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Advice and honest opinions- IVF vs Adoption

(21 Posts)
MrsH14 Mon 04-Apr-16 07:36:31

Morning all, I'm just after some feedback on our situation and wondering how others made the leap.

In September my dh was diagnosed with Azoospermia. Since September we have had tests and on Wednesday this week we are going to London for more tests and hopefully to be booked in for sperm aspiration. Since day one we have both agreed we don't want to use a donor but we would like to egg share. Partly for the discounted price for ICSI/IVF but also so I can hopefully help somebody else with infertility (I do plan on donating my eggs whatever happens). We have agreed we would only do one round as we feel our savings would be best used elsewhere.
The elsewhere we are thinking is using it to bring an adopted child into our lives. We would rather use our savings for that than maybe waste it on cycle after cycle.

The advice/opinions I'm after is of it is even worth giving the one cycle a go or just going straight to adoption? I've always been very open to adoption where as my dh has had to get his head around that might be the only way we have a family.

Thank you

CrazyCatLaydee123 Mon 04-Apr-16 11:13:15

What is more important? Having a family, or having a child that is biologically yours?

I didn't have a choice as I have a blood condition that means I can't have hormone treatments of any form, including IVF. Even if I could have it, I am still not sure if I could put myself through it, especially as some of the drugs they use have been linked to cancer, and also it is a lot of heartache. I have worked with a couple of people who went through cycle after cycle. They both were successful in the end, but one couple had had to move in with parents and rent out their own house to save money. It was sad to watch cycle after cycle not working, but a happy ending nonetheless.

The other thing to factor in, if you go down the adoption route, is to give yourself some time. You have to grieve for the biological child you may never have. It sounds odd but you grow up imagining what your children will be like and what your hopes and dreams are for them, the things you'll do together, their personality, who they'll look like etc, and then thanks to infertility they are gone. It's like the imaginary child has died by its never-gonna-happen-ness and you have to grieve for them.

Adoption agencies prefer you to have at least 6 months since any infertility treatment before you apply for this reason. You could use this time to read lots on adoption so you know what is best for you. MN is great for that!

notinagreatplace Mon 04-Apr-16 12:28:44

How old are you? If you're under 35, especially if under 30, you should have good odds of success with an IVF cycle. I do think, though, that if you're going to give it a try, it's worth paying the full price (if you can) so that you maximise your chances and keep all of your eggs. I am currently pregnant from an egg donor cycle so I think it's amazing that you're thinking of doing egg donation anyway.

It's a very personal decision - I think some people feel like they need to give fertility treatment a go in order to move on to adoption wholeheartedly.

For me personally, the reasons why I went down the IVF/egg donor route rather than adoption were/are:

That my DH and I get to be the primary influences in our child's life from the very start - right from the food/drink choices I make during pregnancy onwards. Of course, I know that there will be other strong influences but I find upsetting the idea of strong negative influences before adoption that I would have had no control over.

That, unless anything goes wrong etc, there will be no intrusion into our lives from social services.

That I'm not confident that my DH and I would be well suited to support a child who had experienced trauma/other issues pre-adoption - obviously, that isn't an issue with all adopted children but unfortunately it is with many - and I think those children deserve the best possible support.

And, finally, that my DH and I are a mixed-race couple and not a mix that has many children of that mix available for adoption so I suspect it could take a long time.

That said, I still think about adoption all the time - which is why I was browsing this topic.

raininginspringtime Mon 04-Apr-16 13:10:05

I would strongly advise against sharing eggs if you are the one having the treatment. About adoption I don't know, but I'm sure the ladies here can advise flowers

Kr1stina Mon 04-Apr-16 14:25:33

Try the IVF first . Waiting a few more months or even a year or so will make no difference to your chances of adopting .

It doesn't cost anything to adopt in the UK, except in lost wages, as most agencies placing a baby require you to take a years parental leave .

If you don't try IVF first and adoption doesn't work out for you, you may regret having never tried .

You won't get a new born with adoption, you will be lucky to get a child under a year . All these children have suffered trauma and loss. Most have a family history of mental illness or addiction or learning difficulties . Many have been exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero .

Adoption is a great way of having a family , but it's not the same as giving birth to a child and it's not for everyone .

MrsH14 Mon 04-Apr-16 15:16:37

Thank you all for your input. I'm 28 so I do have time on my side. The main thing for both of us is having a family.
We wouldn't be looking at starting the adoption process until the end of this year beginning of next if we did go down that route.
I guess because IVF might not even be an option for us I'm trying not to pin all my hopes on it.

tldr Mon 04-Apr-16 15:46:19

If you're open to adopting, it takes the pressure off IVF a bit, because the IVF isn't then everything.

