Claims that advances in IVF are responsible for the falling number of adoptions are “a misunderstanding of the very essence” of the issue, a charity boss has said.
Dr Krish Kandiah, founding director of adoption and fostering charity Home for Good, dismissed claims made by the head of the public body in charge of children in care that the success of the fertility treatment has had an impact on adoption numbers.
A more significant factor is changing attitudes towards single parents and a rise in children being cared for by their biological families, the charity claimed.
Dr Kandiah said: “Conflating infertility and adoption is not helpful and the claims that IVF success has caused a collapse in adoption is so simplistic it paints an untrue picture.
“Adoption is for all those who want to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, not just those suffering with infertility.”
Home for Good were responding to a claim made in the Daily Telegraph by Anthony Douglas, the chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), that IVF is affecting the number of adoptions.
Mr Douglas claimed: “IVF used to be around 7% successful and now it’s around 30%.
“So as a choice, adoption is competing with lots of other ways of having children.”
The adoption process “takes twice as long as it should, which puts people off”, he added.
The success rates for fertility treatment are now 29% for women under 35, almost three times higher than when the process was first developed in 1978.
Dr Kandiah, who is an adoptive father, called his analysis a “misunderstanding of the very essence of adoption”.
“The charity I founded aims its recruitment of new foster or adoptive families not at those facing infertility, but at those willing to open their homes to vulnerable children in need of a loving, stable home,” he added.
“We have seen a whole range of people step forward, including those who choose to adopt instead of having birth children, as well as others, like myself, who have already had birth children.”
There were 72,670 children in care in England on March 31 2017 but the number of adoptions has fallen in recent years.
In 2017 4,350 children were adopted, down from 5,360 in 2015.