For many, the decision to pursue adoption comes only after many years of struggling with infertility. Letting go of the dream of the biological child and embracing the deepest wish – to become a parent – usually involves some emotional work.

Deciding to stop medical treatments

Even though the infertility experience is most often described as an emotional roller coaster, knowing when to get off can be extremely difficult. Having a biological child is such a basic expectation.

Teri from Philadelphia states: “It was that belief that we couldn’t possible fail at this that kept us going and made it bearable.” The ever-expanding advances in reproductive technology techniques plus the variety of third party reproductive family building options (donor egg, donor sperm, surrogacy, gestational carriers) make this decision especially difficult.

While donor options are sometimes presented by doctors as other medical treatment options they are really other family building options. Deciding what is right for your family can be overwhelming. Couples struggle to make timely decisions mindful of long term considerations and try to process how each option might impact them and a child. How will each partner feel if they use a donor option? How do children feel about born through donor options or about adoption? How comfortable will each parent feel about discussing adoption or donor origins with a child?

Looking to draw the line somewhere couples sometimes make a plan – to do a set number of cycles, to try a particular treatment or family building option or not. But even these plans can get modified when there is any sign of encouragement from these efforts. Many couples have the frustrating experience of having “unexplained infertility” which means that they have no specific diagnosis. This tends to perpetuate their effort to find a treatment that will work. Getting a diagnosis helped Laura M. of Safety Harbor, Florida who said “Our lives could resume and we could switch tracks.”

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