Our son was born when I was 35. And I went back to work as a lawyer. When I was 39, we decided to try for another baby. A year went by and I did not get pregnant. When I was 40, I went to a specialist. Tests were run, but no underlying cause could be pinpointed. We were in the clutches of unexplained secondary infertility, or infertility following a successful pregnancy.
There was no specific problem to be remedied. So the doctors began a series of treatments, telling us that at each step a failure would give them information. They began with Clomid, a drug that hyper stimulates ovulation. After months of treatment, I was still not pregnant. Finally, the specialists decided to try IVF (In vitro fertilization). There were shots to stimulate ovulation and eggs were harvested and fertilized in test tubes using my husband’s sperm. The resulting embryos were implanted in my womb. Several unsuccessful attempts were made. I had friends facing the same struggle who went on and on and on with treatment. It sometimes destroyed them and their marriages. We decided to call it quits and adopt.
The hardest part of it all? Not knowing why and knowing the doctors did not know why either. We felt guilty, each one of us wondering if it were our fault. We worried about our son, the impact of being an “only” on him. And we resented the impersonality of it all. But unlike so many of my friends who decided to go on and on with treatment, we stopped and adopted. It probably saved our marriage.
I decided to use our experience to help other couples. I joined a charity that supported infertile couples. After our successful adoptions (in Washington State and Kansas), via the charity, I drafted fact sheets and set up a helpline to provide couples with free, unbiased information. Some of the couples who did adopt still send me Christmas cards.
What do I think are the most important lessons others can learn from our experience? Try to keep balance. Don’t let the pursuit of a baby dominate your life and your marriage. Don’t let the negative energy take over your life. And if you fail, try to turn it into something positive. And, if it the right thing for you, consider adopting or fostering.