Adoption as an alternative to treatment for infertility

You may wish to consider adoption as an alternative to treatment for infertility. Learning more about the tests, exams, success rates, and costs of infertility treatment may help you decide. Adoption provides people with an opportunity to raise and nurture a child. In recent years, the increased availability of infants and children from outside the United States has increased the chances of a successful and positive adoption.

When deciding whether to adopt, consider:

  • Your emotional feelings about not being genetically related to your child. Think about why you want a child. How will you deal with a possible lack of information about your child's genetic background?
  • Your feelings about adopting a child from a different ethnic background. How do the members of your family feel about someone from a different ethnic background coming into the family? How will they deal with sensitive issues that may come up? Will your extended family be able to embrace the child? How will you answer the child's questions about his or her origins? How will you answer questions other people may ask about the child's heritage?
  • Domestic and/or international resources available for placing a child. Many state agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Welfare Family Services, have information on children available for adoption. In addition, many adoption agencies and private attorneys advertise their specialty in adoption issues. Search the Internet for nonprofit or government-regulated adoption agencies. Check the yellow pages in your telephone book under "adoption."
  • Your personal financial resources. Compare the costs and success rates of elective infertility treatment with the costs and success rates of adoption. Be clear about what you can afford and about your financial ability to provide for your family's needs.
  • The length of time the adoption process involves. Compare the time involved in infertility treatments with the time involved in adoption processes. Are you able to be patient and accept the time frames?
  • The personal evaluation process required of all parties in adoptions. Adoptions require checks on personal background, financial status, and employment status. They also require home studies by social workers, physician health statements, and in some cases, psychological evaluation.

Adoption and infertility treatments are both complex options that need careful consideration. Support groups and counseling along with the most recent information on both options can help an individual or couple make the best decision.

Last Updated: March 21, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA & Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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