View Full Version : Thinking about Adoption

01-15-2009, 02:46 PM
Hi Pat,
My husband and I are thinking about adoption. My husband had cancer as a child and the treatment left him unable to have children. I would prefer to use donor sperm to become pregnant since I want to experience the whole process. My husband is only willing to use his brother as a donor, but this is looking like it will be more complicated than we had first thought. I know that I would rather adopt than have no children at all and I know that if I adopt I would like to adopt a newborn. I'm just still struggling with the choice to adopt rather than become pregnant. Do you have any advice that would help me come to terms with the choice to adopt?

Thank you

Pat Johnston
01-15-2009, 03:40 PM
Chandra, the first thing that you need to do is to reflect very carefully on the question "What is more important to me: to be pregnant or to be able to parent a child?"

If you need to be pregnant more than you need to be a parent, your option is donor insemination--or a change in partner.

However, that choice is far more complicated for your husband.

You husband has evidently already thought carefully about his version of that same question, which has been complicated by the fact that his choices are more limited than are yours. It would appear that he has decided that, even though he won't be able to father a child biologically, he wants to be the father of a child. He has opened himself to both adoption and donor insemination.

Whether he can be and wants to be genetically related to his child-to-be by using his brother as a sperm donor is a far more complex question for him than it is for you. His "loss" of the biological ability to create a child, no matter which option is chosen--sperm donation or adoption. But using his brother as a sperm donor could set in motion some very complicated sibling "rivalry" issues that would be in front of his face for the rest of his life.

Adoption, on the other hand, provides no genetic connection, but what it could do is put the two of you once again on an equal footing as partners: If you adopt, each of you gives up genetic connection, the experience of creating and birthing a child, but you gain the experience of parenting--together.

These are such complex questions for any individudal and then for a couple. You might want to do some reading about these issues. A couple of books I would recommend are my own Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families (http://www.amazon.com/Adopting-Sound-Choices-Strong-Families/dp/094493434X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232051928&sr=1-1), the first three chapters of which are about this very kind of "sorting out" to make a choice that works best for the two of you, and Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility (http://www.amazon.com/Unsung-Lullabies-Understanding-Coping-Infertility/dp/0312313896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1232051809&sr=1-1) by Janet Jaffe, David Diamond, and Martha Diamond

Please post a follow up if you would like and we can talk more about this! I KNOW how hard this is.


01-16-2009, 02:30 PM
Thank you Pat. I will start with the books you recommended. I know I want to be a mother. I'm just still trying to get used to the idea that it is not going to happen the way I always thought it would.

01-22-2009, 12:14 AM
Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families (2008) is also very good.

Also there are some good resources online. I really like this one and http://www.threeyellowroses.com


07-09-2009, 02:06 PM
I have almost finished reading Adopting Sound Choices, Strong Families and my husband and I think adoption could be the right choice for us. I started looking up information on adoption agencies and came across embryo adoption. I really like this idea because I would really like to experience the pregnancy. What is your opinion on embryo adoption?

Pat Johnston
07-09-2009, 02:33 PM
Chandra, I think embryo adoption can be a great choice for someone interested in experiencing a pregnancy. Another option, of course, is egg donation.

In choosing an agency, I would recommend one that genuinely sees using another couple's stored embryo as an adoption, rather than a treatment. This usually means using a program affiliated with an adoption agency rather than an IVF medical practice. Bethany Christian Services has such a program, for example, as does Nightlight.

The difference is in the counseling and education and post-birth support available not just to recipient couples but to donor couples. Medical practices often lump embryo adoption, egg donation, and sperm donation into "treatments." They aren't "treatments" for infertility, which remains, but instead are alternatives, providing a child for an infertile couple to parent-- a child who deserves to know about his origins since his genetic makeup is not his parents'.

One also needs to understand, when choosing embryo adoption, that though there are hundreds of thousands of embryos in storage, very few of them are available for adoption. The wait can be longer than for traditional adoptions in some parts of the country.

Another alternative, of course, is egg donation, using your partner's sperm with a donated egg and implanted in you for gestation.