Deciding Not to Try Again After a Miscarriage

Options for Couples Who Can't or Don't Want to Pursue Pregnancy

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Pregnancy loss affects people differently. After a miscarriage, some couples may consider it a given that they will try again—maybe even right away. Others may try for a new pregnancy only after taking the time to work through their grief over the miscarriage. A smaller number may either be unable to try again or may carefully and thoughtfully decide not to try again.

Even if you theoretically should be able to get pregnant, there are several reasons why you may decide not to (at least, not on purpose). For example, you might be dealing with infertility alongside your miscarriage and have become worn out trying to get pregnant after several years. You might be someone who has already had numerous miscarriages and can't deal with the chance of another one, or perhaps you are over 40 and worried about the statistics on pregnancy outcomes for older moms. It may be as simple as that you feel you can't face the risk of another miscarriage after what you went through.

If that's how you feel, it's OK. There are other paths to having a child, or you may even decide to not have one at all. No one else can tell you what's right for you—only you and your partner can decide that.

If you decide not to try again, these are your four basic options for how to proceed.

Stop Trying, But Don't Prevent Pregnancy

If the reason why you don't want to get pregnant again is that you're sick of trying to conceive, one option is to simply stop tracking your menstrual cycles and let nature take its course. If you're under 35 and have no fertility issues, this may be a good way to reduce the stress in your life while also leaving open the likelihood that you will get pregnant at some point in the near or distant future—possibly even within a year or two.

If you're over 40 and/or have been struggling with infertility, deciding to stop trying is probably a more difficult decision. You are keeping the door open to having a baby, but also recognizing that it might not happen—a decision that can naturally take a bit of soul-searching to accept. It may be helpful for you to seek support groups for others who are in a similar situation.


Adoption may be a preferred option for many couples, and choosing to move forward with adoption does not rule out the possibility of a future pregnancy. Naturally, the process to adopt can be expensive and stressful, but most who have been through it would probably say it was worth it.


Surrogacy is a philosophical hot-button issue for some people, but basically, surrogacy means having another woman carry a pregnancy for you. The gestational carrier undergoes IVF, receiving an embryo created entirely from the intended parents' genetic material; the gestational carrier has no genetic connection to the baby. Sometimes, an egg donor and/or sperm donor is used for the embryo. So, the intended parents are not genetically related, but neither is the gestational carrier.

Formal contracts must be in place recognizing the arrangement. Surrogacy can be expensive (anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000).

Some couples may consider surrogacy after several unexplained miscarriages, or if the female partner is permanently unable to become pregnant for medical reasons. But surrogacy is not for everyone.

Deciding Not to Have Children/More Children

If you already have one or more children, you and your partner may decide that you're OK with the size of your family as it is and choose to take measures to actively prevent another pregnancy. Perhaps this is to avoid the heartache of another miscarriage. This is a perfectly valid choice, and you and your partner must decide whether it's right for your circumstances.

If you don't have any living children, it's also perfectly fine to decide to keep things that way. Many people live full and meaningful lives without becoming parents, and there's no reason that can't be true for you.

If you do truly want children deep down, but you're making this choice because you can't get pregnant and can't afford or qualify for adoption, the decision may be somewhat harder to come to terms with. In this case, unless you have medical circumstances getting in the way of pregnancy, you can always keep the possibility of pregnancy open by not using contraception. Even long-standing infertility can spontaneously resolve, particularly if it is unexplained. It's not unheard of for couples to suddenly find themselves expecting just when they've given up hope.

But given that it is far from guaranteed that will happen for you, you will also need to make peace with the circumstances that led you here. Finding a counselor with knowledge about infertility issues may be a good move in working through the emotional side of coping with your situation.

1 Source
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  1. Marozio L, Picardo E, Filippini C, et al. Maternal age over 40 years and pregnancy outcome: a hospital-based survey. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019;32(10):1602-1608. doi:10.1080/14767058.2017.1410793

By Krissi Danielsson
Krissi Danielsson, MD is a doctor of family medicine and an advocate for those who have experienced miscarriage.