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Researchers Study Why Women Adopt

Update Date: Oct 24, 2013 03:37 PM EDT

Even though the majority of women can become mothers naturally, a small percentage of women are not as fortunate. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 can be considered infertile. For these women, there are several options, which include fertility treatments and adoption. However, based on the numbers, adoption is not a very popular option. Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln were interested in studying why women choose to adopt and why some do not.

 "We can see that, statistically, people are supportive of adoption. They think it's a good thing-but it's not for them. They view it as a last resort," said Nicholas Park, an assistant professor of sociology at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that from 2000 to 2008, the rate of adoptions per 100,000 people has reduced by five percent. In 2008, around 136,000 children were adopted, which is a smaller number from 2007. For the study, the researchers looked at 876 women without children due to fertility issues. The participants came from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers, which was a survey that interviewed 4,792 women between 2004 and 2007. The survey was conducted by the UNL Bureau of Sociological Research and the Penn State University Survey Research Center.

"This allows us to better understand whether women ... are interested in biological motherhood or social motherhood, especially for their first child, while leaving out the very different reasons that women choose not to be mothers at all," the authors wrote according to Medical Xpress.

The researchers discovered that only 12 percent of them were looking into adoption as an option. 36 percent of them stated that they never even considered adoption a choice while 52 percent said they have thought about it but were not currently considering it. In order to understand what drives women to choose or not choose adoption, the researchers had to dig deeper.

They discovered that women who went through fertility treatments but were still unable to have a baby were four times more likely to adopt. On top of that, women who felt that motherhood was very important were more likely to adopt. The researchers also found that women who wanted more children, felt pressured by their parents and were religious were more likely to consider adoption. The study also revealed that African-American women were more likely to adopt whereas older women with college degrees were less likely to consider adoption. The researchers believe that in order for children to find loving homes, some people might need to view adoption as a positive option.

"[Adoption] is still being viewed as a last resort, or a second best, if you can't get pregnant or you can't have your 'own' child," said Park.

The study was published in the Journal of Family Issues

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