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Infertility, Deciding to Move Beyond Treatment

Moving away from fertility treatment and considering adoption or living child-free may be a difficult decision to make.


Making the decision to seek fertility treatment and the process involved along that journey may take an emotional and financial toll. Each unsuccessful try is an emotional experience that affects different individuals and couples in different ways. It may cause stress, anxiety and depression. It can also place a strain on relationships, particularly couples undergoing treatment together. 

So it is not surprising that some people who experience unsuccessful treatments may opt to take a break from treatment cycles and regroup for a period of time, or even make the difficult decision to move on and pursue different options.

This experience can be especially hard for couples who are not on the same page about the decision. For people who have access to counseling services, talking to someone about your feelings – either alone or with a partner – can help ease some of the stress, anxiety, and depression you may be experiencing.

Give yourself time and permission to grieve the disappointment and consider what next steps are best for you or for you and your partner.


Deciding to consider fostering or adopting a child can be an exciting step toward expanding your family. As part of this process, you may want to build a strong adoption team and support group of helpful family and close friends who know of your desire to have a child. This may help you through the process. This team of professionals may include an adoption consultant, adoption attorney and adoption agency.

Learn more about the adoption process by checking out the adoption resources like those found on Resolve.org.* Or go to Resolve’s event calendar for a schedule of adoption programs in your area. Be prepared for the financial outlay of expenses, since you may be required to pay for many of the adoption agency’s requirements (psychological evaluation, transportation, physical exam to determine your physical health to raise a child, etc.). If you are in a relationship, make sure the decision to adopt a child is one that is mutually made between you and your partner.


Adoption or fostering may not be for everyone. But choosing not to have your own children – sometimes called “childfree living” – does not mean giving up your maternal or paternal instincts, or not being a central figure in a child’s life. There are many fulfilling ways to nurture children apart from raising them at home. Some former fertility patients get involved in volunteer work or organizations that provide opportunities to mentor or care for young people. Those with nieces or nephews may choose to become a devoted aunt or uncle. Others have reported a new type of fulfillment from being able to reconnect with friends, pursuing new interests and passions.

To talk to a RESOLVE* volunteer who has personal experience living child-free, call the RESOLVE HelpLine at 1-866-NOT-ALONE (1-866-668-2566) and press extension 4.

Connect with others for support

To connect with other people who have decided to forgo infertility treatment, you might want to visit resolve.org and check out their support groups.

Making the decision to stop treatment may be challenging, but you don’t have to go through it alone.

*The National Infertility Association.

UnitedHealthcare does not endorse nor guarantee adoption services through the RESOLVE program.

By Kristin Nelson, Contributing Writer


Resolve.org. Living childfree. Accessed October, 30 2020.
Resolve.org. Making infertility affordable. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Resolve.org. When is it time to stop fertility treatments. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Preparing for IVF: emotional considerations. Accessed November 17, 2020.

Last Updated: November 17, 2020