Through it all, remember why you're doing this: you want to have a baby or be an important part of a little one's life. While there is reason for hope -- with 80% of infertile couples eventually getting a baby after treatment -- not everyone succeeds in getting pregnant.
You may not have wanted to think about using an egg donor, sperm donor, or embryo donor when you just started treatment, and you may not be ready to consider it now either. But just knowing it's a possibility can help.
The same goes for surrogacy. Few couples begin their journey to parenthood by saying they want someone else to carry a baby for them. However, surrogacy has helped many people build their family.
Adoption is another option, one that some men and women will choose without ever attempting fertility treatments and others will turn to only after trying everything else first. Neither path is better or worse.
What If You Can't Have a Baby
Not every person facing infertility will go onto have a baby or child of their own. Some choose to become a foster parent, a Big Brother or Big Sister, or volunteer in a youth organization, like scouting. Some enjoy being an "aunt" or "uncle" to the children of their friends or family members.
No, it's not the same as becoming a mother or father yourself, and I'm not saying it will erase the pain of infertility. But it's important to remember that you don't need to be a parent to be an important person in a child's life.
Some will remain child-free after infertility, choosing not to adopt or foster children (or not getting approval to adopt or foster children.) Some decide on a child-free life and never try fertility treatment, and others only come to a child-free life after trying treatment. Both are legitimate paths to take.
Infertility can quickly take over your life and color everything. Whether you consider yourself child-free by choice, or child-free not by choice, it is for some a time of healing and a time to let go of the striving for pregnancy and parenthood. It is a time for redefining what your life and future will be without children.
When a person or couple decides to stop seeking treatment, stop trying to conceive, and stop trying to adopt, it can lift an enormous burden from their hearts and allow them space to heal. That is to say, life goes on after infertility. It may be different than the life you once imagined having, but it does go on. You have reason to hope for your future, however uncertain it seems right now.
- Before You Start the Adoption Process
- Foster Care 101
- RESOLVE: Myths About a Child-free Life
- RESOLVE: Donor Options
- Parents via Egg Donation
Dovey S, Sneeringer RM, Penzias AS. "Clomiphene citrate and intrauterine insemination: analysis of more than 4100 cycles." Fertility and Sterility. 2008 Dec;90(6):2281-6. Epub 2008 Jan 14.
General Infertility FAQ. INCIID. Accessed online on July 12, 2011. http://www.inciid.org/faq.php?cat=infertility101&id=1
In the Know. Fertility Lifelines. Accessed online July 13, 2011. http://www.fertilitylifelines.com/intheknow/index.jsp#itkfemale
Recent Survey Tells What Women Want to Know About Infertility. Island Family Magazine. Accessed online on July 12, 2011. http://www.vuzix.com/UKSITE/site/_news/06-08-VUZ-IslandFamily.pdf