Posts Tagged ‘assisted reproduction’

Article from India discusses relationship between surrogacy and adoption

Monday, December 12th, 2011

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.

Chaudhry writes:

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…)


The “Who am I?” question

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

During one of my readings for Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir, a woman in the audience, “Sula,” said she cried when she read the book’s dedication: “To my children and their other mothers, with love.” Sula and her husband had chosen to create their family via egg donation. My dedication, and the parts of the story that highlighted the role of Olivia’s birth mother and my subsequent search for her in the highlands of Guatemala, triggered something deep within Sula. She said because of my book, she now views the role of her egg donor in a different, more substantial way.

I was reminded of this episode today when I read this article by Tom Blackwell in Canada’s National Post, published in the February 2011 edition of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Newsletter. The abstract reads:

A pending case in Vancouver will determine if donor-conceived individuals in Canada will have a right to learn the identities of the people who provided eggs or sperm for their conceptions, Tom Blackwell reports in a January 28 National Post article titled “Genetic Rights: The Other Half of the Family Tree.” Although opponents of disclosure argue that raising the curtains on donor identities will decimate an already-small pool of gamete providers, the suit emphasizes the importance of finding one’s identity and roots, and points to the success of mandatory disclosure in Great Britain.

In the same edition, the Adoption Institute posted a report on adoption’s lessons for assisted reproductive technologies (ART), “Old Lessons for a New World.” The summary states:

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released this Policy Perspective brief in February 2009 which suggests that the knowledge derived from adoption-related research and experience can be used to improve policy and practice in the world of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as sperm, egg and embryo “donations.”  Old Lessons for a New World” identifies several areas in which adoption’s lessons could be applied, including secrecy and the withholding of information; a focus on the best interests of children; the creation of “nontraditional” families, particularly as more single, gay and lesbian adults use ART; the impact of market forces; and legal and regulatory frameworks to inform standards and procedures.

Clearly, as an increasing number of people turn to assisted reproduction as a method of forming families, the lessons learned from adoption will become even more critical.