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Adoption after failed IVF

orchard March 16, 2021 10:44


I have had a look around the forums and can't see an obvious thread on this.

My husband and I had been undergoing IVF - once on the NHS and once private. We always knew the second attempt would be the last as didn't want to keep going through it so have always had adoption in the back of our heads as a way to start a family.

Has anybody got any experiences of adopting after IVF? We have reached out to our LA and a VAA, both of whom have advised there is a 6 month period before you can start approval after failed IVF because there are a lot of things that come up during the approval process that might be hard emotionally. We completely understand that.

What have people's experiences been, who have previously had unsuccessful IVF and are now adopters?

We are reading everything we can online at the moment and there's so much conflicting information.

Presently, at this moment, we are feeling the VAA is the right route for us. We just got a good feeling from the SW we spoke with and felt that there would be lots of support.

At what point do you have to decide and commit which you go with? Both the LA and VAA have said we can attend open evenings in the summer, and we'd like to go with both and get a better feeling - it's so hard when everything is online and not in person!

If you decide to go with a LA, do you have to go with your own LA or can you choose another area? (that might be a stupid question apologies)

I understand the wait might be a little longer with a VAA, but the agency we spoke to said they have never had a child return to the birth family and reassured us that most legal issues have been resolved by the time the child would come to us. Would that be consistent with people's experiences?

The LA told us that 90% of their cases are resolved before the child comes to us - even with children under one. That statistic, I have to say, made me a little wary as it didn't ring true to me.

Clearly, we are very early on but trying to do as much research as we can so we are prepared for the journey ahead. So appreciate any advice or cautionary tales.

Thank You

Donatella March 16, 2021 13:11

Children are rarely placed with adopters before all the legal stuff us completed - unless you opt for foster to adopt in which case there are risks that the child will be returned to birth family. Birth parents can and still do apply for leave to appeal a placement order though at any time pre AO. One of ours did. With f2a you’ll have been managing contact anyway in all likelihood. That could explain the discrepancy in figures between VAA and LA.

I think a lot of adopters come to adoption following infertility treatment - I did. 3 cycles of IVF plus all the other stuff. My three - arrived separately - are now 20, 17 and 15 so old hands now.

There are swings and roundabouts when you decide who to go through the process with - advantages and disadvantages to both. You will want to take time though to grieve and come to terms with your loss - because that’s what it is - and sws will want to be sure you’ve dealt with that as best you can.

You can opt for a LA that’s not your own - we did - but bear in mind distances and what support you’ll need in the future. Research agencies, go to some online events, try and meet fellow adopters to get an idea of what any prospective children may present with. My three were all babies however that’s not a guarantee that they were easier than an older child - just that their issues weren’t obvious at that time.

Be honest, what sort of child do you want - age, abilities, disabilities, genetics, background etc .... it won’t be like having a birth child as our children tend to be fairly complex. Mine are though they’re all doing well now. Hasn’t always been the case though

Good luck

Edited 16/03/2021
Safia March 16, 2021 13:47

We went with a VA and I would highly recommend it! The LAs often vary in who they take on according to the children they have who they anticipate they will need families for and VAs tend to have “hard to place” children. I would attend as many open evenings as possible before deciding and ask loads of questions - as you said above you often get a feel for an agency which is what happened to us. Our legal process was far from complete on placement - there were 2 children in different LAs and the younger one was very much at the early stages - also when the (legal) decision was finally made to place him for adoption they decided to coordinate the two processes which complicated things further. I don’t think there’s ever a guarantee that things will go smoothly - birth parents can appeal at any stage and they often do - other family members can apply to adopt and have to be assessed - both happened for us too. But our SW and agency were very supportive and reassuring throughout so this is something to look for rather than any sort of promise about the legal process itself. We didn’t have IVF - we had birth children followed by an early menopause - so decided to go straight for adoption - but every circumstance brings up its own issues

chestnuttree March 16, 2021 15:45

IVF before adoption is very common.

There is no difference in LAs and VAs in how far the legal stuff is resolved. Most likely the child will have a placement order, but still need an adoption order. You can apply for the adoption order 10 weeks after the child is placed with you. The birth parents can contest that order, which quite often happens, and that will delay the finalisation. However, in almost all cases the adoption order is granted and the adoption is then final. In Early Permancency (Foster to Adopt) the process is a bit different.

The fundamental difference between VAs and LAs is that LAs "have got" the children. LAs first try to place the children in their care with adopters they have assessed inhouse. If they cannot find a match, they will consider placing the child with adopters from another LA or a VA. That means that if you are looking for a white baby with no known issues, you might be better off with an LA. If you have broader search criteria (sibling group, child aged 4+, child with disabilities, ethnic minority background), you might be just as well or better off with a VA. This is just a very general guideline though. We know quite a few adopters who adopted very young children via VAs for instance. It really depends on what you have to offer and what the child needs.

You can visit as many information evenings as you like. You will then have a talk with a sw. After that you decide which agency to go with and they decide if they will take you on. Go with what feels right for you, but do ask for their post adoption support. Our VA has an open door policy, so we have the support of the LA, which we are legally entitled to, plus the support of our VA, which is very helpful because they know us well.

orchard March 17, 2021 10:09

Thank you for your comments everyone - it's good to hear what other people's experiences are at this stage


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