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Facing Infertility

It's a terrible thing to watch a dream die. It's a physical and emotional trauma that some couples who really want children go through when they are told they cannot have a child. After all, most people grow up and get married assuming that they will have a family when they are ready for one. We usually believe "it's our decision."

About 10-15% of couples in the United States face infertility. It's often seen as 'unfair', and can be a blow to a couple's dreams, future, and, perhaps, pride. Emotions can be overwhelming and, in some cases, marriage can die along with the couple's dream.

But infertility, like any other crisis, does not have to destroy lives or marriages. While not always easy or inexpensive, many pursue medical treatment and are eventually successful in their effort to start a family. Those who have faced this challenge together are often stronger and wiser for their experience.

Still, infertility treatment is not always an option nor is it always successful. In time, some couples are forced to realize or finally admit, 'it's not going to happen for us'. For couples who have been unsuccessful with treatments, it is important to know when to 'let go' and stop them. The fertility clinic or specialty physicians involved can offer guidance about when time for this is right. When a decision to stop 'trying' is reached, couples must cope with the realization that they are not likely to conceive a child.

Letting go can be a personally heart-wrenching time, and a challenging experience for a couple. Grieving is both natural and important. The process is personal and cannot be rushed.

A life altering loss such as infertility should not be faced alone. Other people can be of great comfort and help. Many couples have been where you are, and have gotten through it. Resources and support groups can put you in touch with others who offer the wisdom of their experience, compassion and a willingness to just listen. Counselors can also help you grieve and explore other options for a rich life, filled with joy and abundant love.

It takes time to grieve infertility but some couples decide to pursue adoption. While this process can also take time and is filled with emotional highs and lows, adopting a child can be a wonderful and totally fulfilling experience. Entering the process with eyes wide open, and having a good adoption consultant are important factors in a positive, relatively low stress adoption outcome. As with other new parents, adoptive parents are encouraged to network and seek support of others who have been through the experience of adopting and raising a child.

The Answer
(To An Adopted)
by Fleur Conkling Heyliger
Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own;
Never forget
For a single minute
You didn't grow
Under my heart
But in it.

Other couples choose to live child-free. They find fulfillment in other ways and through other meaningful relationships. For many, the energy previously invested in infertility treatment is redirected toward other creative avenues and brings rich rewards of another type.

Moving forward, individuals and couples who have faced infertility are often stronger for their experience. Their powers and gifts manifest in other important arenas. As you come to accept infertility, try to remember:

All your dreams have not died.
You can always have new dreams.

For more information visit StorkNet's Infertility Cubby

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