When do you know when to stop? - Fertility Network UK

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When do you know when to stop?


I’m writing this with a broken heart. This was our 4th round of ICSI and I tested this morning and it was a BFN. In my previous 3 cycles I have always bled early - 5 to 7 days before OTD, so I always knew early on that it was game over. This cycle I have felt completely different and no bleed, even today - I was convinced it had worked this time but unfortunately it was that all familiar single line on the pregnancy test, not even a hint of a second line. My OTD is tomorrow (I am 12dp5dt today) but I tested a day early as I was convinced it had worked and just wanted to know. I’m being realistic and know things won’t change in a day but will still test tomorrow before phoning the clinic.

I just feel completely lost and after 4 failed cycles (we’ve never had enough embryos left for freezing) I don’t know what to do and feel that my dream of having a baby is drifting away. I’m not sure mentally and financially how much more I can do. I’m just wondering if there’s anyone who’s been in a familiar situation and how did you decide when enough was enough and it was time to stop?

33 Replies

I haven’t been in this situation but didn’t want to read without saying how sorry I feel that you’re going through this and am thinking of you.

Hope someone else has some more practical advice for you xx

LeBonBon in reply to kt_11

Thanks kt_11 for your kind words. This journey is just so hard! ☹️ xx

It’s so difficult..

People have had a change of results overnight, so I know you are trying to prepare yourself mentally for OTD, but don’t give up yet x

Our TTC journey started over 6 years ago...2 miscarriages with clomid, 3 ICSI cycles and 1 frozen resulted in 2 further miscarriages.

Although we’ve never been told about specific issues, we both have factors which contribute to this rollercoaster!

In the end, we asked the clinic to be honest on our chances and we were told as we were, 10% chance, using donor eggs, 50%, but still miscarriage risks.

We spoke with a different consultant at a fertility show and she said sometimes a couple just aren’t compatible to have a successful pregnancy with their genes.

She said with the emotional and financial stresses that this journey brings, we had to decide what was the best/safest/fastest way to have a child which wouldn’t ruin us as a couple..

We had a couple of years out from treatment due to other life hurdles, but we knew the next step for us would be donor eggs. I was 40 in December and we started treatment in January.

We ended up with 1 to transfer and none to freeze...we got a positive and I’m 10+1. I’m still very worried, but this is the furthest we have ever got.

I know the DE route isn’t for everyone, but worth asking direct questions to your consultant.

Sorry, haven’t looked at your previous posts before writing this, has the other half been checked?


LeBonBon in reply to Hollibob

Thanks for sharing your story - it sounds like you’ve had a long and difficult journey but huge congratulations on your BFP - that’s wonderful news and must make all the pain worth it. 🙂 I hope the whole pregnancy goes smoothly for you.

We are both 37 and have been TTC for 3 years. I have low AMH (6.5) and OH has low sperm count and motility issues, but he hasn’t been tested for anything else. It’s just difficult to know what to do next - he’s keen to jump into the next cycle straight away but I need time to think about things. I’m hoping our follow up appointmemt at the clinic will help and I will be asking lots of questions, including about DE. (I may be back to ask you questions about DE later down the line!)

Thanks again for taking the time to reply xx

Hollibob in reply to LeBonBon

Thank you 😊

I’ve got endo and my AMH was low for my age when I first started ivf.

The clinic that did the first rounds weren’t too bothered by hubbys results as they were doing ICSI. The DE clinic did a sperm comet DNA test which gives more info on the swimmers and obviously in the news recently has been a lot more research on how sperm can affect things.

Did the clinic discuss an endometrial scratch for any of your cycles? Some suggest this after a certain amount of cycles with no implantation.

After the second ivf miscarriage, we pushed for various tests including blood tests, hysteroscopy and karyotype, but nothing was found.

Some ladies have the NK Cells biopsy test which is done in Coventry.

The trouble is that every consultant has a different opinion on what they believe is right.

