Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Traditional adoption versus embryo adoption - which is better ?

One option for infertile couples has always been that of traditional adoption. Many infertile couples will pursue this if repeated IVF cycles fail; while others prefer this to IVF , because it allows them to provide loving care to a child who would otherwise be unwanted. In fact, many infertile couple believe that adoption is an easy solution to their infertility , if everything else fails. However , the sad tragedy is that there are just not enough babies available for adoption. Not only is the demand for adopting babies increasing day by day as infertility becomes more prevalent , the supply of unwanted babies being put up for adoption by the mother has become drastically reduced. This is because unmarried mothers have become a rare phenomenon. Girls are much better informed about their bodies. If they don't want a baby , they use contraception . If they do have unprotected sex, they use emergency post cortical contraception; and even if they do get inadvertently pregnant , they resort to abortions , all of which are easily available on demand. Since contraception and abortions have become so safe and effective, there are very few unwanted babies in most orphanages these days.

So what is the poor infertile couple to do ? After spending years and a small fortune on IVF treatments, they are now forced to wait once again for as long as 3 to 4 years on waiting lists. For non-resident Indians , the wait can be much longer. The influential ones use shortcuts to bypass the waiting list; while others consider adopting a child from less- developed countries.

It is ironic that while the technology of contraception and abortion has reduced the availability of adoptable children, assisted reproductive technology now offers a new option to infertile couples. This is the option of embryo adoption.

Biologically , embryo adoption is exactly the same as a traditional adoption , in that the child and the parents have no genetic linkage. However , here the resemblance ends. Whereas with traditional adoption it is a child who is adopted after birth, in embryo adoption the infertile couple adopts an embryo before pregnancy.

There are many advantages to embryo adoption. There is no waiting list; and the infertile woman gets to experience the pleasure of pregnancy and birth. This obviously enhances bonding between the infertile couple and the child. Another major advantage is that there is no social stigmata involved ; and the couple does not need to get permission from family members or disapproving in-laws. Also , since these embryos are usually of high quality, the success rates are better than 50% per cycle. The only disadvantage is that the treatment can be quite expensive.

You can read more about this option for family building at

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