Stussy88

Infertility and adoption

43 posts in this topic

This may seem an oddly personal sort of post, but I'm stuck with something of a dilemma and I would appreciate your various thoughts.

My wife is having real trouble conceiving naturally and the IVF cycle we just tried, failed.

So now she wants to adopt kids. Setting aside the fact that the emotions are still way to raw to make the commitment just yet, I'm reluctant, and here's the reasoning.

1. I think genetics play a big part in intellectual as well as physical development. (I don't want to have that argument now, just accept that's my position). Both my wife and I have degrees and anyone who is bi-lingual (her) and capable of doing a medical degree in English when it's not your first language isn't dumb.

And I think the kids up for adoption would be unlikely to come from college educated parents, and hence their intellectual potential would be reduced.

2. If you knew you were likely to put the kid up for adoption, would you really take your vitamins, avoid smoking, alcohol, drugs etc? Wouldn't that reduce the kids genetic potential still further?

3. Do I really want some social worker telling me how to bring up my child and having my efforts constantly monitored/assessed by someone who as a government employee, will have avlues very different from my own?

Now I love her dearly, but really want my own genetic children, but I REALLY can't see her going for that one if she's not involved. And meeting some one in a bar then pitching up with a baby 9 months later shouting "surprise" is a non-starter.

I've thought of surrogacy, but for two kids under current UK law you are looking at about $80,000 (and that was the education fund) and you have the possibility that the birth mother doesn't give up the kid, and anyway what if she starts drinking/smoking etc whilst pregnant?

I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts

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This may seem an oddly personal sort of post, but I'm stuck with something of a dilemma and I would appreciate your various thoughts.

My wife is having real trouble conceiving naturally and the IVF cycle we just tried, failed.

So now she wants to adopt kids. Setting aside the fact that the emotions are still way to raw to make the commitment just yet, I'm reluctant, and here's the reasoning.

1. I think genetics play a big part in intellectual as well as physical development. (I don't want to have that argument now, just accept that's my position). --------------

I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts

Since you don't want to have the argument, you'll just have to accept this as my position since you asked me for my thoughts. Being primarily concerned with genetics when it comes to having children is ridiculous. What makes you so sure that your genetics will produce an intellectual being? That is hardly the standard for making a choice. Either you want kids or not, and you raise them to be independent functioning adults. Enjoy their childhood; time flies.

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I agree with the concept that intelligence is largely genetic, but I think that you're making a mistake in jumping to the conclusion that adopted children come from parents with less potential than yourself. Most adopting couples I know have adopted Chinese babies, and the situation in China is such than even super-geniuses are stuck in backcountry doing rice field work by hand.

I also think that an average intelligence is all it takes to live a very, very succesful life, as long as the philosophical framework is a solid, rational one. Intelligence is key for geniuses (duh!) but for ingeneers, entrepreneurs, mid-level corporate execs, etc, the bar to be succesful is average plus, no more. What makes the difference is self-discipline, ambition, clear goals, good communication & social skills, and a solid but controlled ego. Those are all traits that are acquired through education in my opinion.

Finally, keep in mind that if you and your wife are clearly above average, a natural child could very well "reverse to the means" in terms of brainpower. I can't talk with authority on the subject, but I think this is a likely outcome.

As a side note, adoption is a long, expensive road that doesn't preclude you from trying other methods in the mean time.

Having just had a little boy in August, I can tell you that there's nothing automatic to parental love. All the books we'd read on the subject said the same thing, and they were right. It comes completely from you initially (i.e., it's an expression of your ambition to care for a little one), and then, after 6 - 8 weeks it starts getting reinforced by the child's behavior. Before that, they're effectively eat-sleep-poop machines... I had thought that I would not be able to love an adopted child as much as my own, but having been through the exercise I have come to change my mind - it would all depend on me.

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Oh, and to address your #2: virtually all adoptable kids in China are little girls, who are put for adoption by parents who want their only child to be a boy. So it's not that the parents don't care about their baby.

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This may seem an oddly personal sort of post, but I'm stuck with something of a dilemma and I would appreciate your various thoughts.

My wife is having real trouble conceiving naturally and the IVF cycle we just tried, failed.

[...]

3. Do I really want some social worker telling me how to bring up my child and having my efforts constantly monitored/assessed by someone who as a government employee, will have avlues very different from my own?

