This book leads the reader into the current diverse universe of "parentage,"
a broader term that includes parenthood, which means the position, function,
or standing of a parent. According to Webster's Dictionary, in the term parentage, with its additional meanings of descent from
parents or ancestors by birth, family and lineage, or a derivation from a
source, we have a closer approximation of what this book is about.
The authors delineate 2 highways to parentage: the adoption highway
and the assisted reproductive technology (ART) highway, both fraught with
a myriad of pitfalls that are presented in an informative, well-organized,
and clear style. The need for practical psychosocial intervention in each
instance is well justified. Those who can't have a baby can choose and anticipate
the advantages and disadvantages of each option. The cluster around complex
adoption, a euphemism for adoption and its complications, includes adoption
of children following foster placement, the impact of delayed adoption, international
adoption, skipped-generation kinship (ie, grandparents as adoptive parents),
and open adoption. The second highway is also fraught with problems, and here
we learn about the frantic search for a baby, during which prospective parents
submit themselves to a variety of methodologies schematized in a table outlining
the donors (providers of ovum or sperm) the gestational or surrogate mother,
the locus of fertilization, and the intentional, or psychological parents.
They, in turn, can be of different genders or the same gender; 1 parent or
2 parents. In the face of this variety of combinations and permutations, the
idea of human cloning seems to be, at least conceptually, a simple solution.