Wednesday, September 07, 2011

IVF and/or adoption

I often advise my patients to consider registering with an adoption agency while they are doing their IVF treatment. I do not think IVF and adoption are mutually exclusive options and feel that it's best for patients to explore all their alternatives in parallel rather than sequentially.

Many infertile couples are remarkably naïve about how complicated the adoption processes is; how long it takes ; and the fact that extremely few newborn babies are actually available for adoption , even in countries like India. Unless they do their homework and actually explore the process , they will never find out these facts. A lot of them believe that in case the IVF cycle fails , all they have to do is to go to an adoption agency and pick up a newborn baby and take it home !

Unfortunately , a lot of social workers frown on patients who want to pursue IVF treatment while they are on the adoption waitlist . They feel that this suggests the patient is ambivalent about the adoption option. This is not a stance I agree with.

The bigger problem is that when I discuss adoption , a lot of my patients get quite upset. They come to an IVF doctor to seek IVF treatment, not to talk about adoption !

There are many reasons I tell them to start exploring the adoption process.

For one, I think patients who want to have a baby have big enough hearts that they can have babies both by IVF as well as adoption . Just because they have a biological baby does not mean they will love their adopted child any less !

Secondly , they might find while doing the paperwork that adoption is a far better option for them to be pursuing rather than doing IVF . If that's true , then it's in their best interest to stop doing IVF and devote their money , time and energies to completing the adoption process expeditiously.

On the other hand , some may find that adoption is not something that they are comfortable
with . In this case , they will not have the false sense of security that in case the IVF cycle fails , they can always fall back on the adoption route. Sometimes the truth can be bitter , but it's far better to acknowledge this up front so that you can make well-informed decisions . We encourage our patients to empower themselves with information about all their options , so they do not have any regrets afterwards.

I think the other major advantage is it reinforces the fact that infertile couples do have options it's not that they don't have a choice and that IVF is their only hope. Rather than being forced into doing something which they don't want to do if they elected please select an option for themselves therefore happier going through treatment rather than otherwise. It helps them to refill the perspective that did not being pushed into doing IVF they have chosen to do IVF rather than adopt will remain child free this additional sense of control helps to give them a sense of autonomy which infertile couples often desperately need.

And what if they do get pregnant with their IVF treatment while they're on the waiting list for adoption, and then decide that they don't want to adopt any more. This is really not a problem at all all they need to do is withdraw the name of the waiting list and the adoption agency would be more than happy to keep the baby the other infertile couple who wants to adopt !


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