To offer a serious suggestion, have you considered moving to a freer country than England? I would not at all be convinced that IVF in England was top notch, first of all, and not every country is a damned nanny state. Plus you might be able to drive fast cars somewhere else too.

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This may seem an oddly personal sort of post, but I'm stuck with something of a dilemma and I would appreciate your various thoughts.

My wife is having real trouble conceiving naturally

Hi Stussy 88,

There are many, many options open to couples who have trouble conceiving.

Have you considered artificial insemination as a possible avenue? Many couple that have trouble conceiving have found luck with these methods. This can be expensive, but far less expensive then a surrogate.

Fertility medication (when prescribed by a doctor.) can also be helpful. Diet also plays a big role.

As any midwife will tell you, timing is everything in childbearing; I won’t go into too much detail, but there are several over the counter devices to help in this respect.

Before anything else, both you and you wife should get a detailed physical and consult a professional; often a problem with childbearing is simpler then some might think. Low sperm count, for instance, can be countered by several means.

Depending on where the problem lies, there are a huge amount of options available to you and your wife.

A lot of times, the process takes time; many couples, after they have given up trying to get pregnant, find that they have “accidentally” succeeded.

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I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts

You can always adopt from China, where there are way less FAS babies put up for adoption. I would never adopt from my own country because of the fetal alcohol syndrome issue.

I also agree with Joss that high intelligence and even being able to get an education (like med school) do not equal monetary success or personal happiness. I have an uncle that came from India with a grade 5 education and built a multimillion dollar company. I also have a cousin who never did well in school (and admits to not being smart; he just says he hires smart people to be smart for him) who has been incredibly successful at everything he does since his twenties.

Also, you have the advantage of Objectivism to raise your child's mental development. No matter what their genetic endowment, they will use their mind properly. Look at the students from the Van Damme Academy; they're uniformly genius.

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My wife is having real trouble conceiving naturally and the IVF cycle we just tried, failed.

I tried the best state-of-the-art American medicine available and didn't give up until after five years of trying. And that was 25 years ago. Nowadays there are even better options and more successful techniques.

I think genetics play a big part in intellectual as well as physical development.

Although I would have given you an argument about that when we decided to adopt, there is some truth in that. Despite getting the best education we could find for him and the constant company of Stephen and me, Matt isn't as intelligent as we are. So far, however, at age 24, his intellectual achievements have far surpassed everyone in his birth family. What's more important, we enjoyed raising him and he turned out to be a good person.

As for heredity, that is the subject of a lot of Speicher family jokes. Matt looks more like my mother-in-law's relatives (the good-looking side of the family) than any of her other grandchildren so we say he "takes after the Scheningers." We also kid about the way Matt "inherited" my sister's artistic talent, my head for business, and Stephen's love for the movies and astronomy.

If you knew you were likely to put the kid up for adoption, would you really take your vitamins, avoid smoking, alcohol, drugs etc? Wouldn't that reduce the kids genetic potential still further?

We had an open adoption and were in constant touch with our birth mother. We took her for pre-natal check-ups and Lamaze classes (I was her coach), and found a place for her to live with a lovely lady who still led a Girl Scout troop even though her own daughters were all grown up. With an open adoption you can choose your birth mother and she can choose you and you can help her to take good care of herself. You might want to look into that.

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We had an open adoption and were in constant touch with our birth mother. We took her for pre-natal check-ups and Lamaze classes (I was her coach), and found a place for her to live with a lovely lady who still led a Girl Scout troop even though her own daughters were all grown up. With an open adoption you can choose your birth mother and she can choose you and you can help her to take good care of herself. You might want to look into that.

One of my co-worker went this route and told me that one nerve raking aspect is that the law is 100% on the side of the birth mother - i.e., the would be adopters can end up paying for the birth mother's medical expenses throughout, and then the birth mother may change her mind and the would be adopters have limited recourse. In effect, any aggreement there might be is non-enforceable.

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-------------------

Although I would have given you an argument about that when we decided to adopt, there is some truth in that. Despite getting the best education we could find for him and the constant company of Stephen and me, Matt isn't as intelligent as we are.

-----------

Had you had the opinion that you have now then, would you have acted differently?

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Despite getting the best education we could find for him and the constant company of Stephen and me, Matt isn't as intelligent as we are.

