My Account



by Patricia Irwin Johnston, MS


The Ethical Questions in Virtual/Artificial Twinning

Today, as would-be parents-especially well-educated, two-income professional couples of advancing age-delay longer and longer the decision to become parents and then spend extended periods of time pursuing a lengthening menu of treatments which includes a variety of quasi-adoption, medically assisted alternatives like donor eggs, gestational care, and surrogacy, artificial twinning is becoming every bit as much of an ethical "problem" for medical treatment providers to address as it has been for adoption providers for quite a while now.

Artificial twinning has long been of concern to adoption professionals, who argue that it is not in babies' best interests. Avoiding artificial twinning and promoting the need for a psychological pregnancy are the main reasons that many agencies require that couples end treatment before beginning a parent preparation process. It's understandable why patients not provided with careful and thorough counseling and guidance around these issues would have a difficult time understanding a requirement like this, and it behooves professionals to do a better job of explaining the need for such a mandate.

The ethical problems already of concern to adoption professionals closely parallel some of the ethical concerns about the 63-year-old mother-through-egg-donation whose deception of her doctors (and, indirectly, her child's donor mother) by lying to her ART clinic about her age was splashed throughout the world media several years ago. Couples who adopt an infant while still in treatment or couples who adopt two babies a few weeks or months apart almost never do so through agencies that are aware of what they are doing, or from countries which have long-standing intercountry adoption programs, and rarely do they adopt through the same independent intermediary for both placements.

Perhaps even more troubling, rarely do these "artificial twinnings" happen with the knowledge and approval of the adopted babies' birthparents. Adoptive parents who artificially twin often do so by behaving less than truthfully and honorably with their children's birthfamilies in fully confidential adoptions or in adoptions expected to be communicative only until the child is placed. These would-be parents assume that deceptions by omission can have no future impact on themselves or their families. But they are wrong.

7 "Instant Family? A Case against Artificial Twinning" appeared in articles in Adoptive Families magazine, Pact Press, and Serono Symposia USA's newsletter Insights into Infertility before becoming part of Launching a Baby's Adoption and then this book.


Contents Previous Next     Text

Adoption Education, LLC
P.O. Box 2180
Milford, CT 06460
(203) 877-4007

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy