If a person has a physical disability, that doesn’t mean they live their lives without the drive or desire to be a parent. It certainly doesn’t mean they lack parenting skills, either. A person with disabilities can be just as stellar of a parent as any other human being. However, that doesn’t mean their path to parenthood is without obstacles and challenges.
Perhaps the most obvious challenge they face is the judgments and assumptions they get from the outside world. Everyone’s a critic, and too often they feel like their views must be relayed to those they judge. And while there’s no way to prevent these people from doling out their unsolicited opinions, it’s nothing a parent with disabilities cannot handle. After all, they have been through tougher challenges ten times over.The real trials they face are more tangible and concrete – things like financial struggles and physical limitations.
Conceiving with a Disability
The process of conception is the same for a disabled woman as it is for a non-disabled woman. For some people, it’s a simple and quick journey to conception. For other women– regardless of disability – it takes time and help to conceive. In fact, infertility affects about 11 percent of women in the United States.
Disabilities don’t affect a woman’s chances of conception directly. And while there are some factors that can make it more difficult to conceive, they are universal for all women. Factors that can lead to conception complications include:
- Medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids
- Being overweight or underweight
- Low hemoglobin
- Substance abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Low egg count
- Certain sexually transmitted diseases
- Older age
The IVF Option
If you are having difficulty conceiving, there are modern solutions to the problem. One of the most well-known options is in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves removing eggs from the body, inseminating them in a laboratory, then transferring the fertilized embryos back to the uterus in hopes that at least one of them attaches to the uterine wall. For women under 35 years, IVF has about a 40 percent success rate.
According to Qunomedical, “The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.”
One of the biggest challenges with IVF is the cost, which can range from $12,000 to upwards around $85,000, depending on the patient and whether or not they can use their own eggs. The bad news is insurance companies do not cover IVF costs. The good news is there are other financing options out there:
- Fertility loans
- Credit union loans
- Online personal loans
- Credit cards
Home Modifications for Disabled Parents
Parents with disabilities may want to make some modifications around the house to make life easier and safer for their children. Luckily, there are various financing options specifically for home modification that can help pay for them. Some modifications to take into consideration include:
- Ramps over stairs
- Automatically opening doors
- Laminate or tile floors
- Guard rails in the bathrooms
- Widening doorways/walkways
- Relocating electrical switches and outlets
Parents with disabilities face many challenges unique to their situation. For instance, they often have to deal with other people’s assumptions and unsolicited judgments. However, certain things like issues with fertility are prevalent in both people with disabilities and those without. In vitro fertilization is a procedure that has helped millions of parents conceive. However, it can be rather costly, so parents must either save or seek out financing options. Another challenge parents with disabilities may have is modifying their home. Luckily, with government grants and loans, parents can invest in home improvements to make life easier and their house safer for kids.
About the Author
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.