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Adoption or IVF

(52 Posts)
houseofrabbits Wed 20-Dec-17 14:04:51

I've lurked on the adoption and infertility sections for a few years now but this is my first post.

My DH and I are in our mid twenties and are thinking about starting a family, in-fact because of our situation it is something we have given a lot of thought from early on in our relationship.

I cannot conceive naturally, I would need donor egg IVF. We have actually begun the IVF process already. My DH has some fertility tests soon and then we will be referred to the local fertility unit to be approved for funding (we are eligible for 1 IVF round), then referred onto a clinic and onto the donor egg waiting list. We thought we knew what we wanted, 1-3 rounds of IVF (we have the funds to pay for a few rounds) and then opt for adoption if these rounds fail or for our second child if a round is successful.

However, I have been doing a lot of research about adoption. I've read a significant proportion of posts in this board, looked at posts in the adoption section on fertility friends, read a few books, looked up the process with our LA etc etc. I've read about attachment, funnelling, therapeutic parenting etc. It wasn't until we watched the new series of 'Finding me a family' (we already watched the previous series) that it sort of dawned on me that adoption didn't have to be a Plan B. I felt a huge sense of relief that we don't actually have to go through IVF. I'm not particularly fussed about experiencing pregnancy or childbirth. The only thing is I would love to experience a newborn, however I feel less fussed about this than I was originally.

So that leaves us with adoption. Our plan is to attend an LA information evening early next year and go from there. I am aware there isn't a queue of babies waiting to be adopted, I know it is mainly toddlers, older children, children with SEN and sibling groups. We would be looking for a sibling group of 2 ideally under 5 years old. If this isn't possible then we would consider overseas adoption. I know this is expensive and can be frowned upon somewhat. But if anyone has any recent information about the cost of this and the countries open to us that would be handy.

I don't really know what I'm asking. I suppose I would like positive stories from people who chose adoption over IVF. How did you know it was the right path? How has it turned out for you?

I think my main concerns about adoption are;
- We won't be matched with any children or we won't be accepted in the first place
- Funnelling worries me. I am an only child and my DM cannot wait to be a grandmother. I have discussed funnelling with her but I'm not sure the reality of it will be easy for her to deal with
- I'm not convinced my DH has any clue what the reality will be like. Although he says he understands it won't be the same as parenting a non-traumatised birth child, i'm not sure he quite gets it. I suppose the information evening and various stages to becoming approved would sort this out though.

So if anyone has any reassuring comments about my concerns, that would be helpful too!

OP’s posts: |
hidinginthenightgarden Wed 20-Dec-17 16:03:09

If you want to experience a newborn you could look into foster to adopt. Funnelling would be less of an issue with this too although to be honest, you will need to learn to stand up to people and advocate for your child so starting with setting boundaries with your mum will be a good start. Our LA had a workshop for parents so they could explain funnelling and what to expect directly which took a lot of pressure of the adopters.
We could have done IVF with donor sperm but adoption is something that has always been in the back of my mind (long before I met my DH who has fertility issues) so we went with that.

houseofrabbits Wed 20-Dec-17 16:23:38

hidinginthenightgarden thank you for your response. Foster to adopt is something we are considering. I suppose my concern with this is FAS and the unknown consequences.

When you say a workshop for parents, do you mean for parents of adopters so essentially the grandparents? I suppose part of me has always wanted my children to have a strong relationship with their grandparents, something that I never had, so funnelling is a difficult concept for me as well as my mum. But of course I would absolutely do what is needed for our children.

I am generally good at standing up to people and advocating for children, I'm a teacher so it's part of my job!

OP’s posts: |
hidinginthenightgarden Wed 20-Dec-17 17:29:20

FAS is something that wouldn't be diagnosed for a long time if ever as it is hard to get a diagnosis for. Many children will be diagnosed as ADHD, ASD etc as they have similar traits. A child of any age could have these issues and be undiagnosed at the time of meeting you.

Yes the workshop was for grandparents.