In your shoes, I'd decide upfront how many rounds of IVF you're prepared to try and then do it but stick to whatever you decided.

We did three, none of which worked, but I'm glad we did them (not least because it meant us and our children were all available for adoption at the same time!)

If IVF doesn't work for you, you've loads of time to look into adoption then.

Good luck!

sarahlux Mon 04-Apr-16 17:54:38

We decided on adoption over IVF. I don't think that decision is right for everyone but it was right for us.

Your story is very similar to mine. My partner also has azoospermia, we were good candidates for IVF according to the doctors. We were both 24. However it just didn't feel right for us, no specific reason really apart from it didn't feel right. Once we decided on adoption it felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We have not said no to IVF full stop just didn't want to do it at this time. If I'm honest I don't think it's something we will ever do.

We were really lucky that we had a fantastic social worker who saw exactly where we were coming from but it was really questioned.

We were approved in January 2015 and we now have a beautiful 14 month old daughter who came home in 6 months ago.

Do I regret not doing IVF absolutely not. Do I still stand by my decision - 100%.

Good luck with what ever option you choose xx

Just1duck Mon 04-Apr-16 21:12:09

It's such a personal decision. By that I mean that what's right for one person may not be for you.
DP and I went through 4 cycles of IVF, unsuccessfully, before adopting. But when we were doing IVF we had no intention to adopt. I was pretty sure I would never want to adopt. It was over 2 years after finishing with IVF that we started to talk about adoption, so for us they were two very separate, somewhat unrelated, options.
Now we're obviously delighted that we have AD, but I do not regret the IVF. It was tough and heartbreaking and isolating in a way that the adoption process wasn't, and I think it required a lot more resilience as a process. But our parenting journey may now require a lot more resilience than parenting our birth child might have.
If I was forced to advise one way or the other, I'd say give IVF a go. Especially as you are already open to the idea of adoption as a later option.
Best of luck in whichever route(s) you go down.

Italiangreyhound Tue 05-Apr-16 02:28:46

I would agree with Kr1stina, try fertility treatment first if you can. We had fertility treatment for dd and the adopted ds almost two years ago.

If you want to try it, go for it. And we'll done considering egg sharing.

Good luck. (Ps we had donor eggs, never successful, but I think the problem was me - feel free to pm me if you like....

raininginspringtime Tue 05-Apr-16 08:50:37

The problem is that clinics tend to take the "best" eggs for the recipient as they are paying and therefore the chances of it working are reduced considerably.

Good luck flowers

notinagreatplace Tue 05-Apr-16 10:53:58

raining - I hear this a lot but I really don't think that's the case. My clinic (I had an altruisitic donor but they explained the egg sharing thing to me anyway) had a very strict policy of ordering the eggs by quality and alternating between the sharer and the recipient - with the sharer getting the extra one if there was an odd number. Their statistics suggest that this was true - egg sharers had equally if not better chances of success than the recipients. IVF in the UK is really well regulated (one reason why I didn't want to go abroad) and I just don't think clinics would take that risk.

I do think, though, as I said already that you'd be better off going for a full cycle than sharing anyway - as if you're only going to give this one shot, you should give it a full shot.

Italiangreyhound Thu 07-Apr-16 23:29:54

Raining may I ask - what do you base that comment on?

We had treatment with donor eggs from an altruistic donor, which means me and another person were jointly recipients. Then a second time we had an egg share (and frozen cycle) none worked, and I do think in my case it was me.

I think egg sharing is a very kind thing to do but I must admit in your shoes MrsH14, at this time, I would keep all your eggs and do the best for yourself. If you (or anyone) later wanted to donate eggs you could do so as an altruistic donor if you are younger than the threshold for donors.

raininginspringtime Fri 08-Apr-16 06:43:24

Anecdotal, to be honest Italian; I don't know one person who shared their eggs who had successful treatment through it and they were all young with no fertility problems (same sex couples largely using donor sperm).

You can still donate your eggs later, as you've said.

Italiangreyhound Sat 09-Apr-16 00:38:42

Personally, I am a bit uncomfortable with egg sharing but I did it (as a recipient - i didn't have the eggs) and I guess my defence is we all do quite desperate things at time! I was not (and am not) very much against it, it just seems a bit of a way round the rules so to speak.

