Fast Facts


Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


In adoption, the child is the client. No adult- heterosexual or homosexual- has a right to adopt. Children who have lost their parents have a right to be adopted.

Adoption is an exhaustive, tedious, expensive process for potential parents because detaching a child from their biological parents and reattaching them to biological strangers is risky for kids. In adoption, payments to birth parents are prohibited, and costs are aimed at ensuring safe placements. In third-party reproduction (using a third party’s sperm, egg, or womb), payment to the biological father, biological mother and birth mother is built into the business model, and include zero screening and background checks for potential parents.

Child-centric adoption includes:

  • Placing the child with relatives whenever possible to preserve kinship bonds.
  • Favoring homes with a mother and father so the child can experience maternal and paternal love.
  • Prioritizing married couples to maximize long-term stability.
  • Seeking only mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy adoptive parents.
  • Ensuring adoptive parents have the financial resources to parent a child.
  • With older children, considering the child’s wishes and comfort.
  • Prioritizing homes able to adopt biological sibling groups.


Some adoptees report feeling alienated from their families, feeling that they just don’t fit in, and even have difficulty looking at their own reflections- something they share with donor conceived (DC) adults. Feeling like an outsider may contribute to adoptees’ elevated risk of developing externalizing disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder, separation anxiety, ADHD, and major depressive disorder.

One thing that adult adoptees had in common is the feeling of looking into the mirror and not knowing who they were. What surprised me most is the accounts of feeling like an alien hybrid and being sent down to this earth and not born. They were silly thoughts, but I had them. When you look at people you see their mom, their dad, their sister. When you look at yourself you see nothing. I went on to find my parents and give my mirror back [its] reflection.” – Anonymous Adoptee


Many people wrongly believe that donor-conception is just another form of adoption. It’s true that in both households, children are being raised apart from one or both biological parents. But that is where the similarities end. When it comes to the rights of children, adoption protects, donor conception violates.

  • Adoptive parents didn’t create a child’s wound, but are seeking to mend it. Thus they are better positioned to support their adoptive child through grief and loss. Donor-conceived children are being raised by adults who inflicted their wound and are thus more likely to feel alone in their grief.
  • Adoption exists to provide parents to an existing orphan, donor conception intentionally creates a biological orphan.
  • In adoption, adults fill a void for the children. In third-party reproduction, the children fill a void for the adults.
  • Adoption serves the needs of children, donor conception caters to the wants of adults.
  • “Open adoptions” are now the norm because social workers recognize that connection with a child’s first family maximizes adoptee health. Many #BigFertility clients favor anonymous donors, intentionally cutting children off from half or all of their biological connections.
  • Adoptive parents are required to submit to home studies, financial assessments, physical exams, to provide personal references, attend pre-adoption parenting classes, post-adoption visits, and background checks. In order to commission a baby via #BigFertility, the only required check is the one from the bank. Many adults who would never have passed an adoption screening leave the hospital with an unrelated DC child.
  • In our broken world, adoption is sometimes necessary. Third-party reproduction is never necessary.

A just society cares for orphans, it does not create them.

(Contents of this section are excerpts from chapter 9 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”)

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


  • to life
  • to their mothers and fathers
  • to be born free, not bought and sold

Surrogacy violates all three children’s rights


Only 7% of lab-created children (IVF is essential to surrogacy) will be born alive. Most will perish in forgotten freezers, won’t survive “thawing,” fail to implant, be discarded for being non-viable/the wrong sex, be aborted “selectively reduced,” or be donated to research.

When you see stories of beautiful surrogate-born babies, keep in mind they are among the few who didn’t die in the process. Most children created for the purpose of surrogacy will lose their right to life.


Children Suffer When They Lose Their Birth Mothers
Mothers and babies bond during pregnancy.Studies show that maternal separation, a feature of surrogacy, is a major physiological stressor for the infant and even brief maternal deprivation can permanently alter the structure of the infant brain. Many adoptees argue that their “primal wound” of maternal loss manifested as depression, abandonment/loss issues, and emotional problems throughout their lives. It hindered their attachment, bonding, psychological health, self-esteem, and future relationships. One surrogate-born woman notes:

Children of surrogacy, just like children of a traditional adoption, deal with traumas. We want to know where we come from… who gave birth to us and what they are like. When we have children in this world who already need homes, why are we intentionally creating children [via surrogacy] to go through adoption traumas?

Children Suffer When They Lose Their Biological Parents

Children have a right to be known, loved, and raised by their biological parents. Surrogacy routinely severs a child’s relationship with his or her genetic mother and/or father through use of sperm and egg “donation.”

Safety. Children raised by their married biological mothers and fathers are most likely to be safe and loved. While heroic step-parents do exist, overall the presence of unrelated adults drastically increases a child’s risk of abuse and neglect. Statistically, biological parents are the most protective of and invested in children. Even if they aren’t neglected or abused, children tend to feel less connected to unrelated adults. That’s often true for children created via reproductive technologies:

After a wrenching divorce, I never again saw that ‘dad’ of mine. My mother remarried, and I was given a new ‘dad.’ But neither the first nor the second man ever made me feel safe in my own home.” – Alana Newman, child of sperm donor

I still wonder and ponder, ‘who is my REAL Mother’? My current Mother…well growing up never accepted me…or even really cared to grow a bond with me…It makes sense why now. There is a massive disconnection due to IVF.” – Son of egg donor

Adoption is an institution centered around the needs of children. #BigFertility is a marketplace centered around the desires of adults. Unlike adoption agencies, #BigFertility conducts no screenings of “intended” parents, placing children in unstable, risky, unmonitored households.

Identity. Genetic parents are the only two people who provide something children crave- biological identity.

A survey of adults conceived via sperm donation confirmed that biology matters. Most of the respondents,

-agreed “my donor is half of who I am.”
-often wondered what personality traits, skills, and physical similarities they shared with their donor.
-worried they did not have a complete/accurate medical history.

Who am I? I’m thankful to know I’m at least related to my dad, but when I look in the mirror, I wonder where my face comes from.” – Child of egg donor

Motherlessness. Many surrogate children will be denied the daily presence of a mother. Motherless children are deprived of the developmental benefits of gender complementarity and experience diminished outcomes as a result. They are also starved of the maternal love they crave:

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a mother until I watched ‘The Land Before Time.’ My 5-year-old brain could not understand why I didn’t have the mom that I suddenly desperately wanted. I felt the loss. I felt the hole. As I grew, I tried to fill that hole with aunts, my dads’ lesbian friends and teachers. I craved a mother’s love even though I was well-loved by my two gay dads.


In 2012, Theresa Erickson was found guilty of baby selling. She implanted surrogates with unrelated embryos and during their second trimester would solicit intended parents, claiming the original parents had backed out. She charged between $100-150K per baby. Erickson’s crime was not that babies went home with unrelated adults- a common occurrence for #BigFertility. It was that she signed the surrogacy contract after conception (childtrafficking), not before (“helping to create a family”). Of course a post-conception contract can’t alleviate a child’s genealogical bewilderment, feelings of commodification, and mother-loss trauma. Other than timing, there’s often no legal difference between child-trafficking and commercial surrogacy.

The largest study of children created via sperm donation, which carries a much smaller price tag than surrogacy, found nearly half agreed with the statement, “It bothers me that money was exchanged in order to conceive me.

I don’t care why my parents did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want… But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. When you exchange something for money it is called a commodity. Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings.” –Brian C (Child of Surrogacy)

My conception was bought and sold, my father, the sperm prostitute. He is a seller not a donor. The cryobanks are a billion dollar corporation not a benevolent non- profit organization to help the infertile. Money is all that matters. Money is dirty and I was born out of it…. My life had a price and I am the one who bears the consequences.” -Child of sperm donor

…being ‘wanted’ can sometimes feel like a curse, like I was created to make you happy, my rights be damned. I’d be lying if I said I never felt commodified” – Bethany, Child of sperm donor

(Contents of this section are excerpts from chapter 8 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”)

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.

Donor Conception

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


Donor conception violates children’s right to life, right to their mother and father, and right to be born free- not bought and sold.


Most donor children (DC) are conceived in glass (IVF). Only 7% of lab-created embryos will be born alive. IVF treats babies like disposable commodities. “Undesirable” embryos are discarded routinely; many babies won’t survive the thaw or transfer, the few that do implant may be “selectively reduced” (aborted), or have their siblings “selected” for disposal. And many will spend their lives in a freezer.


#BigFertility is for-profit; no one is “donating,” everyone is buying or selling. At great cost, “donor” children are created in labs by adults willfully choosing a motherless or fatherless (sometimes both) life for a child. DC children suffer socially and emotionally in greater numbers than their adopted counterparts.

#BigFertility is unregulated with few requirements to record-keep or report on the outcomes of the children they are making. Ninety-nine percent of DC adults believe that #BigFertility has a responsibility to act in the best interest of the people it helps create.


#BigFertility is big business and their human-products are troubled that their lives came with a price tag. DC people, rightly, feel trafficked and monetized. Seventy percent of DC people agreed that “the method of my conception sometimes causes me to feel distressed, angry, or sad.”

