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‘I’m a woman of 44 and I’ve struggled for years to have a baby’

Dear Coleen

I’m a woman of 44 and I’ve struggled for years, without success, to have a baby.

My husband and I have been through several IVF cycles, which were gruelling physically and emotionally, but none have worked and we’ve been advised the next option is egg ­donation.

However, after giving it a lot of thought, I don’t want to do it.

The problem is, my husband is keen to try, and while I understand it’s ­probably the last-chance saloon in terms of carrying a child, I’m worried it might cause problems for me in the future as the baby would be half his genetically and nothing to do with me.

I know it might sound unreasonable when we’re so desperate for a family, but I can’t really put into words how I feel.

I guess I’ve had a lot of invasive treatment and this somehow just seems like a step too far.

I’m just not sure he’s going to ­understand, so where do we go from here?

I would actually rather adopt as it’s a situation where neither of us has a genetic link.

What would you advise?

Coleen says

You’d be carrying the child for nine months, feeling it growing and kicking, and giving birth to him or her, so I’d say that’s a pretty powerful link.

However, it’s a big decision and would involve yet more treatment, so it’s wise not to rush into a decision or feel forced into making one.

I know clinics offer counselling to couples going through fertility treatment, so why not take this up and talk through the issues and your fears, and be completely honest.

It’s ­sometimes easier to be honest when there’s a mediator present.

Just keep in mind that adoption is not an easy option. Yes, you’ll avoid the treatment, but it is also an intrusive process and emotionally gruelling.

And if you have your heart set on a baby, then it’s unlikely to happen, because most children who end up in care are older and will inevitably have a ­complicated and traumatic history.

However, I know people who have adopted and it’s an incredible thing to do and extremely rewarding.

And, if you go through the process and are approved to adopt, then you know you will get your longed-for child at the end of it.

You mustn’t feel railroaded into anything – take some time out to explore all the options and examine the pros and cons. Also, be honest about what you each want.

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