But having an altruistic donor was nice. The thought someone had voluntarily given their eggs for me and another woman, it felt very good.

Italiangreyhound Sat 09-Apr-16 00:39:28

MrsH14 is this helping you to make a decision?

MrsH14 Sat 09-Apr-16 10:18:56

Italiangreyhound it is giving me things to think about. We are going to an adoption open evening at the end of the month to find out some more info on that side.

I do think I would kick myself years down the line if I didn't give IVF a go but I'm not sure I can put myself through it knowing that it might not work anyway.

Our appointment on Wednesday was pointless because our referring hospital didn't send my dh latest semen tests results over.
We were however told that due to my dh having high fsh that it is less than 50% chance they will find sperm doing M-TESE.

I'm not the most patient person and a little bit sick and tired of feeling like our future is in the hands of people that don't really care how the waiting is affecting us.

tldr Sat 09-Apr-16 15:33:47

I completely understand that, but don't think adopting will make that any different. Perhaps you need to just accept that whatever route you choose, it's essentially going to be a giant PITA on someone else's timetable.

Physically, I found IVF not that bad. The drugs were a bit annoying, the procedures themselves so worse than a trip to the dentist. (I found the emotional roller coaster tough though.)

Kr1stina Sat 09-Apr-16 18:40:02

You could go for adoption and it might not work anyway .

And if you think it's frustrating dealing with medical services , wait til you have to deal with social workers . They are a whole new level of incompetence and delay .

And you will rarely meet anyone who cares less about your feelings than the social workers you will deal with during matching ( and sometimes during assessment and approval ) .

I'm not saying this to be mean . But you need to know that adoption can often be longer and harder than assisted conception. There are no guarantees with either .

Time is on your side because you are very young, younger than most adopters . I suspect that even if you wanted to skip IVF and go straight to adoption, some agencies might have concerns that they will asses you and then you will change your mind, because you have other options .

Also most agencies will have a waiting period between you finishing IVF and starting your assessment . If used to be two years but it may be one now . Anyway , your timescale of starting adoption at the end of this year is WAY too soon. Especially as your DH has yet to get his head around it .

user7755 Sat 09-Apr-16 18:47:44

We went for adoption over IVF. We are not focussed on biological links with children, it is not important to us and we felt very pragmatic about the whole process. There are kids out there who desperately need homes and we were in a position to provide that.

It is hard, very hard at times because the kids come with a whole range of issues, but it is genuinely the best decision we ever made.

Italiangreyhound Sun 10-Apr-16 02:10:44

MrsH14 I am pleased this is being of some use.

I think you need to hold on to this.. "I do think I would kick myself years down the line if I didn't give IVF a go but I'm not sure I can put myself through it knowing that it might not work anyway."

Re "I'm not the most patient person and a little bit sick and tired of feeling like our future is in the hands of people that don't really care how the waiting is affecting us."

Totally agree with tldr re "I completely understand that, but don't think adopting will make that any different. Perhaps you need to just accept that whatever route you choose, it's essentially going to be a giant PITA on someone else's timetable."

I found MANY IUI attempts (one successful with just one egg) and one IVF attempt and two IVF attempts with donor eggs and one IVF attempts with frozen embryos made with donor eggs to be OK, stressful but OK. I found adoption OK but stressful (especially matching). And our son joined us two years ago via adoption when our birth dd was 9.

All quite stressful BUT I would not be without either of my adorable children.

The medical profession for IVF etc did basically treat us like a customer, most of the time (well ours did as we were, we were paying). We were on a medical time table. Social services treated us well, with respect, but we were definitely on their time table.

We were required to wait 6 months before starting adoption after IVF. I have heard different periods of time in different places. Our choice to go down the adoption route came at the end of a long time of IVF so we could say we were genuinely through with IVF.

IVF is not just about having a biological or genetic link with your child. I had treatment with donor eggs, there would have been a biological link, e.g. my body, but not a genetic one. Some choose IVF with donor eggs or sperm, even though there may not be a genetic link because the woman wants to experience pregnancy and birth, or because the couple want to know about all the things that have influenced their child from conception onwards.

Adoption can work out extremely well and can be a great choice, but I would really not down play the need some people have to experience pregnancy or birth, or to have a biological or genetic link to their child or simply to not parent a child who has had a troubled start in life. It is not a bad thing to decide to decide for IVF, if it feels right for you. With either adoption or IVF there are no guarantees, I know people who have had IVF and it never worked. I know people who have given up on the process of adoption.

Hope you will find some peace in all this.

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