Moving Forward When Infertility Treatments are Unsuccessful
There was a time in our not-too-distant history when couples who were childless had no options other than to live with the hand dealt by nature. With today's incredibly sophisticated and medically technical array of infertility treatments, couples have a vast array of options. The decision in today's world, is not to simply accept being childless, but rather when to stop infertility treatments. Because it seems there is always "one more thing" to try, this can be an incredibly difficult decision to make.
When is it Time to Stop?
How much is too much? When is it time, emotionally and financially, to stop, and what do you do if you and your partner don't agree on when that elusive time is? Perhaps you have set a time limit such as two years, three years, five years, or even ten years. What if you find that your arbitrary time limit is either too short (you are not ready to give up) or too long (you don't feel you can emotionally endure one more round of IVF, or one more miscarriage, or one more negative pregnancy test)? What if your spouse says it is just not financially feasible to undergo any more infertility treatments, yet you feel like you absolutely must try just one more time?
Determining when it is finally time to stop infertility treatments is a heart-wrenching experience, but following that decision comes yet another one-to try and adopt a child, or to accept being childless. Should you decide on adoption, it is well-known that adoption comes with its own set of ups, downs, and heartbreaks, not to mention that it is also something that can take years before you have a baby in your arms. Whatever decision you and your partner make, it now becomes necessary to emotionally deal with what is, essentially, the loss of the biological child you have long hoped and dreamed of.
Emotional Challenges You Face
Considering that one in seven couples have difficulty in conceiving a child, you are far from alone, however this fact is rarely comforting to couples who have been unable to get pregnant. Infertility is emotionally devastating, and couples who are unsuccessful after years of trying every single fertility treatment out there can feel depressed, angry and frustrated. Support groups can be helpful for some, allowing you a safe place to vent your feelings among people who have likely gone through the same roller coaster ride you have, although not all people are comfortable airing their personal problems to virtual strangers.
Explore Your Alternatives Early
Many experts advise that you should give yourself the possibility of adoption early on in your infertility journey rather than waiting until you are exhausted and emotionally drained from unsuccessful infertility treatments. If you allow for alternatives right from the get-go, it can take some of the incredible pressure from the daily infertility experience. So, if adoption is a possibility for you and your partner, throw it onto the table early on, and explore all your options rather than waiting until you have determined you are unable to conceive.
Re-Focus Your Dreams
Although determining you will be unable to have a biological child is certainly a loss, after you've cried and raged, then gotten some support, it is time to decide what's next. You may be thinking about adoption, surrogacy, or a child-free life, but whatever your decision, take decisive action to achieve the new dream. Make a new plan, giving yourself general timeframes and budgets for whatever you and your partner have decided to do. Should you decide to remain childless, try to remember that although it can be challenging to spend time with friends and family who have children, fight the urge to cut yourself off from those closest to you because of it. Create the kind of bond and intimacy with your partner that probably would not be possible with children in the home, and try to look on each day as one with its own set of opportunities to lead a happy and fulfilled life. In short, do your best to deal with the overwhelming grief, then move on rather than living your life with regret.