Your biological child may not have been as intelligent either. In the production of a sperm or an egg half of what made you exactly the way you are genetically is discarded and then those two (random) halves from each person fuse. It is more about what is in the family gene pool than the specific genetic makeup of the parents (which makes their abilities unique - perhaps quiet different from their ancestors). Also, what happens to each parent's genes and bodies during their life has no genetic influence on their child because that part of germ-plasm which makes up a gamete remains unchanged during our lifespan (germ-plasm is being kept separate from the body). We are genetic descendents not from our mother (what happened to her body or her mind in her life) but from her ovaries. What happened to the parents affects the nurture component.

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Also, what happens to each parent's genes and bodies during their life has no genetic influence on their child because that part of germ-plasm which makes up a gamete remains unchanged during our lifespan (germ-plasm is being kept separate from the body). We are genetic descendents not from our mother (what happened to her body or her mind in her life) but from her ovaries.

Actually the recent discovery of the importance of epigenetics shows that that might not necessarily be true, though it's a fundamental tenet of current biology. There was a very interesting show on Nova recently about new research in that area (basically, in what appear to be inheritable and environmentally changeable control factors for genes.)

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Actually the recent discovery of the importance of epigenetics shows that that might not necessarily be true, though it's a fundamental tenet of current biology. There was a very interesting show on Nova recently about new research in that area (basically, in what appear to be inheritable and environmentally changeable control factors for genes.)

Yes, RNA-mediated non-mendelian inheritance of control factors resulting in an epigenetic change has been observed in mouse. We don't know to what extend this is significant.

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Although I would have given you an argument about that when we decided to adopt, there is some truth in that. Despite getting the best education we could find for him and the constant company of Stephen and me, Matt isn't as intelligent as we are.

Had you had the opinion that you have now then, would you have acted differently?

Not at all. Character is more important than intelligence. I would much rather be the mother of Eddie Willers than Ellsworth Toohey.

Besides, it was impossible for us -- and most people -- not to enjoy being around such a delightful and happy child as Matt. (Anyone who remembers my son from Objectivist conferences or SCOA parties knows what I mean.)

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Thank you all for the various responses. To try to tackle some of the points raised, I’m most likely not going to adopt from the UK because of the foetal alcohol issue raised in the thread. We have a serious alcohol culture amongst some sections of the population here, and it is this section to a large degree that puts babies up for adoption. Indeed, some social services are creating whole sections to deal with seriously damaged babies with obvious and manifest physical symptoms of alcohol damage, but I take the view that any alcohol is too much for pregnant women. That said, it transpires my neighbours ten-year old daughter is adopted and she is about as smart as you could wish for, so those of you who made the points about genetics not being an absolute predictor are entirely correct.

Clearly, upbringing/education plays a massive role as does grounding the kid in rationale thinking.

The points made on diet are of course sensible. In the three month run-up to the IVF procedure, I was the picture of health; daily salads and vegetables, no alcohol, gym six times a week, multi-vitamin/mineral supplement, and neither of us smokes or does drugs.

Artificial insemination by another man if I had the issue would be possible (if psychologically difficult) but the issue is with sadly with my wife. Following on from my three month health kick I was beyond fine in the fertility stakes (I won’t gross you on how this was established, just trust me).

It is possible we may adopt from outside of the UK. My wife is Iranian and so most likely we would look to Iran and the orphaned kids made homeless by the Bam earthquake. In addition from poverty, we would be rescuing them from islamo-fascism. There are fewer foetal alcohol issues, but drug-abuse is a real problem in Iran.

My concern there, is that you are dealing with two sets of bureaucracy; the UK’s is basically honest but inept and meddlesome. The Iranian one is rife with corruption and the bastards let you bond with the kid then basically suck your bank account by making up an endless series of fake visa requirements, purely designed to extort money. An Iranian-American we know did this recently, and it was just a game of ‘give me all your money’ with little in the way of legal redress, (if the adoption agency is smart, they have the local police on the payroll).

The point about state run UK healthcare being poor is almost unarguable, despite my fellow countrymen’s child-like adherence to it. From an ethical, and frankly self-preservation standpoint, I do not use state run healthcare at all. (An NHS hospital was recently discovered to have killed 90 people (clearly attributable deaths) from MRSA and C-diff contamination. Mention that the next time Hilary goes on about state health care ~ it’s an expensive disaster). I paid for the treatment.

