When I was in your shoes, I had friends and supporters who fell into two buckets. There were those who were unfortunately facing their own infertility issues at precisely the same time as me. While we were able to swap stories and uncover bits of information, I realize now that alot of misinformation was shared between us. We just didn’t have the foresight to understand that there are numerous causes for infertility and our specific cases were all quite unique and some very complex. In the other bucket, I had a sister who was able to get pregnant by merely washing her underwear with her husband’s. Her deliveries also fell into the that’s-so-not-fair category. My niece was born a few hours after my sister’s water broke and my nephew is lucky that he wasn’t born in the car on the way to the hospital. The doctor told my sister that if she decided to have another, she should plan on wearing a net so that the next baby could make their entrance on her stroll to the hospital. She and her husband stopped at 2 though. As an aside, my sister weighed 120 lbs. at the very most when she gave birth to her children. It has always perplexed me how her deliveries were so darn easy--I thought the skinny girls always took the longest to deliver their babies. Anyway…
When my husband and I learned about my infertility, I was excited to figure out the adoption process and conquer that initiative. However, when it came to the egg donor process, I was not enthused about the idea whatsoever. My miscarriages were so devastating to me that I did not want to endure another pregnancy. I wanted to avoid all of the data surrounding that topic completely.
Our approach to dividing and conquering was that my husband took ownership of the entire egg donor process and I managed the majority of the adoption details. My husband researched egg donor agencies, spent time on chat rooms and fertility blogs and interfaced with the doctors, nurses and our fertility clinic to set appointments. He even chose our egg donor agency. Of course, some participation was needed on my behalf; I showed up for the necessary doctors’ appointments, took all of the prescribed medications, and helped choose our egg donor. Looking back, I really didn’t think that I would be able to carry a pregnancy to term and deliver a live baby. Because of my mind-set, I really only wanted to focus on the area that I felt would produce a living, breathing child. My role as our adoption liaison entailed interviewing attorneys/adoption agencies and keeping us on track with the licensing process. Most importantly, I interfaced with the birth mothers who had chosen us as possible adoptive families. When we matched with Brandon’s birth mother, I fostered and nurtured that relationship. In the end, I think the time that I spent getting to know Brandon’s birth mother positively affected the outcome of our adoption.
The overall take-away here is that the process of growing your family should be a shared responsibility regardless of who bears the fertility issue, in my humble opinion. My expectation of my husband, while we were trying to become parents, was that he needed to provide assistance beyond just hiding out in the naughty room at our doctor’s office and delivering his man sample. I felt that given the physical trauma that I had endured during and after the previous miscarriages, I needed him to step up in a way that minimized my stress and anxiety. For me, his active participation was absolutely necessary so that I could emotionally move forward with the egg donor process, even though I had not bought into the fact that it would work for us.
I sincerely hope that you have a partner and/or network of supporters who will actively and enthusiastically participate in your path to becoming a parent. You have been through a lot (of course they have too but you win in this particular case). You should not feel guilty about leaning on them for pragmatic as well as emotional support.
If you need some ideas on how to direct your beloved supporters on how they may assist you during your quest to become a parent here are a few:
- Check out Fertility Success Rates. This site publishes the success rates of fertility clinics and breaks them out by practice and State.
- If you feel that adoption may be a possibility, seek out some agencies in your area. Start understanding the process Adoption Learning Partners. My husband and I went to a free adoption orientation at The Cradle, an adoption agency in a nearby suburb, on a Saturday morning. We were able to learn about the differences of going through a domestic versus an overseas adoption. We spoke to families who had adopted and it was very insightful.
- If you feel strongly about domestic adoption and want to begin the process, start developing your parent profile. Truthfully, this was the most daunting task for me. I am in marketing and advertising and am also very competitive. I wanted ours to stand out and win over every single birth mother. I asked pretty much all of our friends, doctors, and adoption specialists for feedback. The bottom line is that it should just reflect your true feelings about why you want to become a loving parent.
- Start looking at your finances and determining what budget you may be able to allocate towards growing your family. Personally, I learned that our insurance provider/plan covered up to 4 fertility treatments. Believe it or not, in our case, our donor’s treatments were fully covered.
- Grants and aid are becoming available for those seeking fertility treatments. If you have already chosen a doctor/fertility center, you may want to inquire about their willingness to allow you to pay as you go through the process. Some may even offer assistance or programs that will lower the overall costs.
- You may not have a group of friends who is struggling with infertility. If that is the case, in addition to coming to Hope4Fertility you may also want to seek support through a licensed therapist (some fertility practices provide referrals to their patients) and/or visit sites like FertileThoughts or Parents via Egg Donation and last but certainly not least.
I just wanted to offer you a few resources to get you started. I will delve into adoption and fertility treatments separately as I continue to post. If you have specific questions about my path to becoming a mother, please feel free to email me directly!