Consider Options for Building Your Family: Create a Flow Chart

by Laura Christianson

RESOLVE (, The National Infertility Association, recommends that people assess their fertility diagnosis and treatment options by creating a “decision tree.”

I recommend the decision tree as a handy tool for those considering family building through birth or adoption.

A decision tree is essentially a flow chart. Here’s how to create one:

  1. Write your primary goal at the top left side a piece of paper and circle it.
  2. To the right of your primary goal, list options for how you can achieve the goal.
  3. Under each option, list its pros and cons.

For example, you might list your primary goal as, “To Create a Family.” Options for achieving that goal may include trying to get pregnant on your own, undergoing surgery, taking fertility medications, pursuing assisted reproductive technology (ART), or investigating adoption. For each of those options, you should brainstorm a detailed list of pros and cons.

If you’re brainstorming pros and cons about adoption, for instance, you might include:


  • No pregnancy risks
  • Provide a loving home to a child


  • Expenses
  • Fears about child’s genetic heritage

A decision tree is a helpful method to analyze what’s most important to you about family building. Writing down your options prevents you from overlooking important details and it gives you a sense of control over your family-building decisions.

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