Lastly I do intend to bail out of the UK within about 2 years if all goes well. I’m thinking either the Dubai free trade area (no democracy, but no taxes either) or one of the European principalities outside of the EU (San Marino, Monaco, Andorra or Lichenstein) all are low or no-tax, low interference, low crime areas and the skiing is great in two of them.

With particular thanks, I had never heard of “RNA-mediated non-mendelian inheritance of control factors resulting in an epigenetic change” and am currently struggling through various tracts on the subject.

Also with particular thanks, I didn’t know that open-adoption was a possibility, or perhaps had not sufficiently considered it, but its worth thinking about.

Thanks again to everyone for taking time to respond, I really appreciate it. I think if nature does not provide any assistance in the next year or so, we probably will adopt, though possibly not from the UK.

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Yes, RNA-mediated non-mendelian inheritance of control factors resulting in an epigenetic change has been observed in mouse. We don't know to what extend this is significant.

I don't know if you can get Nova there in Canada but if you can, you should try to catch the episode I mentioned. The effects are suspected not simply in mice but in men. One of the first clues was a statistical analysis done of farmers in a northern European country and relationships between feast/famine experienced by the grandfathers/grandmothers of children, and the kinds of health problems experienced by those kids. The effects are most logically explained by epigenetic factors.

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Just for thought. If everyone that thinks that diet and exercise play such a large part in someone getting pregnant than how come people that are on welfare, do not exercise, smoke, drink and basically sit around being lazy have so many children? Humans are omnivorous which means we can feed almost anything and our metabolism will turn it into what it needs at that time. When a person constantly exercises, they are constantly putting their body under stress with no time to heal or overcome the stressor. Is it any wonder that so many people that exercise 6 days a week do not have the resources to put forth in another area? I do not think so. I also think that if people cut their exercising down to a rational amount that they would achieve a healthy state. Life is full of stressors and it is those stressors that accumulate as stress. Every person only has ONE pool of resources to draw on which means every stressor no matter if it is physical, mental, emotional, sexual, ustress or any other stressor draws from that ONE pool.

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I would also like to add some more information for thought from my experience of training people.

I have personally trained many women that have gotten pregnant while training with me and then trained with me until they gave birth. The last woman that was pregnant had her last workout with me less than a week before she gave birth which was just last week. Two of the women mentioned were actually seeing fertility doctors and had spent a large amount of moeny before coming to me and had given up ever getting pregnant. One of those two was 38 years old and had been pregnant multiple times but never carried to term. She was trianing 5-6 days a week 1.5-2 hours per day when I met her. I explained my ideas to her and she stopped all other training except my once a week sessions. She gained a large amount of strength/lean body tissue, lost about 24 pounds of body weight and within 6 months was pregnant and carrried the preganancy to term. Her son was born on 9/11/01 (a good day for her, if not the rest of us), and they both are doing fine. She no longer has constant ankle, hip and shoulder pain that was keeping her from enjoying life.

I could give many more examples of a lot of different women but I hope this is enough to cause some to re-think what exercise can and cannot accomplish.

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To add my $0.02, sidestepping the genetics issue, the only other concern seems to be the presence of a social worker who'll stick their nose in your life for 20 more years. That's definitely not enviable. So what I would suggest is adopting the child from somewhere else; from United States, or from somewhere in Europe. That way the social worker will have no jurisdiction, and if you find your country appropriately it won't even have draconian social workers in the first place.

As to the genetics argument, I think it has some merit. But I don't think it's as clear cut as you say; sometimes people down and out in life are very intelligent, but have had a terrible growing up, or were not raised properly. Even if you make sure that the birth parents were not the most successful bunch, try asking around for hints if they had powerful skills or latent talents that they took pride in but never took advantage of.

Also, the younger the adopted child, the better, but that goes without saying.

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To add my $0.02, sidestepping the genetics issue, the only other concern seems to be the presence of a social worker who'll stick their nose in your life for 20 more years.

That's not the case in California nor, I believe, in any other state. Once the adoption is final, we were the parents and Matt even had a birth certificate showing Stephen and me as his father and mother.

The adoption could not be finalized until the Dept. of Adoptions did a home study and that was true of all adoptions, even those from foreign countries. When we adopted, there was a year and a half wait to get a home study done because the Department was backlogged and parents were in limbo until then. We didn't want that to happen to us, so we pulled every political string we could and got our homestudy done nine days after Matt was born.

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I would also like to add some more information for thought from my experience of training people.

