How do we decide between infertility treatment and adoption?
There are many alternative ways to grow a family. Some couples consider adoption as a first line choice. However, the majority undergo infertility treatment. If these treatments are unsuccessful, couples are then faced with the decision to pursue donors, gestational carriers, etc. Every situation is unique and there is no right or wrong answer here. It is just like parenting. We all have to make the best choice for our family. We walked this path, and based on our experience, here are some things take into consideration:
1. Are you emotionally prepared?
Infertility treatments are known for being an emotional roller coaster ride. There are high doses of hormones. The woman’s body may or may not respond appropriately so the planned cycle can change at any time. There may be miscarriages along the way or even infant loss. There are just so many variables. I found the entire process simply exhausting on all levels.
On the surface, adoption might seem easier. The hormones are subtracted from the equation. For me, this did not simplify things. First, I needed to let go of any attachment to being pregnant. Then, we both had to accept that we would not be genetically linked to our child. This may be easier said than done. After that we had to navigate the complicated waters of the process itself with the possibility of a failed adoption. This was no easy task. The roller coaster of adoption often parallels that of infertility and pregnancy in many ways. And lastly, if it is an open adoption, there is the relationship with the birth parent(s) to consider. I will write more about these last two statements in another post.
2. Are you financially prepared?
Infertility treatments can be very costly with no guarantee of success. However, some couples have insurance coverage for at least a portion of the cost. We did not, so we moved on to adoption.
Adoption has a huge range of cost. It varies depending on the type of adoption. With foster-to-adopt, there may be state aide. While with domestic/international newborn adoption, the cost usually starts around $25,000 and increases from there. This does not take into account money lost if there is a failed adoption. If an adoptive parent is fortunate enough to work for a company that subsidizes these expenses, they are truly blessed. Most couples that I know have used grants, loans, GoFundMe pages, fundraisers, and second mortgages to finance their adoptions.
3. Which choice is more ethical?
OK, this may sound like a strange thing to take into consideration. It’s not. Certain religions have real difficulty with what happens to the remaining frozen embryos after IVF. This can be a real deal breaker for some.
On the flip side, there are also those who believe that adoption is unnatural and the permanent emotional scars/wounds to the child make it an unethical choice.
4. How does your family feel?
Again, it would seem that this is a strange thing to consider when trying to grow one’s own family. Infertility treatment is likely acceptable to most families until possibly IVF or a donor/gestational carrier is brought into the picture.
Adoption, especially open adoption, can be more challenging for friends & family members both to accept as well as understand. We found that certain people still believed in the “secret” of adoption. Meaning that back in the day, adoptions were usually kept secret from the adoptee and there was likely no further contact with the birth parent(s). Now we know that research shows that open adoption is the best for the child. This can be difficult for others to support as the relationships involved can be complicated and difficult for them to understand.
These are a few of the issues that we considered while weighing our options for growing our family. If you’d like to learn more, come on over and join the Mommy Later community!