Adoptive Families Blog

Infertility to Adoption: Knowing When to Move Forward

Posted by Mardie Caldwell on October 15, 2015

When is the time right to move from infertility treatments to adoption? When will you feel ready emotionally? If infertility treatments just aren’t working, you must move forward with other ways of creating your forever family.

Through my personal experience and over 30 years of working with couples nationwide, I’ve made it my life's work to bless children needing forever adoptive parents. Here’s a question I often get asked:

How do we decide when the time is right to move from IVF to adoption? We just had our third try with IVF with my own eggs. Our doctor told us that I was a poor responder and the quality of my eggs is not good. I’m trying to work through the loss of both a dream and of the babies we fertilized and trying to decide the best direction for us. I still have such a passionate desire to "carry life" in me, but I am not sure if that will go away once I start the adoption process or adopt. Does it? My fear with adoption is that it might take years or the adoption might keep falling through. This is such a difficult decision, so I am curious as to what led other adoptive parents to their decisions.

Here’s my reply:
We decided that it was more important for us to be parents than to be pregnant. My biological clock was ticking, and we had to decide what we wanted most in our family. We moved from infertility to adoption and then after our first adoption of our son, we tried some mild infertility treatments again. We didn't have a lot of money to do extensive infertility drugs or procedures. So, we decided that adoption was right for us. The decision to adopt came surprisingly easy to both of us. We always wanted to adopt someday regardless of whether or not we had any biological children. So, it was a true blessing for us.

The desire you mentioned about "carrying life" inside of you is natural, and I think most women desire to conceive and see their pregnancy go to term and deliver a healthy baby. I still had that when we adopted. I don't necessarily think it wrong to have that feeling.

We have suffered seven pregnancy losses. We have experienced infertility, miscarriages, a fetal demise, and a tubule pregnancy with twins. In between the losses, we did have one full term birth of our daughter. It is a hard call. I have always told my adoptive parents that they need to work on creating their family, and if they want to try infertility treatments while trying to adopt, they should. I just couldn't imagine using birth control when trying to adopt after all the effort of attempting to get pregnant, and I've never felt I should ask my prospective adoptive parents to do something I wouldn't do.

Just a few years ago my OB-GYN gently asked me, "Mardie, why are you doing this to your body?" in reference to all the pregnancies and then losing them. I know he just didn't understand the desire to give it one last try. A few months later, he discovered pre-cancerous cells in my uterus, and I underwent a hysterectomy shortly after that. Knowing I would never carry a child again was difficult.  Even with my "oven" (or as my daughter calls it her "first home") gone, I still have moments when I experience "signs of pregnancy" and forget it is not possible for me to carry a baby. After so many years of wanting and trying and planning for babies, old habits are hard to break.

I counsel prospective adoptive mothers to pray that if God doesn't want you to be a mother; He would take the desire away. For me, the desire didn't leave me, and we adopted our son. You need to be honest with each other and find a medical professional whom you can trust. The chances of success in adoption are so much greater than with infertility treatments. When comparing the cost of infertility treatments and the cost of adoption, you will discover more help in financing and grants for adoption than infertility. Though the emotional ups and downs are about the same, they vary depending on the adoption route you take. Needless to say, when you look down at a child in your arms and those beautiful eyes are peering back up at you, and you know you are a mom-well, that is priceless.

I always say - "Don't give up; there is a baby for you!"

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Topics: Infant adoption, Infertility, I want to adopt a baby, infertility to adoption,, adopt a baby