Recently, with in vitro fertilization (IVF) becoming more news worthy, thanks to the Kardashians, I frequently hear people (with no real life experience in this arena) comment, “Why bother doing fertility treatments? Why not just adopt!?”
Every couple battling infertility becomes subjected to the verbal diarrhea and the unsolicited advice and opinions of others. Seriously, I’ve lost count how many times over the years that my hubby and I battled infertility, how many folks blurted out, as if it were the solution to all our troubles (physical, emotional, and financial): “Why not just adopt!?”
Look, adoption is amazing! And it can be a wonderful path to parenthood for some. However, STOP SAYING THIS to couples struggling to conceive! Seriously, just shut the hell up!
Why? Here’s why:
1. It’s none of your damn business! Are you forking the money over? Are you going through the process? Are you raising the child? Nope. This makes your opinion with regard to my fertility treatments or my adoption invalid. One hundred percent none of your business!
2. There are other paths to parenthood than knocking boots and adoption. For example, there is intrauterine insemination (IUI, the process of washed sperm being placed directly into the uterus at ovulation), IVF (a fertilized egg known as an embryo being placed in the uterus), and surrogacy (using someone else’s oven for your bun). Donors may provide healthy eggs or sperm, too. The gift of life rocks! Point being, just because someone received an infertility diagnosis, does not mean game over. Options exist.
3. Adoption ain’t easy either! It’s still a difficult process, not an effortless and cheap solution to a hopeful parent’s troubles. It’s expensive. It’s long. It’s stressful.
The average cost of domestic(verses international) adoption through an agency totals $20,000–$40,000, including a home study, counseling for prospective parents, medical care, and the plethora of fees.
The average time frame waiting for placement of a child (after the initial crap ton of paperwork is completed), according to the Independent Adoption Center, ticks in at 14 months for older children with infants taking longer. Ninety percent of prospective parents receive a placement within 28 months. So yeah, not a cake walk by any means!
Sure some government funding exists, but not enough. There’s always the foster parent route, which costs less, but that is also not without its challenges.
And let’s not forget that not all adoptions are successful. Sometimes the birth mom or a relative changes her mind at the last minute, and months of prepping and hoping are dashed in an instant. And you likely won’t receive a refund of the money you invested either. Any labor and delivery nurse has witnessed the heartache of prospective adoptive parents as newborn adoptions fall through postpartum.
4. There’s no harm in trying. What’s wrong with trying IUI or IVF and then, if necessary, pursuing other paths to parenthood? What’s the crime in exhausting all of the medical options first, if one possess the willingness and financial means? It’s no one’s choice but the person going through it! And trying infertility treatment doesn’t mean you lose the right to later adopt.
5. Adoption won’t magically erase the grief of infertility. Then again, neither will birthing an infant. You may love the adopted child as much as you would a biological child, but the scars of infertility remain. Life moves forward, but nothing erases memories. One does not simply “get over” infertility. It changes you just like any tragic experience.
6. Adoption isn’t the exclusive territory of infertile couples. Have you noticed no one says “why not just adopt!?” to fertile couples growing their family? Why not? Because it is not selfish to want to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and to mother/father offspring (unless you’re having fertility issues apparently and then people cringe like you’re a monster).
Humans belong to the class known as mammals and mammals birth live young. In other words, reproduction is a completely normal process for human beings (unless, of course, you have fertility issues).
Just because you choose to pursue fertility treatments does not mean you’re selfish or a bad person. You made an educated decision and chose a strategy that hopefully leads to parenthood.
No, those battling infertility are not part of earth’s plot to control global population. These struggling folks often have legit illnesses such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Infertility is an evil side effect from these medical issues.
7. Maybe the parent or parents don’t want to adopt. While many consider adoption a beautiful path to parenthood, not everyone feels this way. And that’s a personal choice! One doesn’t have to agree with this decision, but respect should be given.
8. God’s not punishing infertile couples. Stop saying ignorant bullshit such as, “Maybe you’re not meant to have children.” Or, “This is God’s way of saying you should just adopt!” Even worse statements include, “The world is already over populated.” And, “Obviously you did something wrong and are being punished. At least you can adopt.”
Yes, I heard each of these insensitive ramblings! Those battling infertility need support, not rude comments. They face enough fucktastic trials and tribulations. Your 2 cents are unnecessary! A simple, “I am sorry you’re going through this!” suffices.
9. Reserve judgment until you’ve experienced a situation. Quick, your house catches on fire! What do you do? You calmly gather the kids and pets, quickly leave your house, and call 911 from a neighbor’s. But if your house actually catches on fire, your reaction may be radically different. There’s muddling over analogies in your mind and then there’s actually living a certain situation. Until in that person’s shoes, you’re clueless.
People harbor many misconceptions about fertility treatments and adoption. They allow ignorance to guide them into wrongfully judging others. An opinion is fine to formulate, but don’t force it upon others surviving a difficult situation who are capable of sound decision making. (Revert to #1 if necessary.)
10. Reaching a decision is difficult. Trust that the involved party will do what is best for them. You are not the foremost expert on their personal lives, their reproductive systems, or their emotions. The team of professionals they are working with is.
After much deliberation, my husband and I decided to try treatments first. The decision was grueling, involving a lot of intense research. We spoke to fertility specialists at length, weighing our options and the probability of a potential pregnancy. We interviewed with adoption agencies. Our treatments resulted in a healthy pregnancy and in January 2011, I gave birth to my first daughter.
Our choices were met with some negativity from those attempting to force their religious beliefs or opinions on us. They literally had no clue what we endured. Therefore my hubs and I ignored their often uneducated pressure. We feel that science is a gift from God to aid us on our journey to parenthood, not man trying to be God. Though I will never fully understand why I was cursed with the endometriosis that led to our fertility troubles, I accept that life contains many trials.
I hope to still some day become a foster mom. I have so much love to give! But never have we regretted our choice. It was right for us at that point in our lives.
Several of our friends in similar situations pursued fertility treatments as well. Unfortunately, not all resulted in a pregnancy. Other peers decided to follow different paths. Some chose to remain childless. Others became foster parents. And some adopted (babies or older children via domestic or international methods). Each did what felt right for them.
A family is created out of love. If you’re in the depths of making this decision, follow your heart—that’s what matters. Only you know what is right for you! And if you are not experiencing this life altering situation, be kind. You only have speculation from which to base your judgments upon.