Adoption 101 for ob-gyns

Dr. John P. McHughJohn P. McHugh, MD, District IX newsletter editor and Section 7 chair

As an ob-gyn, patients come to you for advice on pregnancy, childbirth, and fertility. Your training enables you to assist with the medical aspects of care, but it may leave you unprepared to advise patients considering adoption.

Our 5,000 District IX Fellows play a critical role in helping every woman obtain the information and support she needs. California ob-gyns counsel a tremendous number of women and couples on options for both unplanned pregnancy and infertility. As the largest state in the US, California also has the largest number of in-state adoptions in the nation.

ACOG can help you be more open and prepared to counsel patients on their concerns. Its updated Committee Opinion “Adoption” provides you with recommendations regarding your role in the process. 

A few key highlights are:

  • Physicians should provide information on adoption to appropriate patients
  • Physicians need to inform women in a balanced manner of all reproductive options
  • Physicians should be aware of local resources for adoption
  • Physicians caring for women in labor who are relinquishing their child for adoption should be aware of and supportive of the difficult emotional situation for the birth mother. The physician’s duty is to the birth mother, not the adoptive parents
  • Physicians must not serve as brokers between birth mothers and adoptive parents but should refer all cases to adoption agencies

If you’d like to learn more: