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The One Question You Should Never Ask an Infertile Couple

Photograph by Getty Images/Moment RF

I've never had to live through the pain of infertility. My husband and I were lucky to conceive very easily. And each time we announced a pregnancy we were met with excitement and congratulations. No one ever stopped and asked, "Why don't you just adopt?"

For some reason, however, couples who struggle with infertility and choose to get a surrogate hear this question all the time. It boggles my mind because my first reaction to that thought is, it's really no one's business how a couple chooses to complete their family.

I know people who choose to have one kid or four kids or none at all. I know of others who have adopted internationally or through the foster care system. I know of couples who choose to have a mix of biological and adopted children in their family. And now that I'm a surrogate, I can say that I personally know of at least one very special couple who has chosen surrogacy to bring their daughters into the world.

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Having children is an incredibly personal decision and when you throw infertility into the mix it can really complicate matters. I can't imagine the pain of trying to conceive for years on end only to be met with disappointment at every turn.

There are so many men and women who ache to hold a child in their arms. And for many, surrogacy is the last resort. They've exhausted all other options and have now arrived at the realization that if they want a baby, they'll have to go through surrogacy. Picture going through all that and then announcing the news of your surrogate pregnancy only to be asked, "Why don't you just adopt?"

At the end of the day, I don't think it's wrong for anyone to desire a biological child. I don't think it's wrong to want to be a part of the process from the very beginning of the pregnancy.

First of all, there's no "just" when it comes to adoption. It's really not that simple. Adoption is expensive and can take years to complete. I have several friends who have gone through the process and it was emotionally taxing and financially draining. There have even been cases where the adoption was never completed due to birth mothers changing their minds at the last minute or countries deciding to close all adoptions. No two adoptions go the same and I that kind of instability might not go over well for a couple who's already been through so much in trying to conceive a child.

Everyone has their personal reasons for going the surrogacy route. Shira Duby, a mom of three thanks to surrogacy, says they chose this option for two main reasons, "One, we had great quality embryos so we had the option of having babies with our genetic material. I don't think it's wrong to want a child with my husband's eyes or smile. Two, we had already been through more heartbreak than I could count. Believe it or not, adoption sounded like the scarier option." When I hear her story it makes sense that they would choose surrogacy over adoption.

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Another mother through surrogacy, Trish Ciro, says, "Adoption can still cost $30-50K and you still could be without a baby. Surrogacy, while it doesn't guarantee a baby, is more secure if you do it correctly. I say that because even if my gestational surrogate at the hospital said she changed her mind and wanted to keep my daughter, the courts would not have given her custody."

At the end of the day, I don't think it's wrong for anyone to desire a biological child. I don't think it's wrong to want to be a part of the process from the very beginning of the pregnancy.

And, yes, adoption is wonderful. It's beautiful to see parents welcoming children into their homes and becoming forever families. But adoption isn't for everyone.

I don't think it's fair for couples struggling with infertility to be left with the burden of caring for orphans. Even couples who can reproduce naturally should care for orphans. Just think about it, if you think infertile couples are selfish for having biological children then maybe you are too?

So maybe we should just trust everyone to make the right reproductive choices for their own families and stop asking nosy questions that really are nobody else's business. After all, life is complicated enough as it is.

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