Frustrations of Being Child-Free by Circumstance

I’m tired of people telling me that it’s “fine” not to have children and that there are plenty of women who don’t have kids.  Well, many women/couples do not have children because they choose to.  That’s called being child-free by choice.  However, there are plenty of us who want kids but can’t have them.  There’s a difference.  And it’s frustrating.

My husband and I have been trying to start a family for several years.  It started in 2013 when we met with an adoption practitioner to begin the process.  We took classes.  We spoke with adoption agencies.  We waited.  Nothing.  We then looked into surrogacy, which is where we are now.  So far, we have had one chemical pregnancy (basically a very early miscarriage) and two negative embryo transfers (including one double transfer (so three embryos which did not “stick” and one chemical pregnancy)).  It isn’t easy and we are beginning to wonder if the issue is related to the donated embryo, that the sperm donor is a tad bit…old.  We have begun to search for an egg donor, but egg donors of East Asian or Southeast heritage are very difficult to find, proportionate to the Canadian population (it’s the same regarding domestic adoption).  Much of it is cultural stigma, which I’m not really going to get into right now (but if you’re interested, there’s a Globe and Mail article which pretty much explains everything).  I mean, I HOPE we can find someone by the end of January, but there are no guarantees.

kids, child-free, childless, stroller, baby carriage, infertility, fertility

I guess starting all over isn’t that bad of a thing.  We will be able to see everything for ourselves, from fertilization to genetic testing to transfer, rather than just the transfer.  We’ll know much more about the genetic makeup of the embryo with testing and understand what chances the embryo has.  We’re likely looking at a spring transfer date, some time after Easter, and hopefully before Mother’s Day.  Maybe we’ll have good news then!  At the same time, we have a so-called “drop dead date” of December 2018 for a transfer as that would mean a September 2019 due date.  I turn 40 in September of 2019 and would like to be a mom by then.  Actually, the drop dead date should really be November 2018 if we want the delivery to be no later than early September 2019.

Will we try adoption again if this doesn’t work?  No.  Waits are long (domestic OR international (and most international countries are closing their doors anyway)) and neither my husband nor I want to be first time parents in our mid-40s.  As for what we’ll do if we don’t become parents:  Well, there’s the possibility of a food tour across Canada, trying various regional specialties.  Or Europe.  But Europe isn’t too stable right now, so the cross-country trip remains much more likely.  Long term, there’s philanthropy work, which is something I’m very interested in.  Perhaps helping underprivileged kids gain access to better education and resources.  Actually, philanthropy work is something which I’ll be doing regardless of whether I become a parent.  But this isn’t a choice.  If nothing works out, we are childfree because of the way things worked out.  Because of circumstance.  It isn’t what we consider “ideal” – or at least not what *I* consider “ideal.”  However, unlike what media and other people are trying to do to convince us, our situation is not by choice.  I would assume that it isn’t for a great many people who are child-free – even if they SAY that they’re child-free by choice.  It’s better to be supportive of our situation rather than offer suggestions we might not want to hear.  Telling us it’s fine not to have kids will only frustrate us more.



Image courtesy of: Andrey Efimcev/Shutterstock

Cynthia Cheng Mintz

Cynthia Cheng Mintz, previously known for her sites, DelectablyChic! (still "live" and still active on social media) and Shorty Stories, was born and raised in Toronto. In addition to writing, Cynthia enjoys cooking and is an avid supporter of the Canadian fashion industry. She is involved with various philanthropic projects, including music, arts, culture and mental health awareness.

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