It’s time to bust some myths.
I wrote this post because RESOLVE is sponsoring “Bust a Infertility Myth Blog Challenge” in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 -30, 2011). You can also check out RESOLVE’s Infertility 101 or read about other common infertility myths.
There are two myths surrounding trying to conceive and adopting and I will try to tackle both of them.
- “Just adopt.”
- “You should just adopt, then you’ll get pregnant.”
Myth #1: If I know someone who’s having trouble conceiving, maybe I should tell them to just adopt. Or, ask them if they’ve considered adoption.
Fact: No, you should never give this unwanted advice.
As a woman who has not wanted to adopt in the past and as someone who is considering it now, I can absolutely say hearing the words “just adopt” is unwanted and painful. Thankfully, I’ve only heard it a couple of times over these last five years. One of them came from a nurse practicioner at my OB/GYN clinic. I wish I was kidding. If anyone should be sensitive, I think it should be women’s health professionals, but alas, that is not always the case. And, this was four years ago before we even had any diagnostic testing or began any infertility treatments. She had no right to tell me that, and was medically negligent in my opinion especially when we had lots of options at that point and had no reason to believe that we wouldn’t ever be able to conceive.
Let me explain why suggesting adopting to an infertile is not a good idea:
- When you are still trying, whether or not you would consider adopting, it’s painful to hear. My husband and I desperately want a biological child. Period.
- It comes across as “why don’t you just give up already…this is never going to happen.”
- This is a deeply personal decision and not something to be bantered about as if you’re talking about the weather.
- When people say “just adopt,” they think it’s an easy solution. You want a child. There are children to adopt. It’s not that easy. It takes the right people and a lot of soul-searching.
- In many cases, it requires grieving the loss of a biological child. This is difficult for people to understand. This has been extremely hard and I’m in gray area right now. I feel like I’ve been grieving, but I haven’t completely given up hope either.
- The financial aspect of adopting is staggering. There are many who have failed to conceive and their hearts are open to adoption, but they simply can’t afford it. General costs to adopt are around $20,000 to $30,000. Add that to the $20,000 or more than many of us have already spent on fertility treatments and you can see why it’s financially impossible for some couples. And, additionally hurtful when you tell a person to just adopt, and although they want to, they can’t afford it.
- It’s hurtful to those whose first choice to have a child is to adopt. It was never a back-up plan for them.
- It’s very insulting when it’s coming from someone who has a beautiful child sitting at home with mommy’s eyes and daddy’s nose. Easy for them to say.
I think the only exception to this rule would be when someone who has adopted has a heartfelt conversation with you and asks if you have considered it.
Myth#2: “You should adopt, then you’ll get pregnant”
Fact: Adopting has absolutely no bearing on your ability to conceive.
This is last thing I want to hear and it makes me feel like beating my head against the wall. Yet, everyone has a story that they tell where this happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.
- Adopting will absolutely, positively 100% not help me get pregnant and stay that way. Infertility is a disease that needs to be treated just like any other disease.
- It’s hurtful because it implies that if we stop stressing about getting pregnant and pursue adoption, then we will conceive. Not true. Read my post - Just say no to “Just Relax.”
- You have to want to adopt. It’s not for everyone. It’s not to be taken lightly. It’s not the means to an end. It’s an end.
- It’s not some easy step to check off your list in your quest to conceive. Get my uterus examined — check. Take ovulation drugs — check. Check hormone levels — check. Adopt a child– check. See how ridiculous this is?
I hope this has helped to explain why these myths can be so painful to women like me.
I’m happy to answer questions. Just leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to follow along on my journey or for infertility, IVF and multiple loss coping information. Click here to subscribe using RSS or become a follower on the right-hand side of this page.