Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor Ralph Matthews
This research is based on a sample of 76 couples experiencing a fertiIity problem. Recruited through a medical fertility clinic and several adoption agencies, the response rate was 43%. Data were collected by means of written questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.
The focus of this research is on the way that parenthood identity changes for couples who are unable to have biological children and who therefore pursue adoption as an alternate route to parenthood. Conceptualized as a "transformation of identity", the analysis traces the process by which couples relinquish identification with biological parenthood and assume identification with adoptive parenthood.
Several key issues are explored in the study: the impact of infertility on the taken-for-granted meaning of parenthood; critical incidents that initiate the transition to adoptive parenthood; objective and subjective indicators of what it means to be ready to take on adoptive parenthood; and finally, the resocialization process involved in shifting from biological to adoptive parenthood. Also examined is the relationship between infertility resolution and adoption readiness. The findings suggest that this is not always a sequential relationship as usually assumed, but rather, may be experienced as a concurrent commitment to both biological and adoptive parenthood.
Daly, Kerry Joseph, "Becoming Adoptive Parents: Shifts in Identity from Biological to Adoptive Parenthood Among Infertile Couples" (1987). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2181.