Do you know what it’s like [to be] traded for money, lied to in the face of your mother and social father for their benefit, and then having to bottle up these feelings of mourning for the birthfather who never loved you, and wants nothing to do with you, an entire family who doesn’t know you exist, and dozens of half-siblings you’ll never know?


#BigFertility is a marketplace and buyers pay more for gamete sellers with “desirable traits” such as attractiveness, athleticism, academic achievement, and white skin.

I knew from an early age that I was purchased and selected from essentially a catalog. I knew that my blonde hair and blue eyes was somehow valued above other colorations—because my mother never fell in love with my father, he was never a full human being to her, only a handful of breeding details. I always knew that I was purchased and created precisely to make her happy.” – Alana Newman


DC kids overwhelmingly believe knowing their biological parentage is paramount to good mental health. Many describe feeling fraudulent, untethered, and alone; even when raised in a two-parent family, they long for their biological parent:

  • 64% of DC adults believe that their sperm donor is half of who they are.
  • 70% believe they have been harmed by anonymous donation.
  • 89% believe it is important to know the identity of their donor.

Mum told me when I was a child. All about how desperate she was for a baby, and how much I was wanted, and I was special. It doesn’t feel like that. I’m middle-aged now, and I went through a phase of kidding myself it doesn’t matter. But it does. It always has if I’m honest.

I don’t know how to express with words how distressing it is to have half of your identity ripped away in a moment like that…. There isn’t a handbook on how to rebuild your sense of self when you discover that your nonidentifiable father sold you.”- Ellie

I cannot describe what it feels like to see your father’s face for the first time…. In that moment, I became whole. The lopsided, half-empty feeling I had every day of my life, suddenly filled. I was a whole and complete person for the first time in my life.” – Anonymous DC person

The want of their commissioning parent(s) pales when compared to the need these children have to understand who is responsible for their attributes.

Many DC adults are fixated with finding their missing half-siblings, some worry about the possibility of being related to a romantic interest, and others spend years obsessively searching for their biological parents. With the help of DNA testing services, many are learning the truth of their biological family members. According to We are Donor Conceived 70% of “donor” children found at least one donor sibling via DNA testing. 79% have found one to ten siblings, while five percent have discovered fifty or more donor siblings.

I was also shocked to find out what a huge number of donor conceived half-siblings I probably have living near me. At least twenty, maybe over fifty. It is painful to know that I likely won’t ever even know most of their names, let alone get to meet them. They are unlikely to have been told they were donor-conceived. I love them and miss them without even knowing them.” – Ellie

How should advocates of children’s rights proceed in matters of sperm and egg donation? Matt Doran, the founder of Donor Children (a social networking site that connects and supports the donor-conceived community), has this recommendation:

I think the whole practice should be banned. It’s legalized human trafficking and it’s a huge multibilliondollar industry and you are disenfranchising children from their biological roots so that you can have a baby. It’s more like purchasing an object and you’re denying a child their human rights to their natural heritage.

Donor conception shifts the emotional burden of an adult longing to become a parent to a child who will long for their missing parent(s) for a lifetime.

(Contents of this section are excerpts from chapter 7 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”)

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.

Same Sex Parenting

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


No matter how exceptional at parenting two moms or dads may be, they’re incapable of providing the gender-specific love and biological identity exclusive to the child’s absent mother or father. The problem with same-sex parenting isn’t the gay parent, it’s the missing parent.

Most “studies” proclaiming that kids with same-sex parents fare “no different” than children of heterosexual parents are methodologically flawed:

  • Participants were aware that the purpose was to investigate same-sex parenting, thus the respondents may have aimed at producing the desired result.
  • Participants were often recruited through friends or through advocacy organizations.
    Most surveyed parental perception rather than the children’s actual outcomes.
  • On average, samples of fewer than forty children of parents in a same-sex relationship virtually guaranteed findings showing no statistically significant differences between groups.

Of these erroneous study results, Stephen, who lived part-time with his father and his father’s partner, said, “I keep seeing articles stating that children with gay parents do just as well, if not better, than children with straight parents. Where are they getting their information? Have they interviewed any adult children with gay parents, who can think for themselves and are no longer living with their parents?”


In his New Family Structures Study (NFSS), researcher Mark Regnerus concluded, “On twenty-five out of forty outcomes evaluated, there were statistically significant differences between children from intact biological families and those of the mothers in lesbian relationships in many areas that are unambiguously suboptimal, such as receiving welfare, need for therapy, infidelity, STIs, sexual victimization, educational attainment, safety of the family of origin, depression, attachments and dependencies, marijuana use, frequency of smoking, and criminal behavior.”

Using data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, Paul Sullins discovered that when compared with children in dual-gender households, children in same-sex-headed families:

  • Were likely to suffer emotional or behavioral difficulties at a rate of 9.3 percent, more than twice the 4.4 percent rate for children in dual-gender families.
  • Experienced “definite” or “severe” emotional problems at a rate of 14.9 percent versus 5.5 percent.
    Were diagnosed with ADHD at a rate of 15.5 percent versus 7.1 percent.
  • Struggled with learning disabilities at a rate of 14.1 percent versus 8 percent.
  • Received special education and mental health services at a rate of 17.8 percent versus 10.4 percent.

When methodological gold-standards are employed, “marriage equality” for adults results in childhood inequality.


The craving for father-specific and mother-specific love transcends politically correct ideologies and progressive trends. Children’s longing to be known and loved by their mother and father is at the very heart of what it is to be a human child.

I am the daughter (not biological) of two moms. I love them both sooo sooo much but there is not a day that goes by that i didn’t wish i had a dad… i have men in my life my moms’ friends but it is not the same. I don’t agree with the fact that I will never know half of my biology or my siblings.

Is there anyone else who has 2 Moms or 2 Dads who wonders what it would be like if they were born into a normal family? Is there anyone else who wants to be able to use the word normal without gettin a lecture on what is normal??? I don’t know my real father and never will. It’s weird but I miss him. I miss this man I will never know. Is it wrong for me to long for a father like my friends have?

From an early age I found myself being drawn to my friends’ fathers, or at least the ones who seemed like good, responsible, loving dads. I think my [lesbian] parents knew somewhere in the back of their minds that this was necessary for me and didn’t discourage this, which was smart on their part. My best friend’s dad also probably recognized the role he was fulfilling in my life and did so willingly and that’s something I’m forever grateful for.” -Theodore


Many kids with parents who’ve transitioned describe the experience as a type of death. They don’t feel like their father has become their mother; rather, their father is altogether gone.

My dad made the change to Stephanie and in doing so, destroyed his family…. The feelings I felt were loss. To me, my father had died, and there was no changing that. I was looking at a shell of the man I once knew. It was hard seeing him because, to me, he passed away, and it brought up those same feelings every time. I could no longer relate to him the same way.” -Elizabeth

Joshua reflects on how his father’s decision to become a woman, Karen, has most impacted his own sense of what it means to be a man. “When that person, your masculine figure, is lost to you at the most pertinent age and suddenly [there’s a] woman in front of you, what are you supposed to do?… What is it to be a man?”


When society conditions kids with the “love makes a family” refrain, they will doubt their instinctual want of a mother or father. Children are incapable of comprehending that it’s the cultural and legal landscape which has failed them, not their own feelings. Kids with LGBT parents also face extraordinary pressure to endorse the political activism rooted in their parents’ sexual identities.

I suffered guilt, because who was I to reject this other parent? And, oh my gosh, if she is really what is supposed to fulfill me, how horrible must I be to reject that notion?” – Millie Fontana, daughter of two mothers

Disparagement of members of the LGBT community or the kids they are raising is unacceptable. Advocating for children’s rights is not a commentary on whether gay men and lesbians are capable parents. A lesbian can be an exceptional mother; she simply cannot be a father. A gay man can be a fantastic father; he simply cannot be a mother. Children need, long for, and have a right to both.

(Contents of this section are excerpts from chapter 6 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”)

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


Download PDF version of this section. Click here.


“Divorce” is another term for the death of a family. Divorce introduces instability, confusion, and questions of parental loyalty into the already complex nature of childhood. With it often comes the death of a child’s feelings of safety and security; it’s the end of one home, of love shared by the two people the child loves most, and of time spent with both parents daily.

Divorce impacts children for life. Children of failed marriages become adults who are “less well educated, have lower family incomes, marry earlier but separate more often, and have higher odds of adult suicide.” – Jonathan Gruber, Professor of Economics MIT


There are reasons for divorce. Before the advent of no-fault divorce, the at-fault divorce laws correctly penalized the at-fault spouse for marital breakdown for reasons of abuse, addiction, or abandonment. At fault divorce incentivized marriage-sustaining behavior and penalized the vow-breaking spouse socially and financially. No-fault divorce has lead to skyrocketing rates of marital breakups largely unrelated to abuse, addiction or abandonment.


Divorce transfer the hard work from parent to child. It’s the act of adults trading their own relationship troubles for their child’s long-term physical and emotional health. Divorce is categorized as an adverse childhood experience (ACE). ACE’s “are potentially traumatic events that can have negative lasting effects on health and well-being.”

No-fault divorce says, “This cross is too heavy for us. Here kids, you take it instead.


