Cancer Survivors May Face More Challenges When Adopting

Cancer Survivors May Face More Challenges When Adopting

Cancer Survivors May Face More Challenges When Adopting

Study finds agencies may request potentially discriminatory personal information

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, July 13, 2015

MONDAY, July 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors may face roadblocks when trying to adopt children, a new study finds.

Cancer and cancer treatments can leave some patients infertile, so many young cancer survivors turn to adoption when hoping to start, or add to, a family, the researchers noted.

For the study, 71 oncology nurses in 15 states who were taking part in a training program were asked to gather information from adoption agencies.

Not all of the adoption agencies recorded whether prospective parents were cancer survivors, but those that did keep such records had an average of 10 cancer survivors a year seeking to adopt.

Some of the agencies said some birth mothers may be reluctant to have their baby adopted by a cancer survivor. But, most said that birth mothers might feel good about choosing an adoptive parent who has overcome cancer and has an appreciation for life, the study noted.

Many adoption agencies require applicants to provide a letter from a doctor about their health and medical history. This could be a potentially discriminatory practice similar to denying jobs to people with disabilities, according to study co-leader Gwendolyn Quinn, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

The researchers also found that international adoptions have more restrictions for applicants who are cancer survivors, the researchers noted.

The nurses in the study said they gained valuable knowledge about the adoption process and felt they were better able to discuss adoption with cancer patients.

"Additionally, perhaps this data will bring to light the need for policy revisions in adoption processes that comply with ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements," Quinn said.

Findings were published online July 13 in the journal Cancer.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer and fertility.
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