Elizabeth Bartholet

Recent Articles

Blood Knots

Our society and our laws have an outrageous biological bias. The author's own odyssey suggests why adoption is a much-scorned but often superior alternative to reproductive heroics.

I n the fall of 1985, I flew from Boston to Lima, Peru, to adopt a four-month-old child. some 18 years earlier I had given birth to my first child. During the last 10 of those years, I had struggled to give birth again, combating an infertility problem that had resulted, as is often the case, from use of a contraceptive device during the intervening years. I had been married when I produced my first child, but my husband and I divorced when my son was just a few years old. Years later I decided I wanted more children, regardless of whether I was married. But I found that I was unable to conceive. I subjected myself to every form of medical treatment that offered any possibility of success. I had operations to diagnose my problem, I took fertility drugs and charted my menstrual cycles and my temperature, and I had sexual intercourse according to the prescribed schedule. I had surgery to remove scar tissue from my fallopian tubes. And I went through in vitro fertilization (IVF)...