Different paths to adoption

Most couples who struggle to have a child undergo fertility treatments, which are often successful. In those cases where they fail, however, many hopeful parents turn to adoption.

With an open adoption through an agency, or with the help of an adoption facilitator or attorney, the first step is matching with a birth mother. An open adoption means you might have the chance to experience her pregnancy with her, going to doctor’s appointments, seeing the sonograms and being in the delivery room when the child is born. It also means the birth mother may be a part of the child’s life, even after the adoption.

However, there is always a risk with adoption that the birth mother will change her mind and decide to keep the baby. Regardless of any contracts or agreements you have in place, many state laws protect the biological mother, leaving the intended parents heartbroken and without a child. Although this worst-case scenario is possible, and does happen, most adoptions go through as planned.

Another path to adopting a child is to work with a foster agency. There are many, many children in the foster care system without parents who are able to care for them. These are kids of all ages, and all races, and each is in need of a loving home. Not all foster children are available for adoption, however. Some are in the system because their parents have temporarily lost custody. Once the situation leading to that loss of parental rights has been resolved, the parents often regain custody. However, most foster agencies are happy to work with intended parents seeking children who are available for adoption.

Many couples also adopt children from another country through an agency that offers international adoptions. The agency handles the paperwork and legal issues, which can be quite complicated, to give you the best odds at a successful adoption.

No matter how you go about adopting, both child and the adoptive parents are getting a precious gift: the chance at a better, more fulfilling life as part of a loving family.

Treating the whole problem

Infertility — the inability to conceive — can often be successfully treated. If you suffer from fertility problems, first realize you are not alone; as many as 20 percent of couples have difficulty becoming pregnant. Second, be sure both partners get a thorough examination to determine the cause of the problem. Men and women are equally likely to have a physical condition leading to fertility issues, but because the testing is more expensive and time consuming for women, you might want to have the male partner tested first.

Depending on the nature of the problem, tests could be conducted by a gynecologist, urologist, endocrinologist, or an internist. There are many causes of infertility, so treatments vary as well — but they include things like improving the overall health of the patient with better diet and exercise, increasing hormone levels, and surgical removal of obstructions.
The psychological and social factors of infertility must not be overlooked. For anyone who desperately wants a child and seems unable to have one, there is pain, anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, these factors only make it harder to conceive. Among some religious groups and cultures, these emotional factors are compounded by a traditional importance of having blood descendants; adopting children is not acceptable, and infertility is a cause for shame.

Finding ways to reduce your stress and emotional difficulties can help overcome fertility problems. There are many cases where an infertile couple adopted a child — and once they were relieved of their emotional pain of not being parents, they became pregnant. Other potential stress relievers, like moving to a new location or changing jobs, have also helped couples conceive.

So, while you are treating the physical causes of infertility, be sure to also treat the emotional ones. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor, exercise, meditate or pray, sing at the top of your lungs — find what helps you relax, and do it often.

Treatment Options for Secondary Infertility

Even for a healthy couple with no reproductive problems, it can take time to conceive. About 20 percent of couples who wish to conceive do so within a month. During each subsequent month, about 20 percent of the remaining couples conceive, meaning there is an 85 percent chance of conceiving within six months.
One in seven couples experiences primary infertility, which means they have problems conceiving their first child. But many couples don’t have trouble conceiving until after having their first biological child. This is known as secondary infertility.
Couples under the age of 35 who fail to conceive after trying for more than a year should consult a specialist and undergo a complete check up — even if they have had a child previously. Those over 35 should see a specialist after six months on unsuccessful attempts at conceiving.

Whether you are struggling with primary or secondary infertility, initial testing is usually the same. It includes a Pap smear to check for abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries, and a blood test to measure your level of follicle-stimulating hormone, which is responsible for release of eggs from the ovary. High levels of the hormone indicate that body is working more to stimulate your ovaries.

Stress
Stress can be a major factor in failing to get pregnant. The stress hormone cortisol interferes with ovulation, leading to decreased fertility. In addition, stress can cause elevated blood pressure and other conditions, which can create complications in a pregnancy. Research has shown that 77 percent of women who were able to reduce their levels of cortisol restored their ovulation abilities.
Reducing stress can be done in different ways. Exercising more and improving your diet are often all it takes. Meditation can also be effective as a stress buster. Many doctors may recommend taking a short vacation to relax and rejuvenate your body.

Decreased fertile period
As women get older, the amount of time during each monthly cycle in which they are fertile decreases. Finding your fertile period every month is critical, because once an egg is released into the ovary, it remains fertile only for around 12 hours. Ovulation kits may be used to determine when you are ovulating and have the best chance at conception.
Vitamins

Iron and folic acid have been shown to improve fertility, and are available over the counter by themselves or as part of many multivitamin tablets. Read the labels and talk to your doctor to ensure you are taking the right amount to assist you in conceiving. Iron and especially folic acid are not only beneficial for conception, but also prevent your baby from suffering certain birth defects.

Secondary infertility can often be treated, just like primary infertility. If you suspect you have a fertility problem, get it checked out. The sooner you discover the cause of the problem, the sooner you can get back on track to having your second, third or fourth child.