I’m not sure what more I can add than what you wrote. I dislike the “giving up” language because it implies that people just didn’t try hard enough or long enough, and it seems to imply that successful infertility treatment is the end goal. Isn’t the ultimate goal being joyful in our lives and seeing the future as a positive thing? Maybe the best route to being happy is through ART, maybe it’s through adoption, maybe it’s deciding that being a couple without kids is the best path forward. There are many different ways to be happy in life and to be at peace with our decisions. Not to say that some of those decisions aren’t very difficult to make or that making them won’t trigger periods of grieving and resolution, but that doesn’t mean they are the wrong ones.

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