How do I come to terms with an alternative route to parenthood (IVF, donation, adoption, etc.)?

5 fertility expert(s) answered this question

How to accept and follow a different way to parenthood?

Infertility news can be heart-breaking. Not all people who are not able to conceive with their own eggs and sperm are ready to move on to alternative pathways to parenthood. Some of them simply need time. These alternative routes to parenthood, such as donor eggs/sperm, surrogacy, or adoption, have helped countless people around the world. Give yourself time and consider if this is the right path for you.

Answer from:
Psychologist, In Vivo Fertility, Founder and CEO In Vivo Fertility

How do I come to terms with an alternative route to parenthood (IVF, donation, adoption etc.)?
Facing fertility challenges is like embarking on a journey.
You start your journey towards a specific destination and en route you may encounter unforeseen circumstances.
When traveling, weather conditions may change, your transport may need to be adjusted, you may need to catch a different flight, of take the train or rent a car. You may meet new people to assist you in your journey or bond even more with your co-travelers. And the one thing that certainly changes and adopts is yourself – you may adopt new behaviours, your values and beliefs may expand, you may decide to put some to them to the recycling bin….

Two skills are very important in this process –
The flexibility and the open-mindedness to make room for new options and opportunities.
And at the same time identifying and staying true to the bigger picture of your goal.
Answering questions like ‘What does parenthood mean to me?’ ‘What does family mean to me?’
With In Vivo fertility I have a structured way of enquiring and building the flexibility and resilience necessary in this progression of decision making and coming to terms with alternatives
I often describe the fertility process as a ladder.
To progress to the next step effectively you need to have farewelled the previous step/option/possibility and be in peace with that farewell.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub

When you’re investigating alternative routes to parenthood, it’s almost as if you have to fully close the door to what has gone before. We need to form a mindset point of view, almost need to review the steps that you’ve taken to get to that point to really feel that you do have that closure as such on, for example, IVF not working and needing to move on to an alternative route, for example. In terms of coming to terms with that once that door almost is more closed, you’ve got that closure over the previous and what has gone before, it’s important that if you’re going through this journey with a partner that you are on the same page. This often doesn’t happen at the same time, unfortunately. It can take longer for one partner to arrive at the same place in terms of going ahead with a donor or going ahead with a surrogate. It’s really important that you take that time, that you journey this together because it can be a very difficult journey if not.

In terms of coming to terms with a new way – a different way of meeting your parenthood goals, it’s important to channel deeply almost to the underlying goal that you are working towards – that underlying desire and channeling into that.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast

I think you have to go gently with yourself when you are coming to terms in the idea of your route to parenting might not be what you thought it would be, that might just be the fact that you have fertility treatment, it might be more involved if you have to go down the donor conception route or surrogacy or adoption. The best thing you can do is find out as much as possible about what these options entail, whether that’s speaking to professionals, or finding support groups. There are amazing online communities for all of these different areas and there are people that have walked that path ahead of you. There are questions that you might think are obvious, but you still need to ask them, there will be people who have already asked them and found the answer. So do your research, get empowered from the information that’s available and ask the questions. The more you start mixing with people that might be in these different communities, the more confident you’ll feel about the decisions ahead of you as you will be able to talk with people who actually know what you’re talking about.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Specialist Fertility and Miscarriage Counsellor Wendy Martin
Answer from:
Fertility Coach

It is very difficult if you have to take an alternative route to parenthood in a fertility process. For example, it is difficult because it’s a grieving process. It is a grieving process because you are saying goodbye to your ideal picture as you always dreamt it to be. You are saying goodbye to your ideal picture of getting pregnant naturally instead of with IVF or with getting pregnant with your own eggs instead of with donor eggs, for example. Or your ideal picture where you would carry the baby in your belly and not through a surrogate or adoption, or where you would become parents together with a dream partner and not as a single mother, for example. So, that’s a grieving process, and you’re also saying goodbye to a child, not a physical child, but your dream child, your imaginary child as you dreamt it to be. For example, the child with the genes of you and your partner or the child you would carry in your belly.

That is a grieving process, and this grieving process is difficult because you’re still very attached to that ideal image and to that dream child of yours, and you’re not yet attached to the new picture in front of you, to the new child, to the new picture. So, as a fertility coach, I always work with my clients on, well, I teach them how to complete their ideal picture. I mean, you have to give it a place in your story and acknowledge that it was important to you, and then only you can complete it and go on in your process. And, of course, it’s also important to try to connect to the new picture, to imagine how it will be for you. You know it will be different, but it can also be beautiful.

With my clients, I do this, for example, with a visualization exercise, but you can always also try to fantasize about it yourself, of course. And then also, yeah, I think you have to realize that you’re entering a new world, for example, donor conception or adoption, when you have never considered it before. It’s a new world, so it’s normal to have worries and fears about it. So, talk about this with professionals and also gain enough information about this new world you’re entering. I think these are all important things to get through your grieving process and your decision process.

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