Today’s families are more diverse than ever, and disabled parents are proving that parenthood doesn’t have to fit a certain mold. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities face greater obstacles when starting a family. Read on to learn about some of the biggest challenges disabled couples face and how you can solve them.
Overcoming Disability-Related Fertility Issues
Many parents with disabilities are able to conceive naturally and experience a typical pregnancy and birth. However, some disabilities affect fertility, either due to the disability itself or the medications required to treat it. In some cases, doctors advise that carrying a child would be detrimental to a mother’s health. If you’re unable to conceive naturally or carry a child to term, you can still achieve your dream of parenthood through adoption or fertility treatments. These are some of the most common fertility treatments available today:
- Fertility drugs: When a couple has trouble conceiving, fertility drugs are usually the first course of action. Fertility drugs may be taken on their own or in conjunction with other fertility treatments like IVF. Learn more about common fertility drugs at Verywell Family.
- Intrauterine insemination: IUI deposits sperm from a donor or partner into a woman’s uterus, where it can travel to fertilize an egg. IUI is a good option for couples facing male infertility or mild female fertility issues.
- In vitro fertilization: IVF combines eggs and sperm outside the body before transferring an embryo into the mother’s uterus, where it will be carried to term. Eggs and sperm may be sourced from the couple or donors. IVF is a smart choice if you’re using donor eggs, have a limited number of healthy eggs, or are facing more severe fertility issues.
- Gestational surrogacy: Surrogacy involves another woman carrying your pregnancy to term. Surrogacy may use eggs and sperm from the couple or from donors. Surrogacy is best coordinated through an agency due to its legal complexities. Surrogacy is an excellent choice for couples who are unable to carry a pregnancy to term. You can read about one woman’s experience with surrogacy at Disability Horizons.
Choosing a fertility treatment is a complex decision that depends on many factors. Talk to your doctor to determine the best option for you.
Financially Preparing for Pregnancy and Parenthood
Babies are expensive no matter what, but parents with disabilities often face increased costs. In addition to the cost of fertility treatments, disabled parents often have to pay more for home modifications that improve accessibility or adaptive babycare products (although many disabled parents can find off-the-shelf solutions by scouring online reviews). It’s important to research what becoming a parent will cost so you have time to financially prepare. Many couples who require fertility treatments save up for several years. In some cases, the costs of fertility treatments can be offset by health insurance, employer benefits, or even grants. There are also loans and grants to help people with disabilities modify their homes. Head to the National Infertility Association to find information on fertility grants, then visit this resource to read up on funding options for accessibility remodeling.
Parents with disabilities also have to contend with the big financial questions that all parents face, like how they’ll provide for their child if the worst happens. Every parent should have a life insurance policy and burial policy in place before their child is born. These important financial tools relieve the financial burden on your family if you die unexpectedly. Parents should also write a will to name a guardian for their child. While there are tools to help you write a will for cheap, it’s better to work with a lawyer when your child’s well being is on the line.
Between fertility challenges and financial concerns, sometimes it can feel like parenthood is an impossible goal. However, with the right support and resources, your disability doesn’t need to stand in the way of starting a family.
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