JustHappy3 Wed 20-Dec-17 18:57:10

You sound very grounded and sensible.
IVF is no emotional (or physical) picnic.
But adoption assessment and training can be as exposing and intrusive (which it needs to be). Though the lack of naked exposure, presentation of bodily fluids and risk of death from complications is a plus.
If you have time i would go see a counsellor and just explore a little more that feeling of relief - just to check and to check your dh feels the same. It'll stand you in good stead during assessment.
Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 19:07:23

houseofrabbits I had IVF with donor eggs, sadly, for me it was unsuccessful. We have a teenager birth dd and adopted ds 3.5 years ago aged almost 4.

Please think carefully about all the issues for yourself and dh about having children via adoption and via donor egg. You seem concerned about your mum but your dh is, of course, more central to the process.

I didn't enjoy pregnancy at all but knowing my birth dd from birth has been a great experience. If this is something you want, do think and explore carefully. There is no right answer, only what is right for you and your dh.

Feel free to ask anything useful, if you can think of it to ask. Xxxx

Good luck. flowers

houseofrabbits Wed 20-Dec-17 19:35:22

hidinginthenightgarden it’s not that’s I’m concerned about a diagnosis of FAS, it’s the unknown consequences of it. Because, correct me if I’m wrong, don’t children under Foster to Adopt have an increased risk of FAS because they wouldn’t be taken from their birth families so early on if drugs/alcohol aren’t involved, usually.

JustHappy3 I think it’s the likely failure of IVF that I would find difficult. I already feel like somewhat of a failure for not being able to conceive naturally, so the added failure of IVF would take its toll emotionally. I would like to see a counsellor, although to be honest I’m not sure who to go to about this? My GP? My DH is fairly laid back about the whole thing (hence my concern), but has always made it clear he favours the adoption route over IVF.

Italiangreyhound I recognise your name, I’ve read your previous posts. Of course my DH is central to this process and to this decision making. I just wanting to flag my concerns about my DM as well. I am hoping an information evening will make him realise all the difficulties that come with adoption and kick start him into doing his own research. Or at least booking an information evening will make him realise he should do some research beforehand or something. If you don’t mind me asking, how many rounds of donor egg IVF did you have and was it NHS or private?

OP’s posts: |
Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 19:41:12

houseofrabbits sorry if that sounded cheeky about your dh but to me it was not clear what he thought about it all (that is not to say you made it unclear maybe I misread it).

houseofrabbits Wed 20-Dec-17 19:48:05

Italiangreyhound I’m not offended at all, you weren’t the only poster to pick up on the fact I hadn’t mentioned him much in my first post. Totally my fault! But absolutely it will be my DH and I making this decision. For what it’s worth, my DM is incredibly supportive about our choice to adopt as well.

OP’s posts: |
Peppaismysaviour Wed 20-Dec-17 19:54:37

For us personally, we talked through all our options and adoption was the subject that sparked most discussion, most enthusiasm and just generally most conversation so we knew this was something we were more interested in instantly.
We were open to a lot and went to adoption as first route (lesbian couple so hadn't been through trauma of infertility etc) and due to being open minded we did not wait long to be matched. The process however is emotionally, physically and psychologically draining, time frames drag on and the levels of uncertainty are, at times, crippling.
Despite the process being so hard I am lay with our dd who is now two (and came to us at less than a year old) and i can say safely that it is 100% worth every second.
Good luck with whatever you decide and the adoption board is a lovely supportive board so lurk or ask questions and someone is always on hand

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 19:55:27

We were not eligible for IVF on NHS.All our fertility treatment was paid for by us (we had a cash injection from relative part way through when they downsized!).

We had two rounds of IUI, the second resulting in dd (now a teen). Then we were told no more with my eggs! We looked into adoption, dd was under two and we were told to wait.

I wanted a second opinion, twas the same! Pursued some futile IUI and one IVF but my eggs did not show up to the party!

Think we were still ineligible to adopt due to dd's age so went on waiting list for doner eggs. One round failed. Thought ready to adopt. Decided not ready.

Another round of donor eggs, had 5 embies, two put in (failed) remaining three not great 'quality' but argued case to be allowed to pay for them to be stored (frozen). Last frozen cycle failed.

I do think my issues were clearly not just eggs, I have possible immunology issues and I doubt Ivan 'typical'. So please do not be put off by my tale!

