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When to Stop Trying to Conceive

AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Marie Loughin


Couples struggling to conceive typically spend about one year trying before they ever see a fertility specialist. Depending on what’s causing the couple’s infertility, it can be another six months to two years before they see any results – if at all. In the meantime, a couple can lay out tens of thousands of dollars, all betting on the hope that, one day, they’ll be able to conceive.

This journey’s not for everyone. The fact is it can be exhausting. Imagine a cycle of anticipation, hope, excitement and disappointment that repeats itself every 28 days. It’s no wonder that many couples going through fertility troubles suffer from depression.

At some point, you’re bound to ask yourselves: “How far are we willing to take this?” The answer isn’t always the same for every couple (or even every individual).

Here are some tips on knowing when it might be time to jump off the fertility roller coaster and either consider other options or simply move on:

  • Start by taking a break. One or two cycles away from fertility treatments (or even just counting the days of your monthly cycle) can give you a breather. It also gives you some time to think about where you want to go from here, without the constant pressure of a potential pregnancy staring you in the face.
  • Take inventory. Look at how your infertility struggles have impacted you so far. How has it affected your time, your emotional energy, your relationship with your partner and your budget? How much more is the continued struggle likely to affect those areas of your life?
  • Identify your options. After trying on your own and maybe going through a few cycles with fertility medications, you’ve got a big decision: do you pursue Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)? Procedures like IVF can be time-consuming and terribly expensive. You need to know whether you have the resources to move forward.
  • Look for alternative options. Not everyone can afford or is interested in IVF, for example. Depending on what’s causing your infertility
  • Recognize that, sometimes, the most you can do doesn’t mean you’ve gone all the way. There’s nothing wrong with stopping short of fertility treatments. You may have religious or ethical convictions that get in the way of certain types of procedures, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You might decide that the infertility struggle has already cost you too much in your relationship with your partner or other areas. Not everyone needs to, wants to or should pursue further reproductive assistance.

There’s no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to fertility choices. It’s a process that every couple who struggles with infertility has to go through. The most important thing to keep in mind through the entire process is that your own well-being: emotional, relational, financial and physical, have to take guide your choices and help you determine your own path.

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