Divorce is deceptive. Legally is it a single event, but psychologically it is a chain- sometimes a never ending chain- of events, relocations, and radically shifting relationships strung through time, a process that forever changes the lives of the people.” – Judith Wallerstein

Instability is a feature of a child’s life post-divorce. Divorce is often the beginning of the end of a child’s relationship with their father, followed up with cohabiting partners, remarriage, more divorce, residential change, stepfamily, new baby half-siblings, or a preassembled set of new children.

For us children it was an environment that was impossible, veering between a week with my mother and then a week with my father, it was like living on a permanent seesaw.” – Peaches Geldof


Oftentimes living in two homes means developing two different personalities.Close to half of children said that after the divorce they felt like a different person with each of their parents… their divorced parents version of the truth were different… they were asked to keep important secrets— and many more felt the need to do so, even when their parents did not ask them to.

I lost myself in every effort to appease each side of my family. Shuffling alone between two separate lives meant that I was on the fringe of each family, never an insider. The people I loved most were never in the same room together, and many of them barely even knew each other existed.

Divorce impacts children for life.

Divorce transfers the hard work from parent to child.

living in two homes means developing two different personalities.


Mental/Emotional Health. One long-term study of adults with a divorce in their background showed they suffered diminished outcomes in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. For kids struggling with baseline mental health issues, divorce poses an increased risk of recurrent adult depression and a higher likelihood of developing bipolar disorder.

Mending a Marriage is Good for Both Kids and Parents

A 2002 report from the Institute for American Values found:

Two-thirds of unhappily married adults who choose to stick it out reported happier marriages five years later. Unhappy couples who divorced were no happier, on average, than those who stayed together.

Excerpts from chapter 5 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”

I was an emotional wreck as a teenager…. I hated myself. I blamed myself for the divorce, and wished I were dead…. I started taking antidepressants, then an entire cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and tranquilizers. Nothing helped; I was just tired and sick all the time now…. When I was thirteen, I made a suicide gesture. I spent four days in a locked psychiatric ward for children. I didn’t fit the symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder; I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, but didn’t get treatment for it until I was an adult, because my mother didn’t believe the divorce could be traumatic.” -Laura

In the best case scenario, divorce halves the first two, and obliterates the third. Negative outcomes for children of divorce are pervasive because these kids are relationally malnourished.

Relational Health. Children whose parents divorced but never remarried are 45% more likely to end their own marriages. That percentage explodes to 91% more likely to divorce when their parents remarried. Millennials born in the wake of the divorce epidemic are wary of marriage and often opt to cohabit. Many avoid relationships altogether.

I’ve only been in one adult relationship, mainly because I’m terrified of the hurt that rips the threads of your life apart—your home, your friends, your finances, your day-to-day life. Divorce will end your life as you know it. The biggest thing I learned from my parents’ divorce is no matter how much you love the other person, if they choose to leave you, there isn’t anything you can do to change their mind.” -Leighaine

Physical Health. Parental divorce has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. It’s also been shown to double the likelihood kids will have trouble with their gut, skin, nervous system, genitals, and urinary organs. The correlation between divorced parents and their children’s compromised health are so direct, any serious plan to reduce the cost of healthcare should begin with reducing the divorce rate.

Even though I was achieving in [school and extracurriculars], inside I was consumed with anger, questions, and a feeling of wanting it all to end. Suicide was a constant thought that I battled my junior and senior years. I was in counseling most of my senior year. My health tanked. I was diagnosed with asthma, Raynaud’s, and TMJ. All of these ailments didn’t exist before my parents’ separation.” -Annie

Mother’s love, father’s love, and stability are the three staples of a child’s social/emotional diet. In the best case scenario, divorce halves the first two, and obliterates the third. Negative outcomes for children of divorce are pervasive because these kids are relationally malnourished.


A 2002 report from the Institute for American Values found:

  • Two-thirds of unhappily married adults who choose to stick it out reported happier marriages five years later.
  • Unhappy couples who divorced were no happier, on average, than those who stayed together.

Contrary to popular belief, staying in an unhappy marriage could be the best thing you ever do.
-Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation

When it comes to a struggling marriage- someone will have to do the hard thing. It will either be the adults who must work to improve their relationship, or the kids who will be saddled with split lives and life-long risk.

(Contents of this section are excerpts from chapter 5 of “Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Movement”)

Download PDF version of this section. Click here.

Check out our new book!

This book pairs gold-standard research with hundreds of stories from children, many of which have never been told before.

Chinese (Traditional)CzechEnglishFrenchGermanKoreanLatvianPolishPortugueseSlovakSpanish
Share This