I do not regret all the treatment but was ready for it to end! We started adoption route 6 months later and ds was with us less than two years later. Adoption has not been easy but as out birth f2f is o. the spectrum (we think) adopted ds has not been too difficult by comparison and is very much one of the family! How he arrived I'm our family is never the issue

For whatever reason I chose to pursue treatment. Eh was ready to adopt before me and I do feel it is a shame we sunk so much money into it! But we chose to do that.

Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 19:57:54

I am not....Not Ivan

...but as out birth f2f is o. the spectrum...

Should be

...but as our birth dd is on the spectrum...

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 20:03:44

Ps I don't think there is anything wrong with overseas adoption but I think it is very pricey, plus there may be less certainty around health or other issues.

I did look into this yearsvaho (China) but at the time the wait was so long I would probably have been no longer eligable age wise.

I think adopting from abroad could be very rewarding and brilliant but I don't think it is an easier route at all.

Whatever you do, I wish you all the best. flowers

RandomMess Wed 20-Dec-17 20:11:16

If you are very concrete about the increased of FAS with foster to adopt then are you ready for the reality that the children available for adoption are very likely to have some level of trauma or issue that will come out at some point in their life?

Similarly there are no guarantees that birth DC won't have difficulties either.

I do wonder if SS would be concerned that you hadn't dealt with your infertility if you went for adoption when you are young and have the funds for it. It does seem like SS look for issues!

houseofrabbits Wed 20-Dec-17 20:39:53

Italiangreyhound I really appreciate you sharing all that information. The thing is I am not typical either and the fertility clinic I spoke to have already explained it might be more difficult for me to get/stay pregnant than more typical egg donor cases.

Overseas adoption is just another option we will look into. I have links with a Ugandan orphanage and always had some vague dream of going back and adopting a child from them. It’s certainly not an easier option name comes with its own set of difficulties!

Does anyone have any good suggestions about where to access counselling? Preferably with a counsellor who can help me (and DH) work through this decision.

RandomMess you make a good point. I feel like I understand the extent of attachment issues and the difficulties that brings far better than the extent of FAS, as no one really knows the extent of FAS. That is why I am a little warier I suppose? But of course, there are no guarantees with birth DC either! So at least with adoption we would have some idea of what we were getting ourselves into?

I disagree that I haven’t dealt with my infertility just because I’m in my mid twenties, and would politely disagree with any social worker who suggests so. I have known for around 10 years that I can’t conceive naturally, so I have had a long time to come to terms with it. I will seek counselling though to delve a bit deeper into this. I also disagree that just because I have funds means I should be expected to spend out on IVF first, it saddens me that SS would think like this. It suggests adoption is a last resort option only!

OP’s posts: |
RandomMess Wed 20-Dec-17 20:42:59

Just be prepared for SS to look at this angle. Yes yes yes to counselling to examine these things so your clear about where you are at.

All the best thanks

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Dec-17 21:04:09

Fertility clinics used to require counselling for all going down the donor egg route, may well still require it. One aspect is to check you are comfortable not actually having a genetic link to your child (for those considering adoption this may seem curious but I guess donor egg is a different route).

There are even donor embryos, another, possibly cheaper route meaning neither parent has a genetic link to the child, (as with adoption).

Clinics providing donor egg services would possibly be able to put you in touch with a counsellor but it would probably not be on NHS.

After Adoption are a charity and they may be able to put you on touch with adoption related counsellors. Again, I expect you would pay, and counselling is not cheap.

I've no idea where you could find someone who understood both sides but there must be someone.

There is increased risk with adoption, of course. You can have a birth child with ASD, ADHD or any number of situations, but not FAS if you as birth mum do not drink in pregnancy.

Also, having ASD or ADHD or whatever could be a massive issue, or a smaller one. Parenting is uncertainty and risk but as birth parents we can at least take care of ourselves in pregnancy and limit some risks.

I don't think anyone should undergo IVF if they don't want to. It is invasive, expensive and it doesn't have great results for some, although maybe donor egg IVF has a better than average success rate (please check, I am not sure on that one!)

Good luck.

Adopting from Uganda sounds like a great idea by I have no idea costs etc. Certainly having a personal connection to an orphanage might mean better information etc.