See what they say..it all takes time x

LeBonBon in reply to Hollibob

Thanks Hollibob - I will definately be asking the clinic about the endo scratch. I’ve never heard of the Comet test but will be looking into that too. Thank you for all your advice - it really helps xx

I have not been in this situation but hopefully someone can give some good advice, we did our first round of IVF with DE but it is not right for everyone, take some time, thinking of you. xxxx

Thanks Debrakay1704. DE has always been in the back of my mind, but thought we’d give it a shot with my own eggs first - but after 4 failed cycles I need to be realistic and will be doing more research into DE. Congratulations on your success - that’s wonderful news 🙂 I hope it all goes smoothly for you xx

Thank you, am here if I can be of any assistance to you. xxxx

Sorry to hear that you are going through this. Must be very hard for you.x

LeBonBon in reply to hifer

Thanks hifer - it’s such a difficult and painful journey isn’t it. I just wish I had a magic wand! xx

Hey, its so hard to know when to stop but I think you know when you've reached your limit deep down....perhaps if you're asking us you're not really done?! For us, well we have done 3 own egg cycles (1st nothing to transfer) transferred 3 embryos and got 2 bfns. We decided to go to donor eggs as we felt we had a much better chance. Our NHS clinic said I probably had around a 5% chance to try again....I was 39. It seemed like a no brainer but was still a tough move mentally for me. We have now had 3 transfers of DE and so 2 more bfns the last one we got a magic bfp but sadly miscarried. We had one embryo left on ice and decided to pursue one more DE cycle as the last one was too much of a tease!🤞🏻 However for financial reasons and mentally this will be our last go....we decided this way back and also I'm 41 now. Only you guys can decide when enough is enough but if you have the finances and fight left then it's always worth a shot upping the odds with what you can....for example donor eggs! Good luck with what you decide!xx

LeBonBon in reply to Cinderella5

Thanks Cinderella5 - I think you’re right, in my heart I’m not quite ready to give up the fight yet. It’s just so hard when I’m feeling like this to even think about putting myself through it again.

I’m so sorry to hear about your journey - you’re a true inspiration for carrying on. I hope it goes well for you and I will be crossing everything for you 🤞🏻🤞🏻 Thank you for sharing your story xx

This is quite relatable. My advice to you would be to keep going. I know, nothing seems to be working. You lose the faith and have no hopes. It will be okay, though! You can't give up! Best of luck to you.

LeBonBon in reply to CindyWeze

Thanks CindyWeze - that’s a lovely message xx


I just wanted to say I’m a similar situation to you and deciding what to do next. I’ve had three fresh failed rounds with only the one blastocyst to transfer and always bleed early. Just wanted to say your not alone and sending lots of hugs. This is a brutal and awful journey but somewhere we will get the strength to keep going even though it’s so so hard. Let us know what you decide to do.

LeBonBon in reply to Claire_2018

Thank you Claire_2018 - I’m sorry to hear that you are in a similar situation - it’s such a tough journey isn’t it! I have my follow up appointment in a week’s time so I’m hoping that will help me make my decision on what to do next. Good luck to you on your next steps 🙂 xx

Hi Hun I’m really sorry to see your post. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. We stopped after 2 cycles. I just knew to be honest. I said to my hubby, “I can’t do this again.” He agreed. We’d become different people really and so desperately wanted to get our lives back. That was two years ago. Do I regret it? I don’t think so. We survived infertility. We’re still surviving. We’ve booked an information meeting about adoption for the end of April. The more I think about being parents, the more I feel pulled to explore this avenue. I do believe there is a path outlined for us and that we are given signs to explore those meant for us. At the moment, I feel guided this way as does my hubby although he doesn’t have the same spiritual pull as me. He just thinks it’s a great thing to do and we’re now in a position to be able to do it. So in short, to answer your question, I just knew I needed to stop for myself, my husband and our marriage. It was a feeling deep down inside. I hope that helps. I’ll pray for you over the coming days as you feel your loss. It’s like no other. xxx

Daisy1245 in reply to _MrsC

Mrs C - you are so strong I am inspired. Do you know if there is an upper age limit for adoption or does it vary by region? thanks so much and masses of luck, hope you get your family soon xx

_MrsC in reply to Daisy1245

Oh bless you thanks. As far as I’m aware there is no upper limit. There are other ladies on here who have already been through the adoption process though who will have a wealth of knowledge if you’re interested in exploring that avenue. I’m happy to share my experience of the first meeting once we’ve been. We’re just taking it as it comes. xxx

Hi, I’m truly sorry to hear this. We’re on our 4th cycle of IVF and just had our 5th embryo transfer (no’s 6&7) and on the 2ww.. we have decided that if this doesn’t work (no more frozen in storage) that’ll be it for us and we’ll get a dog and go down adoption route when we’re ready. This is our last shot so trying to be positive like you were but I’ve been here so many times before it’s hard. We decided we didn’t want to be ‘one of those couples’ who you hear are on their 8th or 10th attempt... no offence to anybody else who is doing this. We just don’t want this to become all that we’re about or for it to break us. I want the burden to be lifted one way or another and for us to carry on with our lives. We can’t afford another private round (lucky to have had 3 free cycles on nhs) financially, mentally or physically. Everyone’s different though and you just have to do some soul searching and go with your gut feeling. Wish you all the very best and take time to heal xx

