Out of every 8 couples in the US, at least 1 of those couples will experience infertility. It affects both women and men, young and old, black and white, and rich or poor. It is something that a person can be born with or it can develop later in life due to various diseases, syndromes, cancers, and/or reproductive complications. Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a child so when a person or couple reaches that stage in life when they are ready to start their family, they are headed down a much more complicated road.
Over the years, thanks to science and the legal system, there are now options that allow those infertile couples to become parents! Things like adoption and surrogacy allow for anyone to be a parent that cannot carry or conceive a pregnancy themselves. Both options are amazing and no matter how you become parents- it only matters that you BECOME parents!
Adoption is a beautiful way to create or complete a family. Whether you be adopting from the US or internationally, a newborn or a teenager- you are becoming parents to that child and giving that child the family they so desperately want (and need!). Some people may go for the straight adoption route where you might work with an adoption agency/firm to adopt a child and some may choose to adopt through fostering. *Becoming a foster parent is also a wonderful way to help and spend time with kids whether you end up adopting or not!
Surrogacy (traditional and gestational) is another form of family building that involves a woman (often a stranger), who carries the pregnancy for the intended parents and gives the child(ren) to their parents at time of birth. With both types of surrogacy, legal contracts are put in place to protect all parties and to ensure that the intended parents are given full custody of their child(ren).
– Traditional surrogacy is more uncommon these days, as the woman carrying the child uses her own ovum (eggs) and is therefore genetically related to the child she is carrying. With a traditional surrogacy, they would only be transferring sperm into the surrogate’s uterus in hopes that she would conceive a pregnancy. Since the baby in this case would be biologically related to the surrogate, the legal process is much more difficult as the woman would hold a biological right to the child unless willingly giving up that right (which can never be guaranteed).
– Gestational surrogacy is when an already fertilized embryo is transferred into the uterus of another woman. In this case, there is no biological relation between the baby and the surrogate as the egg would be from either the intended mother or a donor, and the sperm would be from either the intended father or a donor. Gestational surrogacy is currently the only option in the world that allows for the intended parents to have their own biological baby!
To all those who are struggling with infertility and are feeling hopeless or at an impasse- THERE ARE OPTIONS! They may not be the ideal pictures of how you thought your family would be created but at the end of your path (whichever you may choose), you will be parents and will have the family you’ve so desperately longed for.