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Plan B


a blog by Ellen Glazer, August 26, 2010

I know a teacher who finally became pregnant with IVF after years of struggle with infertility. When she told her class that she was expecting a baby and was due in May, barely a month before school ended, one of the parents called her and complained, “couldn’t you have planned better?”

Infertility sure messes up “plans,” doesn’t it! Of course this teacher — and most others — initially approached conception with the hope that she would have a summer baby, perfect timing for the school year. However, as her infertility struggle unfolded, she and her husband learned that they could no longer plan a vacation let alone the precise timing of their hoped-for baby. What can one do in light of this inability to plan — especially if you are someone who thrives on making plans?

Enter “Plan B.”

“Plan B” is the term I use for what people will do if Plan A — a pregnancy with their own gametes — does not work. For some people, Plan B means nothing until they are absolutely certain that Plan A is not working. They can’t even think of an alternative while they are focused on trying to achieve their first choice. However, for others, it is immensely comforting to “have a plan.”

If you are someone who derives comfort from planning, consider exploring your “Plan B.” Learning about adoption or egg donation or some other path does not mean that you will find yourself needing to go down that road — it only means that if you do, the landscape will be familiar.

I once had a “pre-adoption” group that consisted of seven couples, all of whom committed to coming to talk about adoption for eight weeks. By the time the group ended, three of the couples were pregnant. Within the next three months, all had achieved ongoing pregnancies. At the time I was somewhat baffled, wondering why so many couples had made what seemed like such a firm commitment to adoption when they were still in treatment. When I asked several of them why they had come to the group, their responses were remarkably similar:

  • “We wanted to know we had a good option if the IVF cycle failed.”
  • “We wanted to know others who found themselves ‘at the end of the line.’”
  • And simply, “It was a lot easier and more comfortable to think and talk and learn about adoption than to be counting follicles, waiting for our embryos to be graded, counting the moments to the pregnancy test.”

Make your Plan B, even if you never have to use it.

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