Open Adoption: The New Normal

When families inquire with an embryo adoption program, they are surprised to learn that most agencies advocate for an open adoption between the adopting and placing families. Did you know open adoption is now becoming the norm in the United States? In fact, only about 5% of all adoptions in the United States today are considered closed. Even studies have shown this adoption model is much more beneficial for all families involved.

In the early 20th century, adoption was a very discreet process. It was believed secrecy should be maintained to protect the birth mother and the adopting family. It was also believed if the adopted child knew their origins, it would cause the child unneeded stress and emotional upheaval. Then, in the early 1980s, it was realized the secrecy, shame, and guilt only led to resentment and depression for the child. The child had no idea about their genetic origins, and their parents could not provide them with the answers to their questions, due to lack of resources. On the other side, birth mothers had to live the rest of their lives with their secret—never knowing what happened to the baby they gave up for adoption.

In embryo adoptions, an open adoption model has benefits for the adopting family, the placing family, and the resulting child.

Adoptive families experience less anxiety about the placing family interfering in the future with an open adoption. Plus, adoptive families have access to medical and genealogical information which could be important in the future for the child.

Placing families are more comfortable with the donation when they are confident the family raising the resulting children are a loving, caring, and live in a stable environment. They can help make an active choice for their embryo’s future, and don’t have to live with the indecision of what to do with remaining embryos after IVF treatments.

Open adoption benefits adopted children the most. They are able to access information on their genetic origins, medical histories, and might even have a relationship with biological siblings. There won’t be a lifetime of unanswered questions or made up stories about where they come from. They will know who their biological parents are, and that their adoptive parents chose them to be a part of their family.

Open adoption means you have the control on when and how much information is communicated with the other family. The degree of openness depends on the preferences of both families. Boundaries can be established at the very beginning of the process and be taken down if desired. You can be matched with a family who wants similar communication level and boundaries as you do.  For more information on embryo adoption, visit