Choosing Adoption or Donor Conception
For individuals and couples seeking to create a family following unsuccessful infertility treatments, the choices can be overwhelming and hard to think about. Both adoption and donor conception require research, planning, time and money. Individuals and couples who set out to choose between adoption and donor conception, without prior experience of infertility, can also be confused about how to make this choice and where to begin to find out about all of their options.
As an introduction to the help I can offer, I would like to offer some short answers to typical questions regarding the choice of adoption or donor conception. Further exploration of each person/couples' needs and options is best accomplished through consultations in my office. I offer short-term consultations, and longer supportive treatment to address concerns and choices available through both adoption and donor conception.
1. What is it like for our kids to know they have been conceived through donor conception? Is it harder or easier to be adopted?
Both donor conception and adoption are wonderful ways to make a baby! Both are also different than the "typical" way of a male/female couple making love and conceiving a child. Adoption and donor conception need to be explained to a child, and this conversation can begin at a young age. All children are ready to love the family that is prepared to love and care for them. Young children will not judge their parents for creating their family in a unique way, instead they will find the way their family is made to be special and wonderful because it is their own. Adults, on the other hand, do have opinions and feelings about the "right" or "best" way to make a family. It is the responsibility of parents to become comfortable and proud of their choices, and this will enable them to explain their child's genetic history.
Parents worry that their children will be ostracized or teased because of adoption or donor conception. It is certainly possible that this will happen, but not any more likely than teasing for some other reason. In my experience, parents' fears most often reflect their own concerns more than realistic risks for their children.
2. Why do people choose adoption over donor conception? And vice versa?
In my professional experience, many couples choose either adoption or donor conception based on very practical information: cost and time. Couples who have experienced many losses with infertility treatments often look to adoption because of the fact that a child, who already exists, waits at the end of the process. They do not want another disappointment of a failed conception. Parents who choose donor conception can find an expedient route towards creating a family with less waiting and a greater sense of control than adoption.
What are the fears and fantasies associated with each possible choice, and the decisions that follow? For example, after choosing donor conception, how does one choose a donor? If pursuing adoption, how does one proceed to find an agency, accomplish a home-study, and decide between foreign and domestic adoption?
I can help potential parents think about the meaning of all of these decisions and plan for their future families.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that individuals and couples pursuing assisted reproduction with donor gametes have (at least) one visit with a mental health professional with expertise in assisted reproductive technologies. Appointments are available for recipient counseling sessions, and include a report sent in a timely fashion to the treating physician. These counseling sessions include review of recipient's personal background, reason for choosing donor conception, and issues related to donor conception.
Evaluation of Potential Donors and Surrogates
Following ASRM guidelines, potential donors and surrogates will be screened with an extensive interview and personality assessment. A written report will be provided to the agency and treating physician in a timely fashion.
Interviews and assessments via internet communication are available.