Medical intervention can serve as a catalytic event when women learn that they have a medical problem that may lead to infertility if they do not act imme­diately. Usually it is endometriosis that hastens women’s decision. Endometriosis is a misunderstood reproductive disease: the medical profession often informs women who have it that if they do not act rapidly, they might not be able to conceive.6 Therefore, women feel that they cannot put off the decision and cannot wait to find a partner to have a baby.

Annette, whom I described in chapter i as moving up the managerial ranks, was thirty-eight years old when her doctor informed her that she had endometriosis. Startled because she had not yet thought about children, she explains her reaction: [6]

former boyfriend and explained the situation. He agreed to become a known donor.

The possibility of infertility as a diagnosis catapulted Annette and other women to both think about and act on trying to become pregnant. Faced with the possi­bility that they may not be able to have children, these women rush to prove that they can be mothers.

A hysterectomy at age thirty caused Janica, who always told her family she wanted both birth and adoptive children, to start a family. After this sudden surgery, and still in the hospital, she sank into the beginning of a depression. Her sister rescued her: “‘What are you waiting for?’ she jolted me. ‘You always said when we were kids you would adopt. Now is your chance.’ ’’Janica, whose experi­ences as an African American adoptive mother are explored in chapter 6, waited a year to make sure that her medical issues were resolved before beginning – adoption classes.