These signs it may be time to stop trying to get pregnant can help you decide if you should end infertility treatments. There is no right or wrong reason to stop trying to conceive – and each woman or couple has different reasons to make this decision.
“The decision to let go of your quest for a birth child comes in stages, in ebbs and flows of emotion that are laced with grief and ambivalence,” writes Constance Hoenk Shapiro, M.S.W., Ph.D. in When You’re Not Expecting.
If you’ve already put a great deal of time, energy, and money into trying to get pregnant, it can be heartbreaking to call it quits. Or maybe it’s a relief — maybe you’re ready to let it go! If you’re wondering how to cope with a life without biological children, you may find Empty Womb, Aching Heart: Hope and Help for Those Struggling With Infertility helpful.
And, here are five possible signs it’s time to let go of your dream of having biological children.
Should I Stop Trying to Get Pregnant? Ending Infertility Treatments
“Many couples wish their physicians would simply tell them there is no hope and, indeed, some physicians do,” writes Shapiro in When You’re Not Expecting. “But far more common are the messages that ‘one more try’, ‘another approach’, or ‘a few more cycles’ might lead to a healthy pregnancy, and it is in the midst of these messages that couples realize they are the ones who ultimately will need to call a halt.”
You may choose to stop trying to conceive because…
You’re emotionally exhausted. Some people call it an “infertility roller coaster” because of the highs and lows of trying to get pregnant! After months or even years of mood swings, prescription medications, fertility doctors, different infertility centers, rising hope because of an untried fertility treatment, and the heartbreak of getting your period, you may feel like an emotional dish rag. Maybe you don’t need to end fertility treatments altogether – may you just need a break from the fertility treatment center.
You can’t afford more infertility treatments. As painful as it is to let money get in the way of getting pregnant, the inability to finance fertility costs can make the decision for you. Maybe you can’t borrow money from a bank, credit lender, or loved ones to pay for fertility treatments. Or, maybe you’ve already borrowed too much! The financial stress of paying for infertility treatments may be the main reason you need to stop trying to conceive.
You don’t want to spend more time trying to get pregnant. “Another loss has been devoting three years of my life to trying to conquer infertility, when I could have been using those years to get more education, to get ahead in a career, just to enjoy life,” says a woman in When You’re Not Expecting: An Infertility Survival Guide. “I feel like I’ve wasted this time and I’ll never get it back.” Maybe it’s time to end infertility treatments if you just don’t want to spend more time on timing your ovulation, taking medications, and going for in vitro fertility treatments.
The odds of getting pregnant are low. If you’re in your early or mid forties, you may be concerned about the quality of your eggs and whether you can have a healthy baby. Many women can and do get pregnant in their forties, but the chances are less than for women in their thirties or twenties. You may decide to stop trying to get pregnant if your chances are very low, you’ve had pregnancy losses, or you’ve tried every infertility procedure the fertility center offers.
Other aspects of your life are suffering. Going through in vitro fertilization, intrauterine insemination, and even “just” tracking your ovulation and fertile times takes time and energy, which in turn puts stress on other parts of your life. Your marriage, your work, your family relationships, your volunteer work, your friendships, your spirituality – all may be negatively affected by your attempts to get pregnant. If other parts of your life are in turmoil, perhaps it’s a sign it’s time to stop trying to get pregnant.
There is no one “right” answer, and this is difficult decision for many women and their partners. Different couples have different reasons for letting go of their hopes of conceiving a child biologically — and the right decision for one may not be the right one for another.