6.

Adoption, Infertility, and Alternative Family Building

We are fortunate to be living in a time of growing openness to family-building outside of  the traditional model of two-parent conception.  Adoption and alternative reproductive methods (ART) are increasingly popular among many individuals, including those who experience infertility and reproductive health issues,  single parents, and LGBT couples, to name a few.

 

Unfortunately, there is a still a gap between the growing numbers of families created from alternative methods and  the health professionals who understand their particular needs and experiences.  One of my particular areas of expertise is the specific evaluation and treatment of families created with ART and adoption.  My areas of specialization include:

 

Infertility:

Dealing with infertility is usually painful and overwhelming. Infertility can cause stressful symptoms, such as difficulty thinking of anything other than fertility, lack of concentration,  and difficulty sleeping.   Deep feelings of worry, sadness, hopelessness, anger, and guilt and also common.  It's not surprising that the combination of physical and emotional symptoms caused by infertility can also put tremendous strain on the couple's relationship.      

 

Consulting with a therapist who is familiar with the psychological and physical demands of infertility can be of great help in thinking through your experiences, grieving the loss of  your family as you had imagined it, and planning for you future whether it be for alternative family building or deciding to live child-free.    Many of my patients have found it helpful to meet together when it becomes uncomfortable to speak with family and friends, or even within their own couple,  about ongoing struggles with pregnancy, loss, and uncertainty about the future.  As a therapist, my role is to listen actively and help you regain a sense of control over living a meaningful and joyful life and achieve greater resilience.

 

Adoption:

I assist individuals, couples, and families in all stages of the adoption process, from helping individuals and couples make the decision to adopt, understanding the differences between domestic and international adoption, considering the right fit for an age of adoption, performing psychological evaluations for parents adopting overseas, consultation, evaluation, and treatment of adopted children, and treatment of attachment-related difficulties.

 

Egg and sperm donors:

My services for individuals and couples considering sperm donation include

psychological evaluation of donors and recipients where requested by your reproductive endocrinologist, consultation about the psychological dynamics particular to using a donor, (such as feelings within the couple, talking to children and family about the use of a donor), and treatment for children and families struggling with issues related to the family's use of a donor.

 

Single parenting:

The decision to raise a child without a partner has its own particular set of considerations.  Whether you are a single person considering adoption or sperm donation, or have already embarked on single-parent family building, it can be helpful to meet with someone who understands the emotions and challenges at stake in parenting a child on your own.

 

Please feel free to contact me for any further questions about my services.

Dr. Esther Ehrensaft, Ph.D.

1996 Union Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94123

 

Tel: (415) 749-1060

© 2018 by Esther Ehrensaft, Ph.D.