Jellycatspyjamas Wed 20-Dec-17 21:18:11

In terms of your DH not getting it, with the greatest of respect I don't think anyone does. Nothing can prepare you for the reality of two children who are very traumatised coming to live with you, be parented by you and being reliant on you. All the reading, discussion, knowledge doesn't change the fact that as new parents you're finding your way with kids you have no relationship with and who need you to be consistent, reliable and caring.

The prep group etc helps but know that your are both in for a culture shock like no other. If you accept that, you'll be able to help each other through the bits that are hard and learn to not expect too much of each other. It's a hard process from start to finish and early placement days are very hard going - don't worry too much about what you both "get" because you'll both struggle and need support with different things.

RandomMess Wed 20-Dec-17 21:23:10

@Jellycatspyjamas I agree I know parents who are still really struggling 18 months on with behavioural issues and discovering all about the lack of post adoption support sad

BangBangPipple Thu 21-Dec-17 08:26:00

Agree with jellycats that it's difficult for anyone to really "get it" until they're in the situation.

For what it's worth OP, I was in a similar situation to you (although it was my DH who couldn't have anymore children). I always wanted a big family as as much as I love my DSD she's not mine. We looked at IVF with ICSI, which we would have to fund privately, and it just really didn't enthuse me. I kept thinking over and over "if it doesn't work, we would do it again, and if it doesn't work we would do it again...and then what?". It would be a huge emotional and financial investment with no guaranteed reward, and honestly I thought it would break me. And I knew that if it didn't work, we would adopt, and our child might always feel like the consolation prize because we exhausted every means possible to have a biological child first. And that thought terrified me, so we decided against any fertility treatment and went straight to adoption and I am so glad we did.

Our infertility was diagnosed in November 2016 and we bring our baby home in two weeks. I'm also mid-20s and that hasn't been an obstacle in any way at all!

houseofrabbits Thu 21-Dec-17 10:41:05

Italiangreyhound neither of us are particularly fussed about a genetic link. I didn't know about donor embryos! I know the IVF clinic we have chosen offers a free counselling appointment, which is compulsory, however it would mean continuing the IVF process up until that point at least. I will look into After Adoption as well. I will also speak to my GP to see if she has any recommendations.

Donor egg IVF does have better results, but they still aren't great. Certainly less than 50%. And an even reduced chance for me as well.

Jellycatspyjamas that is actually really reassuring for me to hear.

BangBandPipple how fantastic that you bring your child home in two weeks! So the whole process only took about a year for you? That's amazingly quick! I absolutely agree with you, I do not want our children to feel like a last resort. Even if they didn't feel like it, I would always 'know' in the back of my head that we chose it as a last resort. And I really don't want that.

However, another part of me feels like that as there isn't a huge number of children to adopt, maybe we should try IVF because if it's successful then we haven't taken a child away from a family who have exhausted all other fertility options. I know this might be a strange way to think?!!

OP’s posts: |
Jellycatspyjamas Thu 21-Dec-17 12:44:12

It is a strange way to think - depending on where you are there may be children for whom you're the difference between having a family and growing up in the care system. While it can take a while for a match, that's usually about matching considerations and what folk have said they could/couldn't work with. While there is sometimes a competitive process for "easy to place" children, there are generally more children waiting for families than there are families to take them.

Lalou17 Thu 21-Dec-17 15:13:11

When going through the nhs for iui x2 as a same sex female couple we recieved counselling and was told if we ever needed to go back that we could free of charge.
We were told that the counselling session, is something they ask all single parents, doner eggs, doner sperm & same sex couples to go through before starting treatment.
But this took place at the hospital where we had iui.. I know not all places are the same but I thought it was worth a mention incase your hospital offers councelleing too .... whatever you decide to do.. good luck to you flowers

Lalou17 Thu 21-Dec-17 16:19:09

Not sure if it was free of charge because we had to self fund both iui's though but it's defenatly worth a check smile

catlover1987 Thu 21-Dec-17 17:33:37

Houseofrabbits I am in a very similar position and posted a similar thread a few weeks ago. Our infertility is unexplained but we had a lot of objections about ivf. We have decided to go down the adoption route. Have been for our initial meeting, have our medicals in the new year and then hopefully prep course in March.

I completely understand the sense of relief you talk about. For me, finally making peace with the idea that we didn't need to have a birth child to be parents was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I wish you well whatever path to parenthood you decide to follow.

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