1 in 8 chance this'll help someone out.
September 17, 2007 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Resolve.org is a site devoted to providing support, both emotional and practical, to people struggling with infertility issues. The immediately apparent benefits to visiting would be their informational documents and errata, but of at least equal value are the bulletin boards where you can talk with other people dealing with infertility, whether it's for the sake of venting, chatting or just to have someplace you can go where you don't have to hear the words "well, adoption isn't so bad..."
posted by shmegegge (66 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh I get it, this is for people who think infertility is a *bad* thing.
posted by tkolar at 11:42 PM on September 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well, adoption isn't a bad thing...

As long as there are children who need adoptive parents, I can't seem to mobilise a lot of sympathy for infertile would-be parents.
posted by Harald74 at 12:05 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


As long as there are children who need adoptive parents, I can't seem to mobilise a lot of sympathy for infertile would-be parents.


Um. Ah, fuck it.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:28 AM on September 18, 2007


Would this be a good place to go for information about how I can become infertile?
posted by mullingitover at 12:31 AM on September 18, 2007


As long as there are children who need adoptive parents, I can't seem to mobilise a lot of sympathy for infertile would-be parents.

Jesus. Cold, much?
posted by zardoz at 12:37 AM on September 18, 2007


Jesus. Cold, much?

I'm with Harald. Why should infertility be considered anything more than an inconvenience? If you want kids, there are other ways. Mourning your defective reproductive system (or your partner's) is pretty damn selfish, if you ask me.
posted by hjo3 at 12:53 AM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


This makes Baby Jesus cry.
posted by Poolio at 1:00 AM on September 18, 2007


GENES DAMNIT I WANT TO SPREAD MY GENES
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:27 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Why should infertility be considered anything more than an inconvenience?

My God, you people sound like you're from the year 3000.

Mrs. zardoz and I are planning to have kids in the very near future. And, yes, I would like to create my own kid, but I don't think that's selfish. I found out that I was infertile, it would certainly make me at least think about the fact that I won't be passing on my DNA, and it would be a bit of a shock.

But personally, I'm fine with adoption. Mrs. zardoz, though, would be pretty devastated, as she not only wants children and wants to experience being pregnant and the whole schmiel. I don't think of it as "pretty damn selfish". More like a natural human desire, and like all deferred desires, painful when it doesn't come to pass.
posted by zardoz at 3:34 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Most pregnancies and births are covered by health insurance. Adoption can run more than $20,000.

Perhaps if you feel that strongly that people should adopt, you should start a nonprofit funding adoption for those who can't afford it?
posted by miss tea at 4:26 AM on September 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


It's sad to see MeFi these days. The site has gone from a thought provoking best of the web board to a series of mindless and assinine attacks on just about anything that anyone else finds interesting. Cynicism and judgment are EASY. Step up to the plate kids. Give compassion a swing.
posted by RenMan at 4:48 AM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Having no desire to reproduce, I have a very hard time understanding why infertility is such a hard thing to accept. If you want kids, don't you basically want kids, with the how of it mattering very little in the end? And so I think this is where the perception of selfishness comes in: when adoption is rejected almost out of hand, it becomes clear that the couple is more interested in what they get out of having children, rather than the experience of the child.

And adoption might indeed be pricey, but infertility treatments generally don't come cheap, either--with breakthrough cures and 'maybe this times' luring desperate couples ever further into debt.
posted by gsh at 5:09 AM on September 18, 2007


When I asked this of a physician who does a lot of IVF work, he pointed out the history of our society's treatment of the infertile going back to Abraham. They really do get the shaft, and parenting is extremely tied-in to our personal and social psychology. The tales of raising-other-people's-children in our culture are not nice ones. If you can't acknowledge this, you aren't trying very hard.

Second, yes, an adoption easily costs as much or more than infertility treatment, depending on the cause of course. From some friends who've adopted, I'd put the cost (for an infant with no major medical defect) at closer to $40k. It's also much more personally invasive. While the physician is physically invasive, adopting requires extended periods of having your whole life be judged by a number of people, just waiting and hoping that they approve and allow you to have a baby.

If only there were more lesbians who needed my super-smart half-genome.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:11 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


renman: compassion? How about compassion for the kids that need adopting. The lucky ones go to foster homes. Maybe do some googling on group homes, and try wondering where the compassion is.

It sounds like the US is kind of fucked if it costs $20k for adopting. Here in Ontario, if you adopt a local child (and I believe infants, but then you've got a hell of a wait), the only part not covered is the paperwork for background checks (police, financial, physical). We've spent at *most* $250 and we're planning on getting a sibling group of 2 or 3 kids. A whole family for $250 - with a pregnancy you'll easily spend that much on food.

Of course, the gestation period is a bit longer: we're hitting 9 months right now (well, 5 since training started - legislation changes caused a 4 month bubble), and we're not showing yet. Probably 15 months or less.

gsh: I suspect that it's not really that they want kids, but they have a feeling of something missing, and society's answer to that is "when are you two making us grandparents?"

If they wanted kids, they'd be spending the extra time to get educated on the additional challenges of raising older, adopted children. My google fu is failing me, but most kids technically available for adoption (read: parental rights permanently severed) aren't even offered for adoption, because they prioritize the challenges of raising versus the number of parents available. And when most people in the US do decide that they might consider adoption, they're only willing to consider the infants.

