Our articles

What is «child-free»?

Throughout his/her practice, a fertility specialist often encounters patients who are sort of a reflection of the “child-free” concept. As a rule, when couples come complaining about the non-occurrence of pregnancy over a long period of time, at some point during the consultation, further examination or infertility treatment a doctor realizes whether the patient is on the same side of the fence or not. Whether a patient is ready to fight for a child to the bitter end can be easily understood. The fight against infertility is very often a long and exhausting road on which you often fall, start everything anew, and then start it all over again; with this cycle possibly repeating itself more than once. When a pregnancy does not occur, I always tell my patients: “Cry over it as much as you need to, take a break, forget about us for maybe three months and then, with clenched teeth and renewed vigour, resume your fight. Parenthood is first and foremost about patience; it may be that you are just not ready yet and we, on our side, have not yet managed to make the one child that is destined to be born in your family. But if both of us try hard, we are bound to succeed eventually”. And once again, patients get back to work with us, and we carry on and on and on until a new human being is born. And this is, I think, an understandable and logical approach to a child’s future. 

Yet there is another approach…The approach that is very much like the games adults sometimes play… It would seem that patients truly need a child, that the time has come. And they might even abide by some medical recommendations. But then comes the first failure or maybe just a new turn in the treatment tactic, and the spouses start looking for someone to blame, cancelling the prescribed medication, collecting expert opinions et cetera. And they will play this game for years…The question arises: was it all about having a child, or was it so that they could just attend some medical examinations and then be able to tell themselves that they have done everything that is humanly possible to become a parent? The culmination of such an approach to childbirth is a patient’s never-ending preparation for an IVF programme and the large number of excuses they keep finding to never actually start this programme. 

In this case, a doctor and a patient find themselves on different sides of the fence, and such collaboration, unfortunately, can never end well. To my mind, this is also a case of being secretly “child-free”. It is not something you can easily admit or something that you would want to admit; and telling yourself and others that “we really wanted it but they did not help us” is much easier.

Ultimately, children are not the only reason to live: some people cannot imagine their life without them, others should not even try to join this fight. But this is quite all right. 
Woman health Man health