It is a heartbreaking moment for anyone when told they might struggle to conceive naturally
You are told all the fertility treatment options available and what might work for you, but what if you decide it isn’t for you?
How did you come to that decision and how did you get through it?
Two women spoke to Australia’s ABC network on why they decided not to pursue their journey to become a parent.
Vanessa Phillips, now 44, started trying to conceive at the age of 33 with her husband, Craig.
She describes that time of her life as ‘traumatic’ after having surgery following an endometriosis diagnosis.
She says she tried acupuncture and alternative medicines, as well as changing their diets to give them a chance of having a child.
They tried assisted hormone treatment, which involved an injection every month timed before sex or intrauterine insemination.
When all of the treatments failed after five years, the pair were advised to try IVF.
Vanessa said: “You build yourself up and up and up, and then crash back down. You give yourself two weeks to get back together and then you start the cycle all over again.”
It also had a strain on her financially, emotionally and affected her mental health, as well as put her marriage into difficulties.
The couple had already spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatment, would have to travel a four-hour trip to the nearest fertility clinic, but it was the emotional and psychological toll that made them decide to stop treatment.
She said making the decision still brings her to tears but it was the right one for her mental health – and her marriage.
She said: “The thought of it was just too much. I just couldn’t fathom going through it.”
Penny Rabarts, 48, never met anyone she wanted to have children with
She said: “I spent my 20s and 30s thinking ‘of course I’m going to meet a guy and tick all those boxes’.”
But it never happened and by her late 30s, she devastatingly realised she might not be a mother after all.
She said: “People didn’t understand that I was actually grieving. I was grieving a life that I thought I was going to have.”
Penny found it hard to be around friends who had children, with many assuming she didn’t want children.
She did start the process of having IVF but it was when she came to look at sperm donors that she didn’t want to continue.
She said: “For me, it was a critical moment when I realised I don’t want to have a sperm donor or a father for my child I did not know and who won’t play a part in my life.”
To deal with her decision, she took nine months off work and went travelling.
She said: “I went to all my favourite places and started new adventures, and came back feeling really good about my decision.”
Some years later she was surprised to find herself pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage and realised she needed some support.
She set up a Facebook page and created a community of like-minded women.
She said: “It is okay if you want to stop. Your life is going to be okay if you do not have children. It is still going to be fulfilling and joyous. And there are a lot of women out there that can support you.”
Did you decide to stop treatment? We’d love to hear how you made the decision. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.