The XX Factor

Adoption’s No Surrogacy Alternative

Kerry asks, “Why is it OK to search for a surrogate mother rather than, say, adopt?” She’s asking it in the context of the way we think about surrogacy, but for a parent, or an “intended parent,” those are two really separate questions. Searching for a surrogate is an extension of the search for a solution for infertility-to parent the biological child of at least one partner. To adopt is to relinquish that desire, or, at least to conclude that you can put it aside.

Why don’t you just adopt ?” is not a fair question. Most adoption agencies are determined that before you start down the long and uncertain road to adoption, you’ve “resolved” your long and uncertain quest to produce a biological child. It’s somewhat inherent in the nature of adoption post infertility that adoption is a second choice, but adopting-and I speak from experience-is difficult enough without lingering doubts about whether, if you’d just tried one more thing, you could have a child with your blood in her veins.

Photograph by George Doyle/Getty Images.