They don't want kids, they don't want to make a difference, they're just slaves to the urges provided by their nonsentient genes.

Perhaps it's because I've had more time to deal with my infertility; 8 years, 1 day and counting since I got my vasectomy.
posted by nobeagle at 5:38 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


RTFL before posting.

Adoption

Adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Choosing to adopt a child means you are willing to make a lifelong commitment to raising a child and creating a family for that child. There are many options for Domestic and International Adoption.

It is important to gather as much information as you can about adoption. RESOLVE offers member-to-member contacts, so you can speak to someone who has been through the process.


[...]

For many, adoption is a happy resolution to infertility. However, most people explore medical treatment for infertility prior to considering adoption. In addition, traditional adoption options have changed, and adoption can be more costly and time-consuming than expected. It is, however, still possible to adopt the healthy baby of your dreams. There are also many older children and children with special needs available for adoption.
posted by magullo at 5:54 AM on September 18, 2007



Many of these comments are judgmental and disgusting. Ever hear of biology? Ever hear of being in love with someone and wanting to have *his* child? Ever hear of being afraid that you might not be able to deal with the challenges of adopted older kids and being honest about admitting it, rather than pretending you can and winding up hurting more people?

Also if you are a woman who has never borne a biological child, the social stress is enormous: you are made to feel like you are not really a woman and you are defective and you are selfish and you are evil.

You can pretend these pressures don't exist all you want and pretend people are dumb for following the strongest biological urge in nature-- but when you are faced with something like this yourself, it gets very different very fast.
posted by Maias at 5:58 AM on September 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


If you have something, or if you have decided to go without it, be very careful about telling people who are forced to go without that they are being selfish or whiny or whatever. The heart knows its own bitterness as an onlooker cannot. I'm single, and a LOT of partnered people have told me that finding someone to share my life with isn't really a big deal, won't make me any happier, etc. Somehow I don't think they'd take that attitude if they got dumped, divorced or widowed, but I'm just supposed to go without. Now that is a selfish attitude.

Seriously, if you have that attitude toward infertility, I recommend you spend some time on this site. Try to make sure you understand where these people are coming from before you speak, and then speak to them on those terms. I do think most infertile people will adjust in time, but it may take them awhile to get there. They won't "just adopt", they'll take a little while to work through things and then come around to the idea.

Perhaps it's because I've had more time to deal with my infertility; 8 years, 1 day and counting since I got my vasectomy.

And for the love of God, don't make these kinds of facile apples and oranges comparisons. Deciding to become infertile is NOTHING like discovering that you are when you wanted to have a child.
posted by orange swan at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


I really regret looking at these comments - there are a lot of very nasty people out there.
posted by Lezzles at 7:06 AM on September 18, 2007


There is a fundamental difference, and I think high-level misunderstanding, between difficulty to conceive, and infertility.

If you are experiencing difficulty conceiving, then SCIENCE! can help you to a great degree, and there should be no shame or societal shunning because you had to help the process along. It's still your baby, your genes, your pregnancy, etc.

If you are truly infertile, there are still some other choices (surrogate) but really at that point I think adoption is the most clear and rational choice.

It pains me to point this out, but also note there is nothing in the world wrong with adopting even if you have biological children.

I think adopting is one of the most kind, generous gestures that an adult in America can make. However, a great many of them make a good decision, but for the wrong reasons. For many, especially in higher income brackets, children are simply a necessary accessory. I know couples who spent years trying to adopt, and frightening amounts of money, just to get the children home and then hire a nanny and go about their lives.

Especially with foreign children, orphanages are often deplorable. An American adopting those children are, in quite literal terms, giving those children a life that is simply impossible where they are.

Whether we need more websites throwing pity parties for people who can't conceive is debatable, but those people need support too.

However, what we could REALLY use are more sites, more agencies, more governmental support, more social conversation and more openness towards opening homes for needy children for the RIGHT reasons.

Adoption is an incredibly generous thing... it's a shame that it requires such a financial burden that excludes many people who would be fine parents. But yet, it seems like there should be some barrier to adoption if for no other reason than to make sure the parents are sincere. But does the barrier have to be financial?

Disclaimer: I have not adopted; I have one biological child conceived without incident. I do however seem to have a much higher than normal number of friends and family who have adopted.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:22 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I ever have kids I will adopt. I believe a great part of getting married can be starting a family with the one you love--and I wouldn't start a family any other way. I think the greatest thing I could share with my life-partner is passing along ideas and memories to my child--those are way more important than genes.

You call the pro-adopting group nasty for mentioning that hey, maybe you don't HAVE to spread your genes? That maybe an adopted kid is just as good as a genetic one? Well, fuck, at least we're not the ones giving adopted kids the implication that Mommy and Daddy could never really love them because they're not their real child. That they're second-best to pregnancy.

It's also much more personally invasive. While the physician is physically invasive, adopting requires extended periods of having your whole life be judged by a number of people, just waiting and hoping that they approve and allow you to have a baby.

I wish pregnancy was more personally invasive. There's be a higher percentage of happy kids in the world if every dumb couple responding to the BIOLOGICAL INSTINCT to spread their genes held back and considered whether or not they'd be fit parents. Just because you have an instinct to do something doesn't mean you should do it. Humans have instincts to reproduce and defend their territory and survive at all costs, doesn't mean we can rape and kill and steal as a result.
posted by schroedinger at 7:33 AM on September 18, 2007


I'm not denying that couples who can not conceive can go through some pretty rotten times, but compared with the prospects of an orphanage-raised child in the third world, my sympathy is clearly on the side of the child.

