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Embryo Adoption Study Flawed
by Laurie Frisch

"Mom, 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" by adoption?

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.

Experts acknowledge 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 of adoption?

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?

 

Source: Embryo Adoption and Human Rights

 

Note regarding language:

The dehumanizing 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.

Using the 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.

 

 
 
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