If you listened to BBC reporter Sophie Sulehria’s first broadcast about her fertility journey on Radio Four, you can find all the episodes she’s put together so far here.
There’s Sophie’s own story which she tells in two episodes with her husband Jonny, along with reports on adoption and egg donation where Sophie talks to people who have experience of these other routes to parenthood. The series is due to run into the new year, so there’s more to come from Sophie and Jonny.
Do listen – it’s great to hear someone who actually understands what it’s like and who has personal experience talking about these subjects. And thanks to Sophie and Jonny for their courage in being so open about their own story – fertility is not an easy thing to talk about when you are still on the journey.
Fertility Network UK organise regular online chats via Skype about specific topics, and the next one on Monday 28th November at 7pm will consider adoption. The guest speaker is Pippa Bow, Lead Social Work Adviser at First 4 Adoption. Pippa’s talk will focus on the adoption process – the main criteria to become an adopter, what adoption agencies look for in prospective parents, the children who need families and their age range, timescales and the process for being approved as an adopter. Pippa’s talk will last for about half an hour followed by a question and answer session afterwards.
First4Adoption is the national information service for anyone interested in adopting a child in England. Even if you are not planning to opt for adoption, many couples have the thought in the back of their minds. This talk is your chance to find out more and to pick the brains of an adoption expert. If you would like to join the session, you just need to let Hannah know – email@example.com
Do you live in Dorset, Hampshire, West Sussex, Berkshire or Oxfordshire? Would you be happy to talk on camera about your personal experience of fertility problems? You could help raise awareness by being part of a series of short films to coincide with National Fertility Awareness Week.
The producers would like to hear from: couples who struggled to conceive naturally; couples who struggled to conceive via IVF and couples who have adopted or fostered. Filming will take place mid/late September. Please email Russell Sheath at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc Catherine Hill at email@example.com
We had a really interesting evening at the Central London fertility group last night with a great speaker, Pippa from First 4 Adoption. I’d been unsure about suggesting adoption as a topic as I know how fed up anyone trying to conceive gets with being asked why they don’t “just adopt”, but when I mooted the idea I got a really positive response.
We had a good turn out and the group had lots of questions for Pippa after her talk. She explained the basics about finding an adoption agency and registering, and discussed the children who are in need of adoptive families and how they are matched with parents. She was so warm and positive, and I think we all learnt a lot during the course of the evening.
If you are thinking of adoption as an option, or as a Plan B, C or even D, then you should check out the First 4 Adoption website which is full of useful advice and information.
If you’re interested in finding out more about adopting after fertility problems and live in or near London, you may want to come along to the next meeting of the Central London fertility group in Vauxhall on February 4th. We’ll be joined by a speaker from First 4 Adoption who will be giving a short talk about adoption and will then be around to answer any questions you may have. We will have time for our regular catch up and chat too.
This is open to everyone and is completely free – if you’d like more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The group is run, funded and organised by the charity Infertility Network UK.
If you’re in or near London, you may be interested in this course called Waiting for Children at HTB Brompton Road, an Anglican church in Central London. The course aims to offer a support network and teaching. Over a course of five evening sessions in February and March it covers survival tips, the impact of infertility, adoption, fertility treatment and living fruitfully.
I was delighted to be asked to join First 4 Adoption for a webchat on fertility and adoption last night to mark National Fertility Awareness Week, and learnt a lot about adoption over the hour that we were online. Some common myths were dispelled about who can adopt and you can find details of all of these on the First 4 Adoption website.
You do need to wait six months after finishing fertility treatment before starting the adoption process, but that’s time that First 4 Adoption say can be well spent researching agencies and finding out more about adoption services. If you use that space to make sure you know exactly which agency or local authority you think best suits you and getting ready to go, the adoption assessment process can often now be completed in six months, and most people are matched with a child within a year of being approved – so, it can all happen far more quickly than you may have imagined.
Of course, adoption isn’t an option for everyone – and we all know how annoying it can be when people start asking if you’ve thought about adoption before you’ve even started your first IVF cycle – but for those who are interested, it’s worth knowing the facts and busting the myths, and First 4 Adoption is a very good place to start.
It’s an opportunity to chat through any questions you may have about fertility and adoption, and the chat will be hosted by Gemma Gordon-Johnson and Pippa Bow from First 4 Adoption. I will be joining them on behalf of Infertility Network UK.
Apparently, we tend to have all kinds of misunderstandings about who can and can’t adopt – and people who could make brilliant adoptive parents are sometimes put off simply because they aren’t aware of the facts. I went to the Alternative Parenting Show at the weekend, and spoke to people from a number of different adoption agencies who were all very keen to de-mystify the process – and explain that all kinds of people can make good adoptive parents.
We tend to assume that there must be an age limit – but apparently there often isn’t any official cut off point when it comes to age as it very much depends on the person and the child. You don’t have to be with a partner – and again, one of the agencies I spoke to said that single people were often particularly good adoptive parents because they were able to be more focused on the child. You don’t have to be heterosexual, and many gay and lesbian couples are successful adoptive parents. Finally, you don’t have to live in the same area as the adoption agency – and it can actually be a good thing to live some distance away so that the child would be moving into a new area.
All the agencies I spoke to stressed that they had lots of children looking for new homes – but very few babies. It is certainly something worth considering if you think you might be able to offer a home and new family in this way – but of course, it’s not for everyone. For more information about adoption, visit www.baaf.org.uk
We’re often told by less than sympathetic commentators that anyone with a fertility problem should just adopt rather than attempt treatment – but as those who have been through the adoption process will agree, it’s not the simple solution that many believe. Adoption can be slow and frustrating for children who need families and for prospective parents, but today the government has announced plans aimed at improving the system. The plans intend to speed up the process, giving prospective parents more encouragement and allowing them to find out more about the children who need families.
The number of children needing adoptive families has risen hugely in recent years, but at any given time thousands of those who have been approved for adoption are stuck in the care system waiting for new families.
The changes to the system will allow those who’ve been approved as adoptive parents to look at the register of children waiting for families, and will give them the right to take time off work during the adoption process itself. The government has stressed that the system of checking out prospective parents before they are approved will remain robust and thorough. There will also be more support for adoptive parents as at present many of those who enquire about adopting don’t continue as they are put off by the long and at times frustrating process.
This can only be good news for anyone who has thought about adopting a child, and it will be interesting to see what difference these changes make once they are implemented.