Non-parents face disappointment, orphans face more severe hardships. And the big picture is that we're overcrowding the Earth anyway, why spend lots of energy to produce even more people?

Cold? Maybe some think so, but I think that discussing this in the context of a MetaFilter FPP is entirely warranted. Did the poster expect just expressions of sympathy and support? Notice that I'm not logging onto the infertility forum and lecturing people, I'm just stating my view here.
posted by Harald74 at 7:41 AM on September 18, 2007


nobeagle writes "Perhaps it's because I've had more time to deal with my infertility; 8 years, 1 day and counting since I got my vasectomy."

Yeah, maybe because it was a choice for you.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2007


Harald74 writes "Notice that I'm not logging onto the infertility forum and lecturing people, I'm just stating my view here."

Your view is that infertile people have nothing to complain about, since plenty of kids need to be adopted?

Well, yes, I once cried that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. Even so, probably would do to have some shoes, since I do have feet.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:32 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Even though I'm an unmarried male, I'm pretty sure I understand female bio-psychology enough to judge this issue evenhandedly.

I wonder how I'd feel if part of my reproductive system stopped working? I think I'd be ok with it. They have pills and shots for that now. It would be silly to have any emotion or gender identity issues attached to it, I've intellectualized myself past the corporeal form.

It is selfish that that these people wouldn't put the plight of orphaned children before their own issues. I remember when my car got stolen, I though to myself "It's ok, there are poor people out there who don't have a car, maybe I helped one of them out!" and didn't worry about buying a new one or how I was going to get to work that day, because that would be selfish.

This is the best thread ever.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


schroedinger writes "I wish pregnancy was more personally invasive. There's be a higher percentage of happy kids in the world if every dumb couple responding to the BIOLOGICAL INSTINCT to spread their genes held back and considered whether or not they'd be fit parents.

Yeah, and if wishes were ponies ...

What does seem to affect fertility and reproduction rates is education and money. The US would have negative growth if not for immigration.

Just because you have an instinct to do something doesn't mean you should do it. Humans have instincts to reproduce and defend their territory and survive at all costs, doesn't mean we can rape and kill and steal as a result."

Having a baby does not equal raping, killing or stealing.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:44 AM on September 18, 2007


Also if you are a woman who has never borne a biological child, the social stress is enormous: you are made to feel like you are not really a woman and you are defective and you are selfish and you are evil.

Mostly, I just get looks like, "Seriously? You don't want kids?" and then a little hostility when I admit I don't even like kids very much.

But this still bugs me. Not that 'society' might think I'm less of a woman (whatever the hell that is, really) for not having a baby, but that I'm expected to take the belief seriously. Worse, that other women do take it seriously.

And I can't even wrap my head around having babies because there's a void in one's life. Jesus.
posted by gsh at 8:59 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Having no desire to reproduce, I have a very hard time understanding why infertility is such a hard thing to accept.

Yeah, how about that? But don't let it stop you from holding forth on the topic from a position of towering moral indignation. After all, whether you're fat, addicted to cigarettes, or infertile, Metafilter has just become a super place to get judged by people who are better than you. Fuck this noise.
posted by nanojath at 9:17 AM on September 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


orange swan: I realize that it's apples and oranges regarding involuntary infertility, and a voluntary vasectomy prior to breeding. However, as one who's made the intention to not breed, and apples to apples comparison would be how the vegan feels for the life long meat eater who's just come down with an allergy to meat. I realize that they're going through some loss, but the loss is fully in their head, and I'm not going to cry for them.

On the same note, I'm not entering their forum, and telling them to get over it. This is a discussion on metafilter, about a one-link post.

Maias: yes, I've heard of biology. In my post I mention being a willing slave to one's gene's. One of the things that in theory makes us humans special, is that through use of our minds we might become more than simple slaves to urges.

As schroedinger mentions, there are a lot of other biological urges, and I don't think it would go over so well if there were a forum for support of men who can't rape because of society. The children don't give concent to be born (at the very least, I certainly didn't, and now I have to deal with the biological fact that I'll die, but have a biological urge to live and not wanting to die). To avoid misinterpretations, I'll specify that I'm not saying that this site is as bad as a lack-of-rape support group.

As well, while women will be socially pressured to have kids, a collective of people striving to migrate to a more feminist society would be a much more praising discussion. People fighting tooth and nail to not have to hit the last chance option of adoption just doesn't impress me.

Part of the adoption training that we had to take involved getting to speak with some teens and young adults who'd been adopted, and one who was aging out of the local system. When she was young, she'd been in fostercare; had a bad incident of anger, and the foster parents returned her, and then was only in group homes when she wasn't on the street. The kids in group homes with a Lord of the Flies mentality need the support groups, and these are the first world kids. Read up on Russian orphanages and suddenly it would seem like a better thing if there were more people "struggling" with infertility.

