Stop telling women struggling with infertility to “just adopt” by Hollie Shirley

Sperm freezing becoming more popular with menThe following comments are quoted from a video on Facebook featuring famous women discussing infertility and their infertility struggles

“So, adopt. There are starving children out there. Starving for love as well as food.”

“This could be a good thing not for the women and their dreams of having a baby but for the planet as their are far too many people as it is and not enough resources to support all of us long term. Having more and more kids whilst we all live longer is a bad idea.”

“ Its gods way of telling you that ya shouldnt breed. Take the hint…”

“Ugh. The world is overpopulated and look at the facts from scientists saying we are going to make our species and many others extinct because of how we act and consume and pollute the planet. Good. The less people the better. Adopt one.”

“God people. Adopt. The planet is overpopulated. Why are people so desperate to pass along their DNA. These kids need homes, people need kids…it’s a no brainer.”

“Infertility is God’s way of letting you know he doesn’t think you would be a good parent. When you go against his wishes, you get twins or triplets, after you’ve spent $10K for IVF.”

“Adopt? Like if you want a child that badly there are so many out there that need loving homes. Why does it have to genetically be yours?”

“Maybe its gods way of trying to stop people from over populating”

“ Having trouble conceiving? Adopt!”

“I dunno. It seems if u can’t conceive it’s natures way of selective breeding. That may seem callous bc I know it’s probably painful. But The forces of nature should be heeded.

Surrogacy and adoption are viable alternatives.”

“If you are having trouble reproducing, I see it as nature preventing your genes from being part of the next generation”

There were over 2,000 comments and counting on this video, many of them in the same line as the above.

So, I just want to take some time to explain to you why this is

A – Really insensitive to the couple going through IVF,

B – Completely undermines the couples who do adopt and

C – Why adoption isn’t as easy as going to the shop for a pint of milk!

If you are struggling to conceive a child, and you are going through countless tests, investigations, and someone who has never been through your situation, or has been through the adoption process themselves just flops out the “I don’t get it, why don’t you just adopt?” card, you have every right to be pissed.

People seem so convinced that adoption is the one stop cure for the infertility problem, like why didn’t I think of that before? Let me just pop down to the baby store and pick one up for myself shall I? When you tell someone those words you are completely dismissing the pain (both emotional and physical) that we are going through. The words themselves completely discount the loss and grief that almost always accompanies infertility. Loss and grief that needs to be felt, explored, and processed before moving on to whatever comes next. For some, that means more fertility treatments. For others, that means walking away from the hope of parenting entirely. And for a small percentage, that means turning to adoption.

There is no “baby store” to wander into in the pursuit of your happy, healthy, perfect infant; and there is no magic eraser to wipe away the pain of not being able to carry that baby yourself.

Adoption does not erase the scars of infertility, and infertility is not a reason alone to adopt. It is not the burden of those who are infertile to adopt. So stop acting like it is.

So seriously, it’s about time we shelve the “just adopt” advice already.

For all of you that are convinced that adopting is the cure, let’s have a look at just how easy it is.

I’d like to dedicate this to the couples out there that have adopted children, because it is not easy.  Whether they have been through infertility treatments or not – yes, newsflash, “normal” people can adopt too!

(All information sourced from the UK government website)

Adoption 101

The application process

  • Contact an adoption agency – they’ll send you information about the adoption process.
  • The agency will arrange to meet you – you may also be invited to a meeting with other people wanting to adopt a child.
  • If you and the agency agree to carry on, the agency will give you an application form.

The adoption approval process normally takes around 6 months. You will then be matched with a child for adoption.

Adoption assessment

Once the agency gets your application it will do the following:

  • Invite you to a series of preparation classes – these are normally held locally and give advice on the effect adoption may have on you.
  • Arrange for a social worker to visit you on several occasions to carry out an assessment – this is to check you’re suitable to become an adoptive parent.
  • Arrange a police check – you will not be allowed to adopt if you, or an 
adult member of your family, have been convicted of a serious offence, eg 
against a child.
  • Ask you to provide the names of 3 referees who will give you a personal reference. One of your referees can be a relative.
  • Arrange for you to have a full medical examination.
  • The social worker will send the assessment report to an independent adoption panel. This is a group of people who are experienced in adoption.
  • The panel will make a recommendation to the adoption agency based on your assessment.
  • You can go along to ask questions and answer any questions the panel has.

The adoption panel will send their recommendation to the agency, which will then decide whether you’re suitable to adopt a child. Then you will be referred back to the agency and join the waiting list of couples seeking to adopt. That can then take up to another 5 years and cost the same as a family sized car.

So as you can see, it’s a pretty long- winded process of people scrutinising and assessing you to see if you can adopt a child.

It’s not just about wanting a child, it’s about whether someone else thinks you are a suitable applicant. It’s also not free, you have to pay the court fees, adoption court order fees, application fees and a whole lot more. So it’s not as straightforward as popping along to the baby store and paying a £30 adoption fee.

Adoption can take years and cost a couple a lot of money. It also comes with no guarantees.  

For some it does happen smoothly and from what i have heard from people is a wonderful experience and completely fulfilling, but it’s not for everyone – and that’s ok! It isn’t something anyone should do unless they truly want to. Unless they have reached a point in their journey where they are fully prepared to take on the challenges ahead.

So please, stop telling women to “just adopt”. We don’t need to justify our actions for wanting to go through IVF, and trust me, no one wants to go through this.

It’s painful, it’s invasive, it’s stressful and we would much rather not have to self inject every day and have needles go in places needles don’t need to be.  If you want to know what to say to someone going through fertility struggles, there’s tonnes of articles online you can read – here are some for free:

  • Talk to us about other things than treatment. Anything. Work, working out, holidays, office gossip, the TV programmes you both love, music, the new book you just put down, anything, because we just want to take our mind off things for a while.
  • Tell us that you believe that it will happen for us. Be our cheer squad. Please don’t tell us about how we should be praying to the Mesopotamian fertility gods or this all-apricot diet – trust me, we have spent enough time reading stuff online.
  • Don’t tell us to relax, or not to stress out, – we are already trying to do that. If you really want to help us relax, take us on a spa day? We would love that.
  • We love hearing pregnancy announcements, but if you could keep them to the minimum while we are going through treatment, we would really appreciate it. We’re happy I promise, it’s just a little tough to have shoved in your face.
  • DO. NOT. TELL. US. IT’S. A. RELIGIOUS. THING. Please, this is the one thing that I personally cannot stand, that and the whole “It’s evolution’s way of telling you not to pass on your faulty genes” – it’s so insensitive and so hurtful, and we just don’t need it. I respect religion and people’s views, however this is just not acceptable.

Honestly, just help us to take our minds off things. Let’s do brunch, go watch a movie, drink some wine in the sun (or indoors because British Summer), go to a spa, anything.

But stop telling us to “JUST ADOPT”!



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