Many cancer survivors seek to adopt because a great majority of them become infertile after treatment, but little information has been collected regarding the trials and tribulations that cancer survivors face when attempting to adopt. The most recent studies suggest that almost a third of women and half of men are left infertile after undergoing cancer treatment.
Many people view adoption as the default option for people that are infertile. It’s a simple fix, but most are unaware of the large number of technicalities and loopholes faced by former cancer patients trying to adopt.
The recent study examining the adoption procedure for cancer survivors was published in the medical journal Cancer. The study asked 77 nurses trained in oncology to reach out to adoption centers across 15 states. They conducted interviews with the administrators and counselors at these centers to try to gain a better understanding of what issues a cancer survivor might come across when trying to adopt.
Obstacles and Advantages For Cancer Survivors
Many adoption agencies require prospective parents that once had cancer to provide a letter from a doctor that details their health and medical history. This practice makes sense to some degree, but it also exposes a potentially discriminatory tactic. Limiting someone’s ability to adopt could be seen in the same light as limiting someone’s employment opportunities based on disability or medical history.
The Americans with Disabilities Act sought to limit such practices from occurring. As it stands, many adoption agencies engage in practices similar to what the ADA was attempting to eliminate.
The study also found some positive notes for cancer survivors seeking to adopt. Many birth mothers favored cancer survivors. They looked at them as people who were more likely to celebrate life and have the ability to overcome great difficulties.
Nurses Better Equipped to Assist With The Adoption Process
After gathering the information, the nurses felt they were better capable of helping cancer survivors with the adoption process. The authors of the study hope it will encourage the development of training programs for oncology nurses.
“This study showed that nurse learners in a training program became more knowledgeable about the difficulties with adoption in cancer survivors, and it is hoped that they will be able to better inform their patients about parenthood options for the future, based on what they learned in this activity,” said Gwendolyn Quinn, leader of the team that conducted the study. “Additionally, perhaps this data will bring to light the need for policy revisions in adoption processes that comply with ADA requirements.”