LeBonBon in reply to Blondie_81

Thanks Blondie_81 - I’m sorry to hear that you’re in a similar situation. It’s such a hard and emotional rollercoster! I know exactly what you mean about the wanting to carry on with your life - it does completely take over. I feel as if I can’t really remember life before IVF ☹️ I’m crossing everything for you for this cycle 🤞🏻🤞🏻 - I hope it all goes well and that the dreaded 2ww flies by for you - I’ll be thinking of you. Thank you for replying xx

So sorry for your rough ride.

I am only 2 cycles in but 1 BFN and 1 MC later there is a question mark about my egg quality (I am 42).. my consultant told me some clinics do embryo screening to check for chromosomal abnormalities.. not sure if thats been mentioned to you? At least that way you know you are putting an optimal embryo back? I am not sure its quite as simple as I think you have to collect a fair few embryos to warrant a test .. I don't know the finer details but thought I would mention it.

I don't know if you want good news stories but I have two friends who had their babies from their 7th and 9th cycles respectively.. so there is always hope. I do understand that mental strength question though, I am not sure I can do another round (we haven't managed frozen either) after the elation of a BFP and then a horrible MC experience.. but then I am not sure I can cope with a life without children either. I feel very very stuck at the moment. Wish you lots of luck whatever you choose xx

LeBonBon in reply to Daisy1245

Ah thank you Daisy 1245. Unfortunately we’ve only ever got 2 embies by ET day and we’ve always transferred both to increase our chances, but I will ask our consultant about it. I’m so sorry to hear about your journey and your heartbreaking MC. Thank you for sharing the stories of your friends - it certainly does give hope! Wishing you all the best on your next steps 🙂 xx

It truly is such a tough one- knowing when to stop. My reply would be: you will know when you know and only you yourselves will know- you would feel it deep down (yourself and possible strain in your relationship too).

I’m in the same position too and haven’t yet decided whether we will stop or try one more time

LeBonBon in reply to Leesara

Thank you Leesara - it’s such a difficult journey. In my heart I know I’m not ready to give up but the thought of going through this pain again fills me with dread. I’m hoping that my follow up consultation will help me decide which route to take next. Wishing you lots of luck on whatever you decide to do next xx

Leesara in reply to LeBonBon


Everyone has different reasons for stopping at different stages. I think you have to do what is best for you. The point where the anxiety and pain of failure tips your desire to be a mother. Although as others have said, there are other options. Personally I have gone down the donor egg route. Happily 26 weeks pregnant tomorrow, on our 6th attempt (3 own egg and 3 donor, 3 bfn, 1 abandoned, 1 anembryonic and this one). Wishing you all the best but no need to kale decisions so soon. Take some time out and see how you feel in a week or month x

LeBonBon in reply to Camillage

Thank you Camillage - and congratulations on your BFP 😊 I actually read your posts on here months ago and that’s what got me thinking about DE - so thank you for that. I need to do some more research on it and have a long list of questions to ask the consultant on it next week. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly - you’re an inspiration xx

Camillage in reply to LeBonBon

Thank you so much. We are all just the same really and this place is a great place for help and support. It's a shame that it has to exist but amazing that it does. Hope it goes well with the consultant and if you have any unanswered questions then just ask either directly or in the general forum. Big hugs lovely xx

Yes, I am in the exact same boat. 4th failed cycle last September. Facing the possibility of never having a baby unless we use donor eggs which my husband isn't so sure of. I keep clutching at straws by making appointments with new doctors hoping one of them will give me a miracle. We are emotionally and financially drained and I don't think there is a moment when I am not thinking about it. X

LeBonBon in reply to Jenp2018

Ah Jenp2018 - I feel exactly the same as you. It’s so so difficult. In my head I’m steering more and more towards DE as after 4 failed attempts there is something obviously going wrong with my own eggs. My partner is the same as your husband in that he’d prefer to carry on trying with my own eggs, but I think we need to be realistic and I’d rather do whatever that increases our chances of getting pregnant. The whole journey is just so difficult and draining. Sending you big hugs and all the best on whatever you decide to do next xx

Jenp2018 in reply to LeBonBon

I know, I don't care at this stage I just want a baby :) going to be 40 next year so that's playing on my mind too. Anyway I'm sure we will get there. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

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