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Stopping Infertility Treatment and Moving On to Other Options

Posted by Andrea Braverman, Ph.D. on with 0 Comments

by Andrea Braverman, Ph.D.

When is enough, enough?  This question creeps in at different moments as you pursue infertility treatment.  Enough is a judgment that is weighed individually but has common thoughts and feelings.  For many, the point of Enough is reached when treatment fails to provide the hoped for pregnancy and your doctor is saying there is little else to offer hope that treatment will ever work.  This choice is more of a fact-based decision.  For others, Enough is the moment when the patient simply cannot take anymore, and the burden of moving forward with treatment is simply too great to bear.  This choice is more of an emotional decision.  Finally, there is the situation when the choice is taken away because of financial reality and this contributes heavily to the decision to stop treatment.

Enough leaves you vulnerable to self-doubt.  Am I choosing to stop treatment for the right reasons?  Maybe I should see another doctor?  Maybe I’m trying too hard and everyone is right and I should just relax?  Have I really looked at all the different sides to this decision?

Another part of the decision to stop pursuing pregnancy is the “what next” question – what do I/we do after we stop treatment?  For some, the decision to stop medical treatment translates into the choice to live childfree.  For others, it means moving on to non-genetic parenting and either adoption, donor egg, donor sperm or donor embryo.  Answering the “what next “question has a great deal of influence on when you will be ready to say Enough.  For those who are choosing to live childfree, stopping medical treatment also involves making a new life plan which does not involve raising a child.  For those moving on to non-genetic parenting, there is the need to grieve the dreamed of child and the potential for the reflection of one’s own family genetics in the child.

 What does research tell us?

 Research has shown that there are three main emotional challenges that make ending treatment difficult for couples: fear of not being able to cope; an inability to imagine a life without children; and concerns over survival of the partnership.

To read the rest of this comprehensive AFA Fact Sheet, click here.

To watch an informative video on this topic featuring Jim Toner, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.O.G. of Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine click here.

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