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TTC: I quit!

when to give up trying to conceive

After months and months of shelling out thousands of dollars, spending hour after hour in your RE’s waiting room, undergoing countless treatments — only to be right back where you started — how do you know when it’s time to give up?
Tonya Wertman and husband

Quit, give up, bail out, let go... whatever you call it, when facing infertility month after month, year after year, it becomes the $25,000 (and then some) question: How do you know when it's time to quit?

When to quit

Do you give up when you run out of money or just can't face another tortuous IVF cycle? Is it when your firstborn reaches a certain age, or when you do? Should you give yourself a timeline and how long should it be?

I believe if you are at the point when you are asking yourself this question, you have reached a very desperate place and maybe you should consider taking a break to explore your feelings deeper and give your body and mind a rest.

Coming to the decision to get off the infertility merry-go-round is an individual one and not only requires much discussion with your partner and support system, but also some true soul searching.

There is no magic number of years for trying, or IVF cycles, or losses. Each couple has their own pain threshold — what might be bearable for some will be too much for others. In other words, I don't think anyone really knows going in when it will be time to give up trying to conceive until they do.

Personally, I haven't reached that point yet but I believe if and when I ever do, it'll hit me like a ton of bricks and I'll just know in my heart that it's time to stop. Right now, however, the pain of stopping is way greater than the pain of continuing to try.

What other women say

I belong to several infertility groups on Facebook and each of the women in these groups has become a source of tremendous comfort and support to me. Because the groups are international, there's always someone online to answer a question or commiserate with. I recently posted the question: How do you know when it's time to quit?

Here is what I heard: 

"When you can't take it anymore," says Patty M. "It equals the stress, the treatments, the costs, etc. and it varies for everyone. But this is all very hard and we can't forget to live life while we have it and not always wait for what we want our lives to be."

Others have set specific limits to determine when they will stop. "Hubby and I set an age when we'll stop," Catherine T. explains. "Also, we are keeping our eye on the financials. If it reaches a certain point even before the age, we'll stop. We don't want to lose sight of life around us and forget all we do have to be thankful for."

Some couples are willing to try until they financially can't try anymore. "Financial! I don't care how emotionally drained I am, as long as I have money I will try!" says Stephanie R.

"When we have exhausted every option that is on our list... unless prior to that our hearts just can't take it, we shift or stop!" Lisa P. says.

When to stop trying to conceive is such a personal, emotional choice. "Our final decision was based on the emotional aspect," explains Renee H. "We had decided at the beginning that our last option would be IVF. If that didn't work, then we would be finished. We reached that point and it didn't work. For me, it was closure. I am at peace with it and am enjoying living without the stress and strain that infertility causes. We are planning on pursuing adoption at a later time."

Bottom line

Only you will know when enough is enough. If you decide you can’t or won't do this anymore, then embrace your decision and move forward with life and make it as rich and full as you can.

More about infertility

Holding on to hope during infertility
The infertile library
Infertility: With a little help from your friends

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