Exploring infertility issues in adoption

Exploring infertility issues in adoption

Ian Millar, Christina Paulson-Ellis


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Many people considering adoption, both couples and single people, will have experienced infertility - in fact, it is frequently a central motivating factor behind an adoption application. Yet there is still some diffidence on the part of assessing workers to intrude unduly into this personal area of applicants' lives - despite the relevance of this experience to the life-long task of adoption. A successful assessment and good match between adopters and child may rest on this issue being properly explored and understood. 

This practice guide highlights some facets of this complex and emotive subject, and explores how it should be included in adoption assessments. 

Who is this book for?

This guide is ideal for all social workers and managers involved in the assessment of prospective adopters. 

What you will find in this book

This guide explores:

  • The causes of infertility, types of medical investigations and treatment options
  • The emotional and physical impact of infertility on those involved
  • How the experience of infertility can affect adoption applicants during the assessment process, and how assessing social workers can discuss and explore this
  • Possibly implications of infertility during matching, placement and thereafter

Illustrated with a wealth of quotations from experienced social workers and adopters affected by infertility, this guide also provides practical ideas and tasks for assessing workers. 


Ian Millar:
Ian Millar has worked almost exclusively in the fields of adoption and fostering in both Scotland and England, since qualifying as a social worker in the 1970s.

Christina Paulson-Ellis has worked in varied roles in adoption and fostering, including as team leader for adoption and family-finding departments.