Physicians and laymen have long
thought that it is quite common for couples who have previously
been childless to have a child of their own following adoption.
Many people can cite one or more cases they know of personally,
and when asked will preface their statement with a remark that the
phenomenon is well known. Yet we find no report of an accurate survey
of how often this sequence occurs nor, assuming its frequence, of
what is its etiology. The theory grows among physicians that psychogenic
disturbances play an important part in reproductive physiology and
may influence conception. Proponents of this theory assert that
adoption relieves the inhibiting psychogenic factor and allows the
conception. . . .
Description of Study
Methodology.—Through the aid of adoption
agencies a study was made of 202 couples who adopted, approximately
between 1938 and 1948. The cases of adoption in the six to twelve
months immediately preceding the survey were not included as it
was felt that sufficient time had not elapsed since adoption to
make evident its possible effect on fertility. The couples were
approached by means of a questionnaire asking whether or not they
had had children following adoption, and other pertinent information.
Advantage was also taken of the opportunity to discover what we
could on the possible influence of adoption on some other aspects
of reproductive physiology. Eighty-five of the 202 were studied
by a more detailed questionnaire as to the etiology of their infertility.
Of these eighty-five couples, eighteen wives were within the age
group 20 to 29 years, sixty-three within the thirties, and four
within the forties, with a high of 44 years.
Results.—Pregnancies were reported in fifteen cases
out of 202. Eleven of these fifteen were studied as to the cause
of presumed infertility and how it was relieved. . . .
Is adoption frequently followed by pregnancy? Fifteen, or 8 per
cent, of the 202 adoptive parents achieved a subsequent pregnancy.
This figure of 8 per cent is not remarkable compared to statistical
surveys in general, since ten per cent of spontaneous cures are
to be expected. Therefore, we can say adoption is not followed by
normal pregnancy to any remarkable degree. . . .
Summary and Conclusions
The literature affirming the therapeutic effect of adoption on
infertility is quoted and discussed. It is all speculative and without
proof. . . .