And, as the judgement vultures are circling, I'll restate. I'm not going there to troll them. I hope that they're able to find solace. But in the context of discussion about the site; I have to ask where is one for kids whose parents are mean enough to have not bought them a wii? I bet their lives are pretty hard. And yes, with all of the sarcasm of the previous comment, my life is pretty damn hard too. I constantly wonder how I find the strength to survive.

on preview: krinkleyfig, is your lack of shoes an fpp ? I'm sorry, as a new-ish member maybe I'm missing the point; but I thought discussions was supposed to involve discussion - is metafilter a site for off the clock cheerleaders? It's not like people are posting that the infertile are lamers, or however one says lamer in lolspeak. People are stating why, some are stating why they think not. However, the people bringing the least to the discussion are the one's that only offer one or two sentences equating to "have you no shame, the infertile are modern day lepers."

Krinkleyfig again: "If wishes were ponies." ?! So, please correct me if I'm wrong. Wishes for behaviors which might be better for society (ending up with less abused/negelected children seems like a "good" thing in my mind), should be trivially brushed aside, maybe even with a hurf durf? But selfish wishes to be able to biologically conceive are beyond reproach?
posted by nobeagle at 9:30 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hope those of you who are holding infertile couples to a higher moral standard have several adopted children yourself.

I mean, if they must adopt because to do otherwise is selfish, why is it not just as selfish to reproduce "naturally" just because you can?
posted by peep at 9:43 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are degrees of infertility, and a treatment can be as simple as adjusting maternal hormone levels, as in PCOS or an Rh-factor incompatibility. Resolve helps couples dealing with the many different types of infertility learn what their options are, and yes, the organization does promote adoption as a viable and desirable alternative.

However, adoption may be beyond the means of the average couple (by which I mean those that make about $50,000 per year before taxes.) The cost of adoption can be between $30,000 and $50,000. One must meet stringent guidelines: credit history, home life and annual income must meet the agency's standards. Essentially, the agency is judging whether or not you're fit to be parents. Many couples view this as degrading.

By contrast, there's no screening/approval process for infertility treatments. The costs may be lower, too. A limited number of artificial insemination attempts (IUI) are covered by most insurance plans, reducing the costs to perhaps $1000-$2000 in copays and medication. IVF usually isn't covered, and on average it costs between $10,000 and $18,000 per attempt.

Biological imperatives aside, it's no surprise that many couples choose infertility treatments over adoption.

Resolve devotes a lot of space to miscarriage, as it is one of the biggest problems associated with infertility. A substantial number of women who turn to the site probably have already had at least one or more pregnancy losses. When a woman loses a baby to miscarriage, they typically blame themselves. This is why the support system and information that Resolve provides is so important.

FertilityPlus has a page of resources on miscarriage. INCIID also provides support and options to infertile couples.
posted by zarq at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have a very hard time understanding why death is such a hard thing to accept. You know it’s inevitable for you and all the people you love, does it matter how you or they die?
When suicide is rejected out of hand it becomes clear that parents or grandparents are merely clinging to life out of selfishness to erode your inheritance.
Obviously being younger you can enjoy more with the money and take more pleasure from life, why they don’t just nip into a room and blow their brains out after retirement is beyond me. And indeed, knowing they’re going to die anyway, why not take measures into your own hands if they’re obstinate. The urge to live is merely a dumb brutish biological instinct.

The scientific reality of infertility and difficulty in perception is quite different from the emotional reality. My wife and I struggled a great deal to have our child. It was very hard on her. I didn’t feel any pressure at all, but I saw the effects of such pressure first hand. Think I told my sobbing wife “You’re being selfish. Get over it.”? Explaining to her the corrective aspects of fertility medicine didn’t help. I get that it’s about being a ‘woman’, as much as being able to get it up is about being a ‘man’. (As it is, allow me to point and laugh at those of you who have ever experianced erectile disfunction as inferior losers. I can drive nails with my cock. Stays hard for hours, no viagra, and I can lift a wet bathtowel. If you don’t let me come over and give your woman strong multiple orgasms you’re being selfish.)

But I think of any failures as analogus to wearing corrective lenses for your eyes. There’s viagra for folks who can’t get it up f’rinstance. But that doesn’t address the emotional component.
So I thought about when I was recovering from being wounded to relate to my wife. I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t work, I needed help going to the bathroom. I knew I could recover with PT, but that’s a far cry from the immediacy of watching some guys throw a football around - or just get up and take a piss by yourself - and knowing you can’t do that. Kinda makes you feel less than yourself, not to mention the social gender definition.

Now, adoption is great. I’ve given a child up for adoption. I myself am an adopted child. I’ve never considered, and never felt, that my adopted parents were anything other than my parents.
But there are different paths to having a child. One isn’t necessarily better than another, but some people have preferred methods and some methods are more efficient.
There are many excellent reasons to adopt, but the fact that there are people who can’t take care of the children they conceive isn’t one of them. There is birth control available and abortion is still legal.
So why is the onus on me and my wife to adopt someone else’s child when their lack of responsibility brings another life into the world?

That said, adoption, for us, was never off the table because again - there are many good reasons to adopt (as have been -positively - pointed out). It was always an option.
Just one option however in a process of escalating costs. If we could have had a kid on our own without help, that would have been cheapest. As it is we needed help, which cost more in time and money. Adopting costs yet more in time and money - and all that is time and money better spent on the child.
That was the cold bottom line for us. That’s what drove the decision.
But that doesn’t invalidate our, or anyone’s, emotional attachment on the matter any more than the recognition that we’re all mortal would ease the acceptance of the death of a loved one.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2007


You call the pro-adopting group nasty for mentioning that hey, maybe you don't HAVE to spread your genes?

Schroedinger,

Actually, that sort of accidentally vapidly vicious comment is one of the first things that couples unfortunate enough to have infertility problems hear from every smug Tom, Dick or Harry.

Hence the need for the posted website.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2007


This is insane, folks. What the fuck is going on here? No one said that people who are infertile refuse to adopt. They just don't want everyone to act like adoption makes being infertile not that bad. There are differences, and a lot of people dealing with IVF become wonderful and devoted adopted parents. But before you make the decision to give up on your own biology (and it's frequently not a cut and dry case) there comes a point where you want to talk to other people going through what you're going through, people who know that "oh come on, you can just adopt!" does not make you feel any better. I made the post to share a place like that with mefites who might want it. Fucking shit, people.

Here's a good metric for whether you having sympathy for someone matters: It doesn't.
posted by shmegegge at 9:54 AM on September 18, 2007


A quick follow-up to my comment above.

When I originally researched adoption for myself and my wife, the cost I was quoted by agencies in the NYC area averaged between $30K and $50K.

A quick google search turned up this site, which discusses financial options and gives different figures:
"Agency and private adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000."
Definitely worth a look for those considering adoption. I certainly wish I'd seen it at the time.
posted by zarq at 9:57 AM on September 18, 2007



The lack of empathy displayed on this thread makes me very glad many of the posters have decided not to be parents. And comparing the desire to have a child with the desire to harm others is absurd.

If you don't understand, you don't understand. Displaying your lack of compassion is gratuitous. And having compassion for infertile people doesn't mean there's none left for orphans-- compassion isn't a zero sum phenomenon, but I guess those lacking it wouldn't know.
posted by Maias at 10:00 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


zarq: the costs of adoption in your area seem criminally high. I think it says something about a society that the costs for domestic adoption are that high. It also says something that adoption is so much more expensive than some of the more extensive fertility treatments.

In foreign adoptions, as the parents don't support the local support structure, I can acknowledge their need to try to raise funding. Personally, I think that in any civilized country, the costs for public adoption should be negligible. I note that foster adopting is "only" 2500 on the page you supplied, but that's still an order of magnitude more than we've paid for public adoption.

Regarding your first comment with respect to the invasion of one's personal life; that's because adoption, in theory, is done for the good of the child(ren), and not the good of the adopting couple. If the couple isn't serious about adopting, or committed to each other, being in another broken home, and potentially being sent back isn't in the child's best interests. In fertility treatments, there appears to be a conspicuous lack of advocacy on the child's side.

In order to get a sex change (by a reputable doctor), I was under the impression that one has to get psychological clearance. However, the friends I know how've spent 10's of thousands to try to fight infertility didn't need to have their personal lives investigated. The major invasion/affront that one acquaintence had was a doctor who said that being severly overweight would hamper her ability to procreate. Imagine the nerve!

Is this just an instance of the people that I've associated with, or do some practitioners try to make sure that they efforts at conceiving will likely bring the child into a stable, nurturing home?
posted by nobeagle at 10:45 AM on September 18, 2007


Adoption can run more than $20,000.
an adoption easily costs as much or more than infertility treatment
it's a shame that it requires such a financial burden that excludes many people who would be fine parents
adoption may be beyond the means of the average couple (by which I mean those that make about $50,000 per year before taxes.) The cost of adoption can be between $30,000 and $50,000

None of this is remotely true of public adoption. For those who insist on doing independent adoption through an agency, facilitator, or lawyer, yeah there's no upper limit on what the costs may be. Once you match, you're paying for the the birthmother's costs -- whatever those may be. Some can run high. (Though for the record, $30-50k is really unusual for domestic adoption. Usually that range is for international, where costs include travel, translators, etc.)

Please stop repeating this insidious myth that adoption is too expensive for ordinary mortals or more difficult than infertility treatment. Go talk to your state social service agency. Adopting through the foster care system is cheap, usually free, comes with free healthcare for the child until they're grown, a modest monthly stipend to help defray ordinary costs, with option to increase the stipend if the child has or develops special needs. I personally know several people who've gotten their healthy (white, if you need to know...) infants through the public system less than 6 months after completing their homestudy and less than a year (total) after deciding to adopt.

When a family spends $50k to adopt, it's because they chose to, not because that's the inherent cost of adoption.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:49 AM on September 18, 2007


"Is this just an instance of the people that I've associated with, or do some practitioners try to make sure that they efforts at conceiving will likely bring the child into a stable, nurturing home?"

I must be reading you wrong, nobeagle.

Because it looks as though you'd like couples seeking fertility treatment to be forced to undergo special screening for their suitability as parents?

Do you think fertility problems are a sign of mental problems?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:26 AM on September 18, 2007



Nobeagle, why should infertile couples have to go through invasive personal investigations when anyone else can just fuck and get pregnant, no home study needed?

One of my friends wants to adopt through the foster care system but cannot because the authorities claim her apartment is too small. No such limits are placed on anyone who wants to have sex and have a child.

or are you suggesting our beautifully functional government should license people before they are allowed to procreate?
posted by Maias at 11:29 AM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nakedcodemonkey: I gave an addendum a few moments after I posted the first comment, with a link that discussed financial options and assistance, as well as quoted lower costs.

When a family spends $50k to adopt, it's because they chose to, not because that's the inherent cost of adoption.

No, it might also be the result of a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to wait *years* for a baby when other options are available. $30-50K was the price range I was given when I looked into adoption through several private agencies. We were told by the ACS that the waiting list for infants was at least 3 years long and more likely to be 5 or 6, because they made an effort not to place non-caucasian children with a caucasian family. (We would have been happy to adopt *any* infant, no matter what its ethnic background might have been, but whatever.) I'm glad you know someone who was able to adopt a baby 6 months after their assessment. We were told it was extremely unlikely to happen so quickly and that half a decade was a realistic amount of time to wait to have a kid.

ACS also seemed to feel that we had an obligation to take in an older, special needs child simply because we're white. What we wanted was irrelevant. At the time, I felt it was an infuriatingly arrogant and racist attitude.

If we had gone further into the process, perhaps we would have learned more about adoption in general and considered taking in an older child. Then again, maybe we would have failed the screening process because we live in an apartment. Hard to say.

But at the time we simply gave up and turned to fertility treatments because we saw the time frame and cost of adoption would be prohibitive.

Now that my wife is pregnant, adopting isn't on the table at the moment.
posted by zarq at 12:16 PM on September 18, 2007


jody: I'm saying that everyone should try to fully consider the financial, emotional and physical costs of having a child before getting one. I have difficulty seeing how you might have thought from what I wrote in context that infertile couples have mental problems. Is it really that much to ask that potential breeders be a bit introspective? A child is a big thing, and just because those with a different set of genes get babies on accident doesn't make it any less of a big thing. Well, infertile couples probably will have some esteem and grief issues, but in theory those would clear up upon reception of a kid composed of their biological material.

Most of the time people don't have a problem agreeing that 2 wrongs do not make a right. So why is the fact that so many people breed without a second thought, or worse keep "accidents," supposed to make it ok to not question the motives of people trying to get kids?

maias: while it's tempting to say that I'd like it if everyone upon birth were sterilized in a reversible fashion, and only upon reaching a certain stability in their lives, and could pass a simple test demonstrating that they know having a kid is a big responsibility would they be unsterilized. However, given the governments (this is true no matter the country), I don't think that they've shown that they're responsible enough.

If I were a doctor, and a couple came to me for fertility help, I wouldn't have the conscience to offer help without feeling fairly confident that they'd be good parents. And a 5 minute chat in the office wouldn't do that.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's problems adopting. A blog my wife reads inquired to her social worker (she's a foster mom of special needs children) about the fact that the stipend to help offset the additional costs had not come in several weeks, and she was thousands of dollars behind, and was starting to find it difficult to properly care. The social worker rudely replied that she shouldn't have been so irresponsible in getting in over her head, even tho in her evaluation, part of it was that even the social system assumed that she'd be getting said monies. Both of these examples lend credence to my earlier point about the government not being responsible enough to give parenting licenses.

I don't think that there's one true philosophy to use to approve parents. A good start would be factual; do they know how to care, have they demonstrated a history of responsibility. If they plan on raising a kid as a couple, how solid are they as a couple. I don't have anything against single parents, but families that break up have a detrimental effect on kids (altho there should probably be a "most" in there).

"your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." I don't see why breeding is considered such a right; upon successful breeding there's a new nose in the equation.
posted by nobeagle at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2007



Nobeagle, that's right the government isn't smart enough to judge who is a "good" parent and nor, I would argue, is the average fertility doctor. This is why we let adults make their own decisions in a democratic society.
posted by Maias at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2007


Being deep in the thicket of infertility treatment at the moment, I found some of the information on this website to be extremely insightful and useful.

What I didn't find the least bit insightful and useful was the ensuing flamewar. If you've never experienced something first hand, I'm not sure that gives you the right to say much about it.

Say the post was about a support group for amputees - would you have said "Well as long as there are prosthetics out there, I can't seem to mobilise a lot of sympathy for people with missing limbs" ...Probably not.
posted by empatterson at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2007


nobeagle: Is this just an instance of the people that I've associated with, or do some practitioners try to make sure that they efforts at conceiving will likely bring the child into a stable, nurturing home?.

Not that I'm aware of. At least, not in the US. In the UK, fertility clinics are required by law to assess whether a child they help conceive will be brought into a suitable home.

Regarding your first comment with respect to the invasion of one's personal life; that's because adoption, in theory, is done for the good of the child(ren), and not the good of the adopting couple.

Oh, I totally understand the reasons behind it. But there are couples who resent being screened all the same.
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2007


Oh, come on, I was not comparing getting pregnant to raping and killing people. I was noting that getting pregnant and desiring biological children is an instinct like other instincts humans have. Humans haven't collapsed from suppressing some instincts; yet the desire to be pregnant is considered a special instinct and suggesting it is not all-important and perhaps one could find alternate methods of raising children is heresy.

Maias--screening people before they are allowed to procreate would not realistically work. But by God, if there was a fair way to run such a system I would heartily support it. There are far too many shitty parents out there who thought fertility was the same thing as parenting skills, and their kids are miserable as a result.

Because it looks as though you'd like couples seeking fertility treatment to be forced to undergo special screening for their suitability as parents?

I'm pretty sure nobeagle is pointing out there is a serious discrepancy between the screening process for adopted children and not-yet-born children, and that it is interesting that somehow parents who conceive children are somehow more likely to be fit parents than those who adopt.

