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Assisted Reproductive Technology

When the ‘old-fashioned way’ of making a baby isn’t working, you are faced with many options. Your next steps for creating a family have increased with the fast paced development of assisted reproductive technology.

Choosing to use donor technology or a surrogate is not easy. Your original reproductive story has changed — and how you feel about these changes is critical to the decision you now face.

Here are some helpful questions to consider/ask yourself:

  • Is the act of conception the most important piece? In other words, are you only comfortable becoming a parent if you and your partner can conceive ‘the old fashioned way’ without any medical intervention or assisted reproductive technology?
  • Is having a biological child the most important part? If so, then you might be willing to relinquish your wish to conceive ‘naturally’ and use IUIs or IVF.
  • Is having the experience of pregnancy and birth the most essential piece of your story, even if the child is not genetically both of yours? If so, then donor technology, of sperm, egg, or both, may be an option.
  • If having a biological child is more important than experiencing pregnancy or birth, then you might consider using a surrogate to carry your genetic embryos.
  • Or, if the most important thing is to have a baby to parent, regardless of its biological roots, then adoption might be the answer.

These are not easy questions to answer — and what is right for one couple may not be right for another. It is normal to change your mind and waffle between options. Sometimes couples will differ on the route they wish to pursue causing strain and tension within the relationship.

Whatever you decide, you still must grieve what you have lost to clear the way for your new experience — with or without children. No matter what choice you make, you must rethink your reproductive story, decide what are the most important elements in it for you and your partner, and then ‘re-write’ your story to incorporate these changes.

Unsung Lullabies Excerpt from: J. Jaffe, M. Diamond and D. Diamond, Unsung Lullabies, Understanding and Coping with Infertility, St Martin's Press, 2005. Copyright © 2004-2005 by the Center for Reproductive Psychology. All rights reserved.
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