Why do we treat infertility as if it's cancer?

I’ve never gotten it either. Adoption doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are so many kids needing loving foster homes. Even healthy young children are available to foster parents, even newborns!

My dear friend had adopted two girls through CPS and they are wonderful, bright, caring girls without any serious issues.

I think most women want a child more than they want to be pregnant.

For the majority of couples with fertility issues, adoption is more costly and more time consuming than assisted reproduction. One always hears about the couples who pay for six rounds of IVF, but lots of people are successful after a few rounds of clomid (practically free) or a mild surgery to remove fibroids, or any number of fairly low-key alternatives.

I don’t how my friend Scott can prefer the company of other men to that of women. I mean, I don’t find men repulsive; I can imagine having sex with another man without vomiting. But in my eyes, the best-looking, best-smelling, most dulcet-voiced man on the planet is less attractive to me than the average woman.

That doesn’t mean that Scott is confused or wrong to feel the way he feels. Just that he’s wired differently than me.

Maybe all of y’all “I couldn’t care less if I ever have a child” folks are wired differently from those of us who desperately want one.

Not being able to have children when I’d always intended to was a much bigger blow than I’d ever anticipated. I couldn’t relate to the grief over it either, when I was still blithely sure of my own ability to get pregnant. “What’s the big deal?” I thought. “There are tons of kids up for adoption, and anyway parenthood looks like a lot of sacrifice so why don’t they just move on?”

I grieve over it now for quite a few reasons, some of which I’ll try to articulate here and others I’ll keep to myself.

  1. It changed my outlook and made me challenge my assumptions about what long-term marriage and family should look like for me. My husband is a joy to me, and I took great pleasure in imagining what our child(ren) would look like, who they’d take after, what pursuits my husband could nurture them in and what I’d nurture them in. Would they like to cook the way we do? Would they take up music the way my husband has, and the way I’ve seen the children of lots of musicians do? I began from the attitude that a marriage is a marriage, but a family means more than just pets. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable with the notion that my husband is my family, and we will likely never be more than two.

  2. I get sad about not having an active part in passing along family traditions, values, experiences, rites of passage, songs and stories and all the other things that link past generations to future. Yes, I can do so with my nieces and nephew, but I’m a bit player and not a conduit.

  3. I like kids. I enjoy their company. In general, I’m a nurturer, and few things in life are as rewarding to me as helping things grow. I’m sad about losing the opportunity to raise a child in my own home, to influence and be influenced. I’m sad that I won’t grow as a person in the ways that I would if I were a parent. I wonder about being old with only non-immediate family to reach out to if I need support. (I recognize that children are no guarantee against this.)

  4. It feels like a failure of womanhood, or a judgment against me by the universe. I no longer believe in God, but damn if it didn’t take a long time to get past the idea that this was a punishment for something. It dredged up a whole host of regrets, and anger I couldn’t direct productively-- I was pissed at myself, my past self. The naive, trusting, idiotic and confident 20-year-old self who got me here. I keep wanting to apologize to my husband for having already failed him before we even met, though he wants me to do no such thing. Still, it feels as if I’ve taken something away from him – something that, like me, he always assumed would be part of the course of his life.

And I was ignorant of the fact that I couldn’t reproduce until two years ago. I’m 35 now, and so just on the cusp of losing the opportunity to adopt. We’ve researched both IVF and adoption, and the cost is roughly the same and equally out of reach. IVF is not covered under my health insurance, nor, of course, is adoption, so it would all be out of pocket. We’ve been retooling our finances and I sincerely hope that we’ll have the wherewithal to take action before it’s too late. That said, I’ve still had to get my head and heart around the idea that it’s out of reach. That, too, was hard.

I agree. Just as the piss poor don’t ‘need’ anything and don’t ‘need’ to be as happy as richer people.

People are syaing it’s difficult and expensive to adopt, but does that just mean for newborns? What about all the older kids in foster care that can’t find homes? Is it just as hard to adopt a ten year old as a newborn?

Dio, many people want their own children. They want to reproduce themselves; to pass on their genes; to know that some part of them will live on after they have died. Even infant adoption does not fulfill that need, and adopting an older child does even less.

I’m not saying that to put down adoption. Adoption is a fine thing, and I’m sure that the bond between parents and children in such circumstances can be deep, abiding, passionate, and strong. But that doesn’t mean that the urge to father or bear a biological child is invalid, or that grief over not being able to do so is illogical or unwarranted.

Yes, I know. I’m saying I don’t get why I’m supposed to care. I want a Porsche, but nobody’s crying because I can’t have one. I’m not going to die, and neither are they.

It’s not a “need,” by the way, it’s just a want. Needs are things like food, shelter and companionship.

Also, I think a lot of people would disagree with you about how fulfilling it can be to adopt an older child.

Who, specifically, is asking you to care?

Companionship is not a need.

Actually it is. People without companionship suffer great psychological damge. We are a social species.

My parents adopted 3 infants (including me) in the mid-to-late 1960’s when they were both over 35 and in fact when I came around, dad was 46, my mom 44.

Are things really so different now?

A woman who wants to bear a child and cannot is a tragedy just as much as a gay man who is forbidden from expressing his sexuality.

I’m sure that really sucks for them, but it’s still not a need. You won’t die without companionship.

Is it really that difficult to offer sympathy to someone who’s hurting, even if you don’t share or agree with the source of that hurt? Are we really to the point where that concept needs to be argued about?

I also know someone who specialized in taking care of newborns for CPS. She had to have everything ready, a crib, formula, baby clothes, etc. She never know when she’d get a call about a new baby who had been taken from it’s mother because she delivered while high on meth or the mom just declared that she didn’t want the baby.

And she’d take care of the baby while the wheels of justice slowly turned. If the rights of the mother were severed, and no relative stepped in, she would have ‘first dibs’ on the baby. She had 3 children this way who she raised from birth.

Well, first of all, most people aren’t really interested in ten year olds - some are. But most people want to mold a little life from the earliest moment possible - conception if that works out. But if that doesn’t work out - younger is better. A ten year old may or may not ever see you as “mom.”

Also, in Minnesota, foster care is challenging to adopt from if you aren’t interested in kids with pretty intense needs - or risking that the birthmother will be seen to be fit - as is the case with infant adoptions out of foster care. Most of the kids in foster care in Minnesota have been pretty severely abused - mentally, physically, and sexually. Many of them have physical and/or mental disabilities. For those willing to take on those challenges, I have nothing but admiration - but that isn’t the type of parenting I was interested in signing up for out of the gate. But if you are interested in doing that type of parenting, there are certainly kids who need you and Ramsey or Hennepin County Social Services will be glad to hear from you.

Pretty much everybody. It is a social expectation that these people are deserving of a sympathy reserved for terminally ill people.

I mostly agree with the O.P. I can understand the heartbreak but not the brooding resentment and hyperfocus on reproduction that grip some couples.

What’s E.D. have to with it anyway? :dubious::wink:

And why do we treat erectile dysfunction as if it were cancer?

I’ve tried to talk my wife into it, but she isn’t interested. we already have a houseful. We have a niece who does it, though.

I would say that people who are not interested in nurturing older kids who genuinely need compassion and love are not people who want to be parents for the right reasons anyway.