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Other Options for Having Children

Other Options for Having Children

Not all infertile couples are eventually able to get pregnant. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to have children. Several options are available to help infertile couples build a family to love. 


Women who produce unhealthy eggs, or who have no eggs, may consider using a surrogate. A surrogate is a woman who agrees to use her own egg with the couple’s sperm to create a child. The baby will be genetically related to the surrogate mother and the man.

Once pregnant, the surrogate carries the baby to full term. After delivery, the baby is adopted by the parents.  Your doctor or fertility specialist can help you find a reputable surrogate. However, it is important to note that surrogacy is not legal or available in every state.

Gestational Carrier

Women who should not become pregnant because of serious health problems may look into using a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier is also an option for women who have no uterus.

A gestational carrier is similar to a surrogate. However, with a gestational carrier, the parents provide both sperm and egg. An embryo is created using in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is then implanted in the carrier’s uterus.

The baby will not be genetically related to the carrier. However, adoption is usually still necessary after birth. Talk to your doctor about finding a reputable carrier.  Gestational carrier arrangements are not legal or available in all states.


Adoption is another option for couples who cannot conceive a child. Adoption can be a wonderful way to create a family. It also provides a home for a child who needs one. Talk to a local adoption specialist to learn about the steps to becoming an adoptive parent. Your options may include:

  • adoption of an infant
  • adoption of an older child
  • international adoption

Every type of adoption has its own benefits and challenges. It is a good idea to discuss any concerns with a counselor before beginning the adoption journey. Topics you might want to bring up include:

  • parenting issues with interracial and international adoptions
  • concerns about adopting an older child
  • how you feel about raising a child who is not genetically related to you

Every option for building a family has the potential to cause significant legal, medical, and emotional issues. It is important to discuss potential difficulties with your partner as well as a trained professional. You may want to consult a lawyer who specializes in parenting alternatives.

Couples should also consider joining a support group for those considering similar parenting options. Other couples don’t only serve as a source of emotional support. They can also provide professional resources to help things go more smoothly.

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Jul 22, 2014: Kenneth R. Hirsch, MD

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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