I believe family-making is an intensely personal choice. What’s right for me may not be right for you, and vice-versa. For some people, IVF, embryo or sperm donation, or surrogacy makes sense. For others, private adoption where a birth mother chooses the adoptive parents is the right choice. Some 114,000 children are available for adoption through US foster care. That process best-suits many. It’s crucial that individuals know what makes sense for them, so they are able to be the best parents they can be to their children. If international adoption feels like the right choice, as it did for my husband and me, so be it.
Having stated that caveat, I’m posting a link to “Why Surrogacy Doesn’t Need a Celebrity Role Model,” by Lakshmi Chaudhry on the India-based website Firstpost. Chaudhry discusses the actions of Aamir Khan and his wife, who opted to discuss publicly their choice to add a child to their family through surrogacy.
The article interests me because it touches on the relationship between surrogacy and adoption, and how the increasing numbers of the former correlate to the decreasing numbers of the latter. In no way am I advocating for one method of family-making over another; nor am I excusing corrupt practices in either. I’m simply noting the relationship between the two.
Surrogacy satisfies the natural urge for a biological child that is genetically our own. Medical science now offers surrogacy as a last resort option for couples who may have remained childless. More importantly, it is also becoming a choice for couples who would have otherwise chosen to adopt. The number of surrogacy-assisted births are growing worldwide even as the numbers for adoption are on the decline.
In recent years, responding to cases of child trafficking and kidnapping, governments across the world have cracked down on inter-country adoptions. This laudable effort, however, has had an unintended effect, as reproductive health expert Karen Smith Rotabi notes:
With this new system, combined with problems like the recent adoption scandals in Russia and other nations, inter-country adoption has undergone radical decline and it is no longer the opportunity it once was for building families. In the US, the practice peaked in 2004 with 22,990 children sent to the nation as adoptees as compared to only 12,753 in 2009. As adoption has become more difficult, the global surrogacy industry has begun to surge to meet the fertility demands of individuals and couples seeking to secure healthy infants.
As a result, nations like India and Guatemala are instead becoming surrogacy destinations, where it is now far easier to rent a womb than to adopt a child.
Add to this the strict adoption procedures in the West, and you have increasing numbers of foreigners turning toward surrogacy as a quicker, less burdensome option. (more…)