I resent these societal implications that my womanhood, humanity, ability to raise a family, and ability to love a child is somehow dependent on getting a baby in my basket. I am sad that there are infertile couples out there who are tormented by their infertility as a result of these implications.

Say the post was about a support group for amputees - would you have said "Well as long as there are prosthetics out there, I can't seem to mobilise a lot of sympathy for people with missing limbs" ...Probably not.

Except infertility is not amputation. Amputation bars you (at least with current technology) from anything approaching a normal limb. Infertility does not bar you from creating a happy, healthy family--that is unless you decide adoptive or foster families are somehow inferior to biological ones.
posted by schroedinger at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2007


Humans haven't collapsed from suppressing some instincts; yet the desire to be pregnant is considered a special instinct and suggesting it is not all-important and perhaps one could find alternate methods of raising children is heresy.

No, suggesting that the availability of adoption means infertile couples deserve less sympathy than they get is insensitive and unnecessarily cruel. Again, as I said, the quote in my post was not there to disparage adoption or to imply that ivf parents can't or won't adopt. It is simply there because, as you would see on the bulletin boards for resolve, a lot of ivf couples hear things like "oh come on! you can always adopt!" as though that should make them feel better. It doesn't always. There are reasons to want to conceive a child on your own, be they personal or practical. You don't have to agree with them, but to imagine that there's precious little reason for someone to simply prefer conceiving their own child, and to care deeply about the matter, is just myopic and callous. Think what you want, but don't expect everyone to clap you on the back when you come into a discussion about something that sensitive just to say "whatever, guys. I just don't have any sympathy for you. pfft."
posted by shmegegge at 12:51 PM on September 18, 2007


note: that sounds like a very personally directed comment AT schroedinger. that's not how I intended it. More an explanation of why people are getting upset at the "pro-adoption" responses in the thread. largely, we're getting upset because they're not quite as "pro-adoption" as they are "anti-ivf-sympathy."
posted by shmegegge at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Schroedinger: I'm pretty sure nobeagle is pointing out there is a serious discrepancy between the screening process for adopted children and not-yet-born children, and that it is interesting that somehow parents who conceive children are somehow more likely to be fit parents than those who adopt.

Ah, but the issue isn't whether parents who conceive children are more "fit" to raise them, but rather whether the state has a right to regulate whether someone reproduces.

Parents who undergo IVF or IUI typically use their own sperm and/or eggs to make an embryo. Even in egg or sperm donation, at least 50% of the embryo's DNA belongs to one of the parents.

Parents who adopt take responsibility for a life that has no direct biological relationship to them, and I'm pretty sure that's an essential difference.

If the government were to require an assessment of IVF and IUI patients as to their suitability to protect their own child's welfare, wouldn't it be obligated to do the same for all children that are conceived naturally?
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on September 18, 2007


For the last five years, my husband and I have been trying to start a family. We both come from big families, and we both have adopted and biological siblings.

We are undergoing fertility treatment and for two years, we have been on the waiting list with our local child services department to see if we're eligible as adoptive parents. Yes, that's right - a waiting list even before you get on the waiting list to adopt.

In short, all of the options are open to us and within our financial range, and we will love our child no matter how s/he comes to us. We will love our child no matter how old s/he is. We have agreed that we would especially like to adopt an older or special needs child who may have given up hope of ever belonging to a loving family. We have also considered the possibility that we will never have a family at all. And we're ok with all of the possibilities in front of us.

I would never think to be so insensitive as to say that infertility could ever be analogous to amputation. Nor would I ever think to say that adoptive or foster families are in any way inferior to biological ones.

What I would and did say (if you read my last) was that people who have never undergone fertility treatment, or experienced the disappointment of failed fertility treatments, or gone through the frustration and endless waiting of the adoption process, should refrain from the discussion and leave it to those who would benefit from talking to other individuals or couples in a similar situation.
posted by empatterson at 1:11 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Indeed, empatterson. The level of bile and immaturity on this thread has shocked and depressed me.
posted by Maias at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2007


"...and that it is interesting that somehow parents who conceive children are somehow more likely to be fit parents than those who adopt."

Schroedinger,

What a rum interpretation!


Conception - assisted or otherwise - is essentially between two people.
Adoption involves a baby born to someone else and - frequently - an agency to represent the rights of the birth parents and born child during the process of adoption.

You and nobeagle are the only ones trying to create a new category of 'potential parents-undergoing-fertility-problems'.

Also, I find it strange that you ridicule the amputation analogy.

I come from a family that is probably unusual for a very high number of adoptions - both in and out - for the usual large range of reasons.

And I have indeed heard the comparison of an early hysterectomy to amputation.

Like most comparisons, it eventually breaks down. But it conveyed to me the shock of suddenly discovering a vital part of oneself missing, a biological impairment that most of us don't have to think twice about.

Surely the best reaction is to hear that other people in similar circumstances have adjusted in time - and thrived? And not that your feelings are bizarre and inappropriate?

Because of my family background, I thought I'd heard most of the daft, insensitive or downright rude things people can say about infertility and adoption.

