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Adoption charity rejects claim that IVF success has caused the collapse of adoption

by Cara Bentley

On Saturday, senior child advocate, Anthony Douglas, the Chief Executive of the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) said: "IVF used to be around 7% successful and now it's around 30%.

"So as a choice, adoption is competing with lots of other ways of having children."

The adoption process "takes twice as long as it should, which puts people off", he added.

But adoption and fostering charity, Home for Good, has rejected the claim, arguing that framing adoption as the preserve of those who are unable to have birth children is a misunderstanding.

Adoptive father and Founding Director of Home for Good, Dr Krish Kandiah, said: "the claims are a misunderstanding of the very essence of adoption. Ultimately, adoption is not about family completion but the flourishing of vulnerable children. Conflating infertility and adoption is not helpful and the claims that IVF success has caused a 'collapse in adoption' is so simplistic it paints an untrue picture.

"Adoption is for all those who want to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, not just those suffering with infertility."

"The charity I founded aims its recruitment of new foster or adoptive families, not at those facing infertility, but at those willing to open their homes to vulnerable children in need of a loving, stable home. We've seen a whole range of people step forward including those who choose to adopt instead of having birth children as well as others, like myself, who have already had birth children."

Home for Good say that the number of children being adopted is significantly lower than previous decades but that the reasons for that are partly attitude changes, such as a change in trust of single parents, and therefore a decrease in so-called 'relinquished babies' - those who are being considered for adoption early on. 

They add that there is also a rise in children being cared for within the birth family and a recent court judgement that argued that adoption should be seen as a last resort.

Anya Sizer, a mother through both IVF and adoption and regional organiser for the Fertility Network, has also rejected the claims that IVF is a huge success story, arguing that IVF is not the panacea that it is portrayed to be. 

"Access to IVF is still patchy and treatment is still more often unsuccessful than successful. The challenges experienced by those facing infertility are great, as are those faced by adoptive families caring for very vulnerable children who have often experienced severe trauma. Adoption is not the responsibility of infertile couples. It falls to all of us to ensure that every child is flourishing in a loving home, fertile or not."

Adoptive mother, Amy Burns, who chose to adopt instead of having birth children said:

"The landscape of adoption has changed significantly in the last 40 years and to simplify the many reasons for the decrease in adoption numbers to this one specific does a huge disservice to those facing infertility, adoptive parents, and most of all, to adopted children. However you come to adoption, choosing to adopt means parenting a child who has experienced trauma and separation. It is a choice to offer care to a vulnerable child, and should only ever be framed in this way."

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