Adoption Versus IVF

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Our decision to choose adoption over IVF was not a difficult one, in that we had discussed the issue prior to marriage, but it wasn’t without some significant questioning on our part.

Since before we first met each other, we both wanted to live our lives according to church teaching. As a couple who married in our mid/late 30’s, we were aware that there were no guarantees of successful pregnancies. Also, given that Sara comes from a family that includes many adopted children, she had always had her eyes set on adoption, even if we were able to have children naturally. We discussed the issues surrounding adoption prior to our wedding, along with our shared experiences of others we knew who pursued IVF.

At our age, we both knew people and met people who had pursued IVF, often successfully, and sometimes not. As we followed a church sponsored NFP program, we also became much more aware of the issues surrounding IVF and other forms of assisted reproductive technologies. The knowledge gained through this quest only served to strengthen our belief that the church is right to oppose this “playing god” with human life and raising of humans like farm animals. We have 3 close friends and family, including 2 sets of twins (5 children total) who might one day grow up and ask about the “surplus embryos”, who were in fact their brothers and sisters.

After 3 years of marriage, we decided to formally pursue an adoption. We had spoken with agencies involved in foreign adoptions, but ultimately decided to go with a lawyer specializing in domestic adoption, and go through the rigorous home study process. The lead for the adoption lawyer came from another couple at church who had adopted a child through this lawyer a year earlier.

The McDonnells
The McDonnells

Eight months after starting our adoption process, we received a call that there was an opportunity for a baby that would be born in 2 weeks. We quickly agreed to move forward, and in what was a whirlwind time in our lives, ended up travelling across the country and being given a beautiful, healthy newborn baby boy, the love of our lives.

We know that everyone will follow their own conscience when it comes to making the big decisions in their lives, but both of us feel that in the big issues regarding how to live life and make decisions regarding human life, there is no more proven way to happiness than to follow the church’s well thought out teachings based on a solid understanding of God’s will.

Alan and Sara McDonnell are former residents of Merrimack, NH and were parishioners of St. Marie’s parish. They’ve been married for six years and currently reside in Washington, DC with their son Peter who turned two in September.