why did you give me up?" is the usual question an adoptee
asks when meeting her natural mother. But with embryo adoption,
the question will be "Mom and dad, why did you donate me?"
A woman who gives birth to a baby adopted
as an embryo from another couple then implanted and gestated in
her own womb may feel like the child is her real offspring. Will
a couple who adopts in this way be prepared for the realities
of adoption? Will the embryo benefit from being unfrozen and "saved"
Marion, IA (PRWEB)
July 6, 2004 -- Fiona MacCallum, research psychologist at the
Family and Child Psychology Centre, City University, London, UK
recently presented the results of a study on embryo adoption at
the 20th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction
and Embryology. In this study, 21 adopters were interviewed when
the children they had adopted as embryos were still only two to
five years old. The study shows two-thirds of the adopters plan
to continue to lie to these children about their own origins forever.
On the basis of factors such as the warmth of caregiving, the
quality of the care given and the behavioral and emotional functioning
of the still very young children, MacCallum drew the conclusion
that "...it is the level of commitment to parenting that
is important, and not the presence or absence of biological links
between parent and children".
Given the young age
of the adoptees in this study, MacCallum's conclusion that the
natural family and biological factors are unimportant to the child's
development and identity is highly irresponsible. An adoptee's
awareness of his own unrelatedness to his adopters evolves with
the stages of his development. Commitment or love on the adoptive
caregiver's part does not make up for the effects of adoption
the adoptee experiences throughout her life. With the exception
that they will not have the traumatic separation from their mother
at the time of birth, embryo-adopted adoptees will face many of
the same issues as other adoptees.
that adoptees have problems and propose openness in adoption rather
than the secrecy of the closed adoption system in order to alleviate
their suffering. The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
website information on the history of open adoption quotes: "Beginning
in 1974, research demonstrates that some of the psychological
problems observed in adolescent and adult adoptees...appeared
to be directly related to the secrecy, anonymity, and sealed records
of adoption." (Baran and Pannor, 1993)
A woman who gives
birth to a baby adopted as an embryo from another couple then
implanted and gestated in her own womb may feel more like the
child is her real offspring. Will a couple that adopts in this
way and tries to maintain the fantasy that this is their real
offspring be prepared to assist the child through the realities
Although the hurt
of having been lied to about something as fundamental as your
own identity is great, few adoptees are surprised to find out
they are adopted they have seen clues all along. Their
personalities, interests, looks and even gestures differ from
their adopters. Patty Schlossberg, a 39-year-old adoptee, states:
"Until my natural family found me, I felt no connection with
the rest of the world. I felt different, looked different, acted
different. Even when I tried to be like my adopters, I couldn't
say it right, couldn't walk right, couldn't talk right, didn't
wear the right clothes. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb
at home and even at school and work... Reality hits adopters eventually
when they realize they can't 'mold' their adoptee to their needs
or liking. There is a sense of disappointment on the part of adopters
when they realize the adoptee can never be a replacement for the
child they were unable to conceive."
The secrecy and lies
of adoption build dysfunction into an adoptive situation. The
denial of the adoptee's roots may protect the adopter's fantasy
of "parenthood" but it contributes to the adoptee's
problems. Having been told they are "better off" and
expected to be grateful many adoptees don't associate their unrelated
status and the denial of their origins with the other problems
they experience in their lives. Some come to the realization in
their later years that the secrecy and lies, not to mention a
lack of knowledge of their updated medical history, has affected
their lives greatly.
There has been a rapid
growth in post-adoption services to manage adoption-related problems.
Services include support, counseling, search for relatives separated
by adoption, search for medical information, and even tours to
China and Korea for adoptees with the misfortune of having been
separated not only from their family but also from their culture.
As with donor insemination
adoptees and other adoptees, if they are not told the truth, embryo
adoptees may unknowingly date or even marry their own siblings
or other relative.
Embryo adoption does
not replace the adoptee's heritage and at the very least, if people
insist on playing "God", they should find out as much
as possible about the true parents and family including identifying
information so they can find them and help their adoptees later.
The effects of adoption and the need for information extend into
future generations as well.
The natural parents
should consider carefully the effects on their potential offspring.
As human beings, people have an inherent need to feel rooted and
connected. A great many adoptees are looking for healing for problems
related to adoption. "Saving" an embryo only to create
an adoptee who is being lied to by the people who should be supportive
of them is a serious issue.
"Mom, why did
you give me up?" is the usual question an adoptee asks when
meeting her natural mother. But with embryo adoption, the adoptee
in reunion will be looking at the emotional security of the kept
siblings asking "Mom and dad, why did you donate me?"
Then, will the natural parents develop post-traumatic stress and
delayed but intense grieving reactions just like other natural
parents who have gone before them? Or will they feel little connection
and identify so much with the adopters that they cannot even recognize
their own child's pain?
Adoption and Human Rights
term "donor" hides the reality - the sperm "donor",
egg "donor" or embryo "donor" is selling or
donating his own sons and daughers. The person adopted as an embryo
will have the same human rights issues that ordinary adopted person
has. The euphamism "adoption" hides the reality that
the customer is not taking in an existing orphan but is buying
the raw materials to make a human being from a broker - orphaning
a child artificially.
honest terms "father", "mother", or "natural
parent" instead of "birth" parent, "biological"
parent or embryo "donor" helps the public to understand
why family members must not be donated or sold.