I have personally trained many women that have gotten pregnant while training with me and then trained with me until they gave birth. The last woman that was pregnant had her last workout with me less than a week before she gave birth which was just last week. Two of the women mentioned were actually seeing fertility doctors and had spent a large amount of moeny before coming to me and had given up ever getting pregnant. One of those two was 38 years old and had been pregnant multiple times but never carried to term. She was trianing 5-6 days a week 1.5-2 hours per day when I met her. I explained my ideas to her and she stopped all other training except my once a week sessions. She gained a large amount of strength/lean body tissue, lost about 24 pounds of body weight and within 6 months was pregnant and carrried the preganancy to term. Her son was born on 9/11/01 (a good day for her, if not the rest of us), and they both are doing fine. She no longer has constant ankle, hip and shoulder pain that was keeping her from enjoying life.

I could give many more examples of a lot of different women but I hope this is enough to cause some to re-think what exercise can and cannot accomplish.

These are all fair points, and I note your degree of expertise in this area. Whilst I was doing the training (4 x aerobics, 3 x weights and I pretty much buy in to the heavy duty stuff as advocated by Mike Mentzer (himself quite the fan of Ayn Rand apparently)) my wife was doing much less. I was dong the whole salad/vegetable kick, but I wasn't short of protein either fish, eggs or meat.

Happily, my side of the equation, insofar as these things can be monitored and assessed, was fine.

The point you make however, about what I might call "Jerry Springer guests" is however a very interesting one. People who booze and smoke and do drugs left and right and follow whatb we would call a crappy diet, still seem able to produce at record levels. I would guess its an age related thing (the mothers are mostly young/fertile) and perhaps the fact that they aren't exhausted from work, which you elude to.

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I know I am coming into this debate late, but I could not help but add my opinion.

In honest, as long as you do not really want to adopt, as long as deep down it matters significantly, don't do it. Kids aren't dumb and I believe a child that isn't fully wanted will recognize it. I base this mostly on an experience of an adopted friend of mine who grew up feeling like her dad did not really want her, and then her fears were realized when at 13 her parents divorced and he never paid her any attention afterward. It's grueling and sad and I don't think that agreeing to something like this for the sake of another's desires will ever be acceptable. I'm not saying you shouldn't continue to search your feelings and confront your fears on the matter, I'm saying you better be sure you want this before you start messing with another human being's life.

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In honest, as long as you do not really want to adopt, as long as deep down it matters significantly, don't do it. Kids aren't dumb and I believe a child that isn't fully wanted will recognize it.

Ditto for bringing your own biological children into the world.

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I know I am coming into this debate late, but I could not help but add my opinion.

In honest, as long as you do not really want to adopt, as long as deep down it matters significantly, don't do it. Kids aren't dumb and I believe a child that isn't fully wanted will recognize it. I base this mostly on an experience of an adopted friend of mine who grew up feeling like her dad did not really want her, and then her fears were realized when at 13 her parents divorced and he never paid her any attention afterward. It's grueling and sad and I don't think that agreeing to something like this for the sake of another's desires will ever be acceptable. I'm not saying you shouldn't continue to search your feelings and confront your fears on the matter, I'm saying you better be sure you want this before you start messing with another human being's life.

This is certainly true, and since last October when I first posted this, I have been coming around to the idea. Clearly, if the committment was any less than 100% and enduring, then I would not start the process. Indeed, Mrs Stussy88's younger sister has recently given birth, and missing out on the first two years of noise/food/cleaning wouldn't be a massive hardship!

That said, if Mrs S wants to try the IVF again, then I'll probably take another shot at it, though this is not a pleasant procedure for women by and large.

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I have three daughters, one of whom was adopted. We struggled with infertility for two years (PCOS) and finally conceived after several miscarriages. About five months into the pregnancy, an opportunity to adopt dropped in our laps and so our first two daughters are 12 days apart.

I don't know what your wife's infertility issue is, but my wife took progesterone supplements and HCG shots before every cycle. We took ultrasounds of the eggs and fertility drugs like Clomid. My wife's major problem was keeping the fetus--though conception was no piece of cake.

We are in the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia right now. I can say that adoption is not for the weak or impatient! It's well worth it and I would recommend international adoption for no other reason than the end is guaranteed if you can afford it.

If you have any other questions, I can try to answer them (or, more likely, ask my wife).

Bill

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