What are some of the ethical considerations surrounding adoption?  

There are a number of ethical considerations surrounding adoption, both for adoptive families and birth parents. These considerations can be addressed in different ways, depending on the situation. 

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  1. Physicians have a responsibility to provide accurate and unbiased information to their patients about adoption (including whether it is appropriate for them). This information should be provided in a way that is free of personal bias or opinion.
  2. Infertile women should be encouraged to discuss their options for building their families, including adoption. They should also be educated about the risks and benefits of this option.
  3. Physicians should avoid offering a payment for adoptive placement, and they should refer their patients to licensed agencies.
  4. Birth mothers should be encouraged to consider adoption, but they should not be placed with a prospective adoptive parent until a court order is signed.
  5. If a physician matches a birth mother with a prospective adoptive parent, it is ethically problematic to be involved in the adoption process. It is not fair to the birth mother, and it takes advantage of the power differential that exists in physician-patient relationships.
  6. When an adoption agency is recruiting adoptive families, it is ethically problematic to be in a position to influence a pregnant woman’s decision to place her child for adoption. It is also unfair to the child if the agency tries to recruit her birth parents, who may have different values and views about adoption than she does.
  7. Transracial adoption raises new ethical concerns, as it puts children in a situation where they are not familiar with their racial identities or the identities of their adoptive parents. These situations can cause trauma to the children and foster feelings of inadequacy, shame, and racism.
  8. If a birth father is found, he should be offered the opportunity to have his rights protected. This may require him to undergo legal proceedings to obtain his rights, but it is possible that he could opt out of the adoption process.
  9. Birth mothers and adopted individuals should be treated with respect, regardless of their background or race. They should be allowed to have a relationship with their birth parents, as well as with adoptive parents and adopted siblings.
  10. Adoption is a process that can be traumatic for both the adoptee and birth parents. In addition, adoptees and their adoptive parents should be given the resources they need to cope with their losses, both during and after the adoption.
  11. Changing practices in adoption pose new ethical issues for researchers working with populations connected to adoption.

For example, the recent development of reproductive technologies has increased the complexity of the networks involved in a single adoption. These networks often include multiple family members, such as surrogate mothers, sperm donors, and egg donors. This means that adoption research studies must be careful to avoid disclosing the identity of these individuals. In addition, changes in social media have increased the possibilities for contact between a birth family and an adoptive family.