Bioethics Blogs

Building families equitably in Ontario

Carolyn McLeod argues that the Ontario government should not contribute to the view that adoption is second best as a way of building families.


The Ontario government wants to support Ontarians in growing their families. To this end, it has announced it will fund one cycle of in vitro fertilization for up to 400 Ontarians. According to Health Minister Eric Hoskins, this plan promotes “family-building for those who couldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to have children.”

But, of course, procreation is not the only way to have children. Many people – including myself – have children, their own children, but these people have never procreated. Rather, they have adopted children.

Like many people who turn to assisted-reproductive techniques to have children, many of us who choose adoption pay thousands of dollars to build our families. That’s even true of some people who pursue public domestic adoptions, as opposed to private domestic or international adoptions.

Some of these folks pay privately for an adoption home study, for example, along with the parenting training required for an Ontario adoption, because the wait lists in their area for public versions of these services are too long. They are sometimes even encouraged by their local Children’s Aid Society, because of the wait, to pursue a private home study or private parenting classes.

Three Butterfly, by 14 year-old girl (chalk and glue on kraft paper)

In addition, people who choose public adoption often pay for post-adoption support for their families, support that is frequently needed in parenting children who were Crown wards.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.