But this thread - on the whole - has been an eye opener.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:19 PM on September 18, 2007


If I were a doctor and someone had erectile disfunction, I would withhold medical aid until I was confident that they were good moral people who use sex only for procreation and have it only in the missionary position. It goes without saying they must be married, and must be heterosexual. It’s very easy to apply the standards equally and there’s nothing in the constitution that guarantees someone’s right to have sex. In fact, there’s legal precedents for restriction of sex (age, gender) as well as precedents against certain acts (sodomy, etc.).
There’s no medical nor legal reason why a human being must have an orgasm. It’s a simple biological urge easily curtailed through proper restraint.
A case can be made for men to avoid prostate cancer, but surely one can engage in a (short) course of masterbation, if it is a medical necessity.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:21 PM on September 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


“If the government were to require an assessment of IVF and IUI patients as to their suitability to protect their own child's welfare, wouldn't it be obligated to do the same for all children that are conceived naturally?” -posted by zarq

Well said. Why disability would be the foundation for involvement in another’s suitability is beyond me. It’s as asinine to deny someone control over their reproductive health care.
Oh, it’s completely wrong to prevent abortion, but laying one’s own moral framework on people who want a child is perfectly ok?
Pfft, get back.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:24 PM on September 18, 2007


smedleyman: if you are honestly trying to equate impotence, with the creation of a human life ...

People are already (undeservedly IMO) calling this a flame thread - considering the context of your previous comments, there's not really anything that I can say regarding this that won't sound flamish. Even to me. Congratulations, you won.
posted by nobeagle at 2:48 PM on September 18, 2007


“if you are honestly trying to equate impotence, with the creation of a human life”

Honestly? Yes. Seriously? No.
In the Swiftian sense.
And certainly the creation of a human life requires an erection - unless technology is involved. I don’t think it’s a stretch to equate one violation of reproductive health care with another even if the illustration of that requires a metaphor of the excess of eating the children of the poor.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2007


Adopt a Chinese girl; the world can't handle your genes right now. Freeze some sperm.
posted by tehloki at 6:25 PM on September 18, 2007


I feel sorry for those who want biological children and can't have them, but at the same time I'm always happy to hear there are fewer people having kids. There's definitely a conflict between my sense of compassion, and what I consider to be ethical on the subject.

the strongest biological urge in nature

Actually I'd barely rate it in the top ten after breathing, sleep, thirst, hunger, general self-preservation, and sex (which does not for humans at least correspond one-for-one with reproduction). However, I get your point.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:47 PM on September 18, 2007


God, a thread where people choose to either feel sympathy for infertile parents or 3rd world orphans.

Christ, people. You can have both.

This thread scares me.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:19 PM on September 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


empatterson: Good Luck! :)
posted by zarq at 4:53 AM on September 19, 2007


Does the widespread desire to have kids (as opposed to having sex) really have a biological basis? It seems to me that it's more of a cultural pressure. ("I want grandchildren!" and the like.)
posted by Coventry at 5:03 AM on September 19, 2007


Does the widespread desire to have kids (as opposed to having sex) really have a biological basis? It seems to me that it's more of a cultural pressure. ("I want grandchildren!" and the like.)
posted by Coventry

I think you've sort of answered your own question, Coventry.

If an urge is "widespread" - no matter the discrete cultural heritage or social differences throughout the world - there's likely to be a biological underpinning?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:34 AM on September 19, 2007


Not necessarily. A meme which encourages breeding and propagation of itself to offspring enjoys the same sort of advantage as a gene which increases the reproductive fitness of its host. I don't think you need to look for direct biological underpinnings to explain the prevalence of religion, for instance.
posted by Coventry at 6:50 AM on September 19, 2007


"enjoys the same sort of advantage as a gene"

But sexual reproduction offers an unambiguous advantage quite distinct from all cultural considerations, does it not?

(Though I agree it is fascinating to examine the survival benefits of cultural memes).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:12 AM on September 19, 2007


Yes, but a biological drive to sexual reproduction need not rely on a conceptual desire to have kids. I doubt that butterflies have much notion of the consequences when they have sex, for instance.

There's certainly a biological basis to our enjoyment of sexual stimulation, but I don't think the desire to have kids arises from that. Otherwise every horny frat boy would be getting ready to settle down and breed.
posted by Coventry at 7:24 AM on September 19, 2007


"Otherwise every horny frat boy would be getting ready to settle down and breed."

Oh agreed indeed, Coventry.

I expect we could also "yes, but..." each other for ages quite happily!

I have no doubt social pressures and expectations play an enormous part in having kids. And that many people feel genuinely insulted that they are apparently denying biology if they continue to feel horny throughout their lives but not in any way procreative.

Personally, I am horribly conventional on this score; a feminist who had no interest in kids - then suddenly I did. Pretty disgraceful:)

But it "helps" - as I mumbled upthread - to have come from a family unusual - as far as I can tell - for a large number of adoptions - going both ways.

I've lived through just about every point of view and action about urges - and the lack of them. Bonding and not-bonding. Family pride and what your "own" child really means - and can, in fact, never mean.

And now I've got my own boys entering their breeding years. (One frat boy, one not). It should be fascinating!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2007


I have no doubt... that many people feel genuinely insulted that they are apparently denying biology if they continue to feel horny throughout their lives but not in any way procreative.

I'm not insulted in the least, though. It's just something I've about a lot, because I'm taking an unconventional path, and I wonder if I'm wrong. But I don't think the convention is "horrible," either, even though I think it would be an unfortunate outcome for me personally.
posted by Coventry at 8:20 AM on September 19, 2007


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