Why You May Decide Not to Pursue Fertility Treatment

8 Arguments Against IVF + Why People Stop Fertility Treatments

Couple comforting each other through infertility, having decided against going through IVF
Making the decision to stop treatment or not pursue fertility treatment altogether can be difficult. But it will also allow you to grieve and move on.. Image Source / Getty Images

Being an empowered infertility patient means knowing all your options. Choosing not to pursue fertility treatment is one of those options.

You may go through a number of treatments and then decide the "next level" of treatment is something you don't want to do.

Or, you may choose to never try conventional fertility treatment.

It's not something that's spoken about often, for a number of reasons.

A couple may be afraid of how their family and even friends will react to the decision.

They may worry that family will accuse them of "not caring" about their feelings on the matter.  Their mother may accuse them of "not caring" about their desire to have a grandchild, for example.

They may worry that friends will dismiss the emotional pain of their infertility since they "never tried that hard anyway." (Those people would be wrong, of course!)

You need to make your decision based on what's best for you and your partner - not your family or friends.

Choosing not to pursue treatment is a legitimate choice.

Here are some common reasons couples choose not to go through IVF or other fertility treatment options.

Not Enough Cash

Some may argue that not having enough cash is not really a decision but an inability to pursue treatment. Money does prevent many couples even the option of treatment. This is sometimes called financial infertility.

However, here were focusing on making a financial decision against treatment.

Beyond insurance (which few have for infertility treatment) and grants (which not everyone qualifies for), there are a number of ways to fund fertility treatment. Some require more sacrifice (and even risk) than others.

Options like getting a second job, forgoing any vacations for the next few years, or living an extremely frugal life, for example, or even taking out loans, getting a second mortgage on your home, and going into credit card debt.

All of these options can put tremendous stress on you and your relationship. The worst part is it may not even pay off in the end.

No fertility treatment is guaranteed to work.

You may decide that taking extreme steps to pay for treatment just doesn't make sense for you, or doesn't fit with your life plans.

You may even have the cash saved and put aside and decide you don't want to use it for that purpose.

Just because you have the money doesn't mean you now have to use it for treatment.

You may prefer to use that money to pursue adoption instead, or for some other purpose of your choice.

Deciding to Continue Trying to Conceive Without Help

You may decide to continue trying to conceive on your own, even if your odds of success are very small.

This is not the same as ignoring your infertility and pretending it will resolve on its own.

You should get checked out by your doctor before you make this decision. Some causes of infertility can be a threat to your overall health. 

However, once your doctor has evaluated you and confirmed you're otherwise healthy, it's okay to decide to leave parenthood up to chance. 

Wanting to Avoid Treatment Risks

Fertility treatments are generally safe, but they do come with risks.

Even Clomid, which is relatively low risk compared to assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, has risks and side effects.

Not everyone wants to take those risks.

Not Wanting to Go Through the Emotional Stress

Fertility treatment can be extremely stressful. You may decide that you don't want that stress in your life.

There is support out there - fertility therapists, support groups, and mind-body programs.

But support doesn't eliminate all the stress; it just makes it more tolerable.

Not Wanting to Pursue the Treatments Suggested

You may decide you're open to low-tech treatments like Clomid, but nothing more advanced.

You may decide you'll try IUI, but not IVF.

You may decide that using an egg donor, sperm donor, or embryo donor isn't something you'd want to do.

You may decide surrogacy isn't something you'll consider.

You don't have to have a "good reason" not to pursue these treatments. Sometimes, something just doesn't feel right to you and your partner.

That's ok.

Having Religious or Ethical Objections

Some people have religious or ethical objections to fertility treatments.

You may be uncomfortable with the idea of conception happening in a lab, or concerned about the creation of "extra" embryos.

You may not want to have to make decisions about "leftover" embryos or be against freezing them. You may be hesitant about using donor eggs or sperm, or using a surrogate.

Always speak to your doctor about your concerns first, as there may be options that don't go outside your comfort zone.

If not, it's ok to say no thanks.

As an important side note, some people in the infertility community can be fiercely defensive regarding the ethics of fertility treatments. They are passionate not only because they believe treatments are ethically acceptable, but also because some political groups have made it their mission to make certain treatments illegal or unavailable.

Try not to confuse their passion -- which is rooted in a desire to protect their own and others' right to choose -- as a personal attack on your decision not to pursue treatments for religious or ethical reasons.

Deciding to Pursue Adoption

You may decide that if you can't conceive on your own, you'd like to go straight to adoption and forgo treatments.

You may have always wanted to adopt. Or it may be something you decided to do only after the infertility diagnosis.

Just be sure to work with a counselor to help deal with the grief of infertility before you begin the adoption process.

Adoption doesn't replace having a biological child or erase the pain of infertility. It is just another way to build a family.

Deciding To Be Child-Free (Not) By Choice

You may choose not to pursue treatments and, instead, live a child-free life.

Whether you consider yourself child-free by choice (CFBC) or child-free not by choice (CFNBC), deciding to not have kids is a legitimate life choice.

The term "child-free" is a bit of a misnomer. You can still be a big part of a child's life.

You may work with children in your job or as a volunteer, or you may be a very involved auntie or uncle. You just may choose not to have kids of your own - not through treatments or adoption.

Coping with the Decision Not to Pursue Treatment

Of course, deciding not to pursue treatments doesn't magically take away the pain and grief of infertility.

A counselor can help you work through your options, and help you cope with the emotional aftermath of those choices.

More on coping while trying to conceive:

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