The Most Common Reasons People Choose Pregnancy Options Over Adoption

By Aaron Smith

In America and all over the world, there are plenty of babies and children who have been put up for adoption or have been waiting for a family in foster care. However, when most people think about starting a family of their own, their first choice is pregnancy over adoption. Whether it’s pregnancy between a couple, a single parent-to-be, or using a surrogate to complete the process, people often feel a strong need to procreate in some way or another. Adoption is often a last resort to building a family. Here are some of the most common reasons why people want to hold their own flesh-and-blood newborn. 

The Natural Instinct to Pass on Your Genetics

Mammals, insects, birds, fish, and the entire animal kingdom possess the instinct to pass on their genetic code for the next generation. Many people also share the underlying need to pass on their own familiar features, from their hair to their nose, and down to their toes. They may have dreamed for years of sharing their common interests with a mini-me. They want to take pride in seeing a child grow who is deeply connected to themselves on levels of personality and physical features. Generations from now, they may have relatives that still carry their curly blonde hair or fiery attitude. While not everyone wants children or shares this desire, the majority of us still want to procreate from our own genetic material.

More Knowledge About The Genetic Family History

For people who know their family history, they likely have a good idea of what disorders and diseases their genetics are predisposed to. Perhaps a couple who wants to conceive has a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure. They can come to terms with the chances that their child is likely to develop these issues during their lifetime and decide to move forward with having a baby. When people adopt a child, they have a much more limited knowledge, if any, of what the child’s family history. For example, a couple could adopt a child with a family history of mental illness. While not apparent at a young age, mental illness could easily develop within that child as they get older, causing undesirable hardship on the parents. Knowing your family history can work both ways, however. If you have a family history of severe negative traits, it may influence you to decide not to have children, find an egg and/or sperm donor, or to lean towards adoption as a better option. 

More Control Over The Health of the Expectant Mother and Unborn Baby

When a woman decides to pursue pregnancy, or if a couple chooses to utilize a surrogate, the health and habits of the woman who will carry the child can be closely monitored. Surrogates go through a rigorous examination of health and an interview process that ensures their intentions to have a healthy pregnancy, resulting in a baby with good chances of optimal health. “Creating the perfect match between intended parents and surrogates makes the process more personal and enables the bond with the soon-to-be newborn to start throughout the prenatal process. Intended parents attend doctor’s appointments and have a strong relationship with the surrogate throughout the entire pregnancy,” states Julia Alkire, Founder and CEO of Family Creations, LLC.   

Adoption is more of a gray area, with unknowns about the mother’s habits during gestation. Did the mother drink alcohol or do drugs? Did she keep up with prenatal vitamins and healthy eating habits? Was she exposed to chemicals in everyday items like sunblock, bug spray, lawn care products, or household paints? When a mother has an unwanted pregnancy and will be giving the child up for adoption, it is more likely that she will be lax on prenatal guidelines that are recommended by doctors.

Adoption is a Complex Process

If you thought adoption was as easy as paying a fee and bringing home your new child, think again. Someone who wants to adopt must go through background checks, home studies, and meet many requirements and regulations. The child may need to live with them for a certain amount of time before the adoption is legally processed. In many ways, adoption is just as complex as surrogacy, though adoption can end up taking even longer, sometimes years.

Older Children in Foster Care May Have Difficult Trauma to Overcome   

Perhaps a couple is older and thinks they have “missed their window” to have a baby. Physical barriers combined with lifestyle habits may make them more inclined to want an older child vs. a newborn or toddler. Couples in this situation will need to realize that children in foster care and under the state’s guardianship may have been exposed to trauma, a difficult past, and other issues that will make raising them a challenge. Surrogacy can still make having a baby with at least one parent’s genetics a possibility. We’ve certainly seen a trend in people waiting to have children until they are older, from their mid-30s to even the early 40s, in contrast to earlier generations’ trend of having children in their 20s.

Price Considerations

For the average couple who makes the median income, price is a large consideration when planning to start a family. Of course, natural conception is the most cost-effective way to go. If a couple has infertility issues, many of these can be overcome with fertility medications and assistance by a doctor in a fairly inexpensive manner. If medications and other methods prove unsuccessful, couples usually move onto in vitro fertilization (IVF), which can cost around $15,000 depending on how many children they want to have and successful fertilization attempts. Surrogacy averages about $75,000, while adoption ranges from $40,000-$50,000. For many people, having a child that is genetically connected to them is worth the extra expense. If IVF fails to get results, many will choose to opt for surrogacy over adoption.

From having a mini-me newborn that is formed from your own DNA to fulfilling a deeply ingrained instinct to procreate, to having control over health influences, people often choose pregnancy over adoption. Only when they have exhausted all other options do they consider adoption to build their dream family. Each person needs to take all these factors into consideration and reach deep into their hearts to decide what is the best path for themselves. Whatever the decision happens to be, stick with it and own it as you move forward into the joys of raising a person you will love more than yourself. 

Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.

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