Figuring out how long to keep trying to conceive – which usually means how long to keep doing fertility treatments- is one of the most difficult and important questions to answer. As everyone knows, fertility treatments are expensive, intrusive and emotionally exhausting and there is always something new to try.
It is easy to get onto a treatment treadmill that can deplete your financial resources and leave you feeling depressed and frustrated. In fact, studies have shown that the emotional impact of prolonged and unsuccessful fertility treatments is comparable to the emotional impact of coping with an advanced cancer diagnosis, in terms of levels of depression and anxiety.
But it’s hard to give up when you already have so much invested and maybe next time… Everyone has a different end point of course and it’s important to go as far as you need to go to not have any regrets in the future (so far as you have the resources to do so).
Here are few warning signs that it might be time to stop, regroup, and change direction:
- You are going into a lot of debt with treatments and you are considering going into even more debt without really knowing how you are going to pay it off.
- You don’t feel like yourself anymore and you can’t remember the last time you felt truly happy.
- You are worried about the state of your relationship and afraid it may end if you continue.
- You are afraid of how bad you’re going to feel if you stop.
It is true that if you decide to stop treatments you may feel depressed, hopeless and despairing for awhile. Doing treatment after treatment can have an addictive quality to it—and if all you are ever focused on is the next treatment cycle, you may have been postponing actually experiencing your grief and sadness.
It may take a while to work through these feelings. Talking to a mental health professional, particularly one who has a lot of experience with infertility treatments, can be helpful.
You may be so angry about all the failures that you decide you don’t want a baby anymore. And of course not having kids is a legitimate option. But once you’ve a good long break, you may start feeling different about options such as surrogacy or adoption and you may decide, as many people do, that becoming a parent is the primary goal.