I am an IVF specialist, and many infertile couples I see are worried, depressed and frustrated . They come to me because IVF is their last resort. All the other treatments they have tried have failed, and they are often at their wit's end. IVF is the treatment which offers them their final chance of having a baby, which is why all their hopes ride on the outcome of the IVF cycle . When I do a consultation, I explain to them that while IVF is a treatment option which is well worth exploring, they should also consider adoption simultaneously.

A lot of patients get very upset when I bring up the topic of adoption . They feel that I am being negative and pessimistic ; and their secret fear is that since I am talking about adoption, I think their chances of success are very poor and their IVF cycle is likely to fail. Some get irritated because they feel that I should have enough sense to realize that if they wanted to adopt, they would not have come to me in the first place !

This is not true! Just like IVF is a medical option for starting a family ,adoption is an equally sound non-medical option for building families. One is no better or worse than the other, and each couple needs to make their own decision. The important thing is that couples need to apply their own mind, rather than leave everything up to someone else to make the decisions for them. It's not true that adoption should be resorted to only when IVF fails. In fact, it's best to explore adoption before it is forced down your throat when the IVF cycle fails.

Exploring adoption while thinking about IVF helps you to analyse the pros and cons of adoption vis a vis IVF, thus helping you to make a more rational decision. You might find during this exploration that adoption is something which you are very comfortable with; which will make your IVF journey much easier, because you have a viable alternative to fall back on. On the other hand, if you realize adoption is not your cup of tea, you can choose to devote even more energy to ensure that your IVF works! You need to do your homework and make up your own mind, rather than relying on stories and second hand opinions.

The major benefit of this approach is that it allows you to go through your IVF treatment from a position of strength .You understand that you have additional options open to you; and that even if the IVF cycle fails, you can still build your family. This ensures that you will not go to pieces even if the cycle fails.

IVF and adoption are not mutually exclusive options and it's possible to explore both at the same time. They are complementary and not competitive and all infertile couples need to explore both with an open mind! Good IVF specialists, social workers and adoption counselors understand this; and will help the couples to find their own answers. The advantage of exploring them in parallel is that it saves time; and that you have a Plan B ready, no matter what happens !

And if you do get pregnant in your IVF cycle ,you can always make a donation to the agency; and take your name off the list . By doing this you will make lots of other infertile couples who are waiting below you on the list very happy !

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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