I recently read two articles about IVF (in vitro fertilization) vs. Adoption. I posted one on my facebook page as I felt it was very well written. But my thoughts have kept coming back to these two articles. One supporting the idea that infertile couples should adopt and not use IVF and one responding to that article. I thought I would post them both here as I think they are worth reading by anyone and see if anyone has any thoughts on them they want to share.
Article #1 (Infertile couples should just adopt)
Article #2 (response to why ‘just adopt’ is not the answer)
I find myself down right angry at the author of the first article. I know she modifies her point of view by saying that she of course has never struggled with infertility. But her admitting that means she should have been able to admit that she had no business writing this particular article. And as the author of Article #2 points out, she does in fact get her information wrong. Does IVF cost a lot? Yes, but it ranges from 5-10k on average and 11 states mandate some health insurance coverage and more insurance companies are moving to providing some coverage as well. This can bring the cost down to as little as $2,000.
The author of article #1 correctly points out that there are medical risk to IVF that can be very costly. But she fails to mention the medical risks of adopting. When you adopt a child it is a giant unknown. International adoptions even more so. Did the parents drink, use drugs, smoke? Do they carry a genetic trait for a disease such as diabetes, crohn’s, breast cancer?
But this is all ignoring one very important point. Having a kid in general is a GIANT medical risk. You could have complications, you could do everything right and still have a very sick baby, you could carry a gene that when combined with your partner’s genes creates a devastating disease like Tay-Sachs or Cystic Fibrosis. It’s called LIFE. It’s all a risk and saying that one particular route of having a child carries medical risks and should therefore be avoided is irresponsible aggrandizement.
I find myself in a unique position to respond to these two articles. Not only are we undergoing infertility treatments but we are also Foster parents who are trying to adopt. Now let me state very clearly here that outside of Foster parenting we will probably never adopt a child. Why? Most of it is pure cost along with some ethical issues. We will never have 20-30k to adopt a child internationally. Local private adoptions can cost a little less, but not much.
In international adoptions most of the cost you pay does not go to help the family, they get very little if anything from this. Most of the cost goes to paying government fees (bribing whatever country to release a child) and agent fees. And then there is the loss. An international adoption is not some teen Mom from the ‘burbs who partied too much and got pregnant and now is wanting the best for her baby. An international adoption is a Mother, destitute, desperate, and sad. Perhaps you will argue that maybe the Mother really wants to give up her child? Well for the parents out there, can you imagine any situation where your poverty or other desperate situation would make you want to give up your children? I truly believe there are very few Mothers who want to give up their child. Sure they may want a better life for their child, but actually desiring to give up their own flesh? I find that hard to believe.
Would we love to adopt our Foster child? Yes. But I cannot ignore that adopting a Foster child means a judge has made a ruling and terminated, forever, the parental rights of someone’s biological child. That is a huge loss, no matter how terrible a parent they were (my exception is sexual abuse and physical abuse, you get no pity from me).
Now this makes me come off as against all adoption, but I’m not. Had we the money and resources would we adopt? HELL YES. But my point is that it all comes with a cost. I have to acknowledge that adoption creates a gain for me and a loss for someone else. Even that teen Mom who is scared out of her mind, adoption might be the best option for her, but there is no wanting to give your child away. IVF, adoption, fostering to adopt. There is all a cost, a risk, a gamble involved. And I am walking that tension-filled line.
My intention is to have a family, but I hold that in tension with the fact that there are risks, consequences, and loss involved. Right now there is a beautiful baby girl sleeping upstairs in my house who loves being tickled, her blue stuffed elephant (Mr. Blue), and giving us slobbery kisses. But we took a risk in taking her in. I had to acknowledge that I will most likely lose her. In all our infertility treatments I have had to acknowledge the risk to my body and stress of not conceiving. And if we do conceive a child, there will be risk involved there, (especially around the risk of if I can go 9 months without coffee).
The author of article #2 writes on her own blog (www.alittlepregnant.com) that she had to edit out a great deal of curses and cheap shots in her response to the author of article #1. D-i-t-t-o. Calling the author of article #1 a giant ‘word I can’t say bec I’m a pastor’s wife’ is satisfying. But what was more satisfying was reading article #2 and getting to post my own thoughts about it. The ‘alittlepregnant’ blogger is one of many out there who know what it’s like and offer a supportive place to vent and cope with infertility. And the fact that my pastor husband totally gets that I need to vent and doesn’t mind my ‘cursing worthy of a sailor’ like moments at home.