With Hollywood luminaries like Sandra Bullock, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and Hugh Jackman going the adoption route, and other late-life parents risking medical intervention to see their own genes replicate in a biological birth, the debate continues about what is best, for the individual, our culture, and the planet.
A few months back, I was invited to appear on CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon to talk about transracial adoption. Being that I am a doctor of psychology and the mother of two (biological) biracial children, I walk the issues everyday. Then last week, I was on HLN’s Showbiz Tonight commenting on celebrities who spend thousands of dollars and risk complications from medical interventions while undergoing in vitro fertilization. The two subjects got me thinking. When a loving couple or single parent faces infertility, which option really is best?
Of course there is no one right answer. Adoption and in vitro fertilization both carry financial, medical, and family dynamic risks.
Let’s start with economics. The average cost of in vitro is nearly $15,000 per cycle and adoption costs anywhere from five to forty-thousand dollars. But wait. Before you consider in vitro a bargain, know this: many cycles of in vitro are often required to create a pregnancy that goes full term. The success rate is 15-20% for women aged 38-40, and for women over forty, it is as low as 6%. Then there are the medical complications that can rack up more costs. Laparoscopy used to extract eggs carries risks related to the anesthesia. Then there’s the risks of infection, bleeding, damage to the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel. Surgery to repair damage can also be costly. Bottom line: Adoption is cheaper and less physically risky.