Is Adoption Right for You as an Alternative to Fertility Treatments?
by Suzanne Robin, RNMay 01, 2014
If you're among the 12 percent of couples in the United States that — according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine — struggle with infertility, you may have already had people ask why you don't just adopt. Deciding whether to pursue adoption rather than fertility treatments is a personal choice as well as one based on your chances of conceiving through fertility treatments. Both options can be costly, but both can also be well worth it in the end. Only you can decide which is best for you.
Your Fertility Factors
One of the most important factors to consider when weighing adoption vs. fertility treatments is your likelihood of success with the latter. Some fertility issues are relatively easy to resolve, but others are very difficult. Your age, your partner's sperm quality and whether or not you will need surgery before you can proceed with fertility treatment can all influence your odds of success. If you're 35 or younger, you have a 40 percent chance of success with each cycle, according to 2012 Society of Reproductive Technology statistics. Those odds drop to just 4 percent if you're 42 or older.
It's perfectly normal to fantasize about seeing your partner's eyes, your love of reading or your mother's talent for singing coming out in the next generation. On the other hand if your family genes aren't anything you're all that excited about passing on, if you have a family history of serious disorders or if biological ties really aren't that important to you, adoption makes an excellent initial option. In a Scandinavian study reported in the September 2012 issue of "Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica," having children — whether by adoption or through fertility treatment — was found to have resulted in a high quality of life compared to couples who underwent unsuccessful fertility treatment and had no children.
Weighing the Costs
Both adoption and fertility treatments can be costly. On the other hand, if you have insurance that covers fertility treatment or if you plan to adopt a special-needs child, your costs might be minimal. If you have insurance coverage for fertility treatment, it might make perfect sense to exhaust that option first, as long as your age isn't a factor in adopting, as it is in some agencies. Fertility treatments, unlike adoption, can also come with physical costs, since they often involve powerful hormone injections.
Owning Your Feelings
If your partner is gung-ho to start your family through adoption but you have doubts, don't. You do a child no favor by adopting him as a second-best choice. In the United States, between 9 and 15 percent of all adoptions fail, with the adoptive parents returning the child, the Child Welfare Information Gateway reports. Inadequate parent preparation and unrealistic expectations were among the reasons listed for disruptions.