Alternative Family Building
Everyone’s journey to becoming a family is unique. Some go the traditional route – fall in love, get married, have a baby – while others take a more circuitous road. Many people who explore alternative family building options do so because infertility has made getting pregnant the old fashioned way virtually impossible. For them, donor eggs or sperm, a surrogate, or adoption can be the key to fulfilling their dream of family.
Dr. Al Peters of SIRM-NJ in Asbury, NJ discusses the benefits of alternative family building.
Egg & Sperm Donation
Hearing the news that donor eggs or sperm is your best option for having a baby can be surprising, and bring up many emotions. Many people consider a biological connection to their child extremely important, and realizing it’s not an option is hard to overcome. While it’s an extremely personal decision, people who have become parents this way say that pregnancy creates an unbreakable sense of connection to the baby – so much so that they can’t imagine feeling closer even if there was more of a genetic link. As with any pregnancy, you will feel your bond grow with each flutter and kick, you will be the first to hold your child, and you will have a lifetime of love with the child that you brought into the world.
Sometimes, the challenge in becoming pregnant has nothing to do with the egg or sperm but with the uterus. Women who are unable to carry a healthy pregnancy to term often consider using a surrogate, or gestational carrier. Your surrogate can be someone you know, or a surrogacy agency can help you choose someone.
There are two types of surrogacy. With traditional surrogacy the surrogate becomes pregnant using her own egg, which is fertilized by the intended father’s sperm or a sperm donor. This type of surrogate is genetically linked to the child. A gestational carrier, however, has no biological relation to the child. The use of gestational carriers is much more common. An IVF-created embryo – using an egg from the intended mother and sperm from the intended father – is transferred to the carrier. The entire process, from beginning to bundle of joy, typically takes 14 to 18 months.
If you’d like more information about surrogacy, please contact Dr. Al Peters at SIRM-NJ.
Many people seeking to build their family choose adoption. Just as with donors and surrogacy, coming to terms with the fact that you’re not having a child in the way you initially hoped can be challenging. And once you do make the decision to adopt it can be fraught with fears and concerns:
- What if the birth mother changes her mind at the last minute?
- What if I don’t bond with the child?
- What if I love my biological child more than my adopted child?
- Can we afford it?
- How will we handle questions from our child later in life?
These are all valid concerns, however most adoptive parents report that the concerns all fall away the moment they meet their child. Of course there will be challenges along the way, just as there are challenges with raising any child, but the intense love and devotion you’ll feel outweighs everything else. Be sure to work with a reputable adoption agency, they can provide support and helpful resources as you travel your path to parenthood.
While alternative family building may not be how you initially imagined creating your family, many patients who have gone down this path are extremely happy with their decision. If you think donors or surrogacy could be right for you we invite you to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at SIRM-NJ or call 908-781-0666.