Adopting a child: your health and wellbeing
There are many reasons why you may choose to adopt, such as being single and wanting to give a child a home, being LGBT+, or choosing to adopt a sibling for an existing biological child instead of giving birth again.
Any adoption agency will take into account your health and needs when it considers whether you're suitable to be approved as an adoptive parent.
Your decision to adopt may be affected or influenced by your medical history, including any attempts to start a family.
IVF and adoption
If you have been having infertility treatment, such as IVF, most adoption agencies will normally expect this to have ended before you apply to adopt.
Most agencies prefer you to wait several months between your treatment ending and formally applying to be approved as adopters. Check with individual agencies what their policies are.
Your adoption health assessment
As part of the adoption assessment process, you will be required to have a health assessment.
Adoption agencies need to check whether there are any physical or mental health issues that might affect your ability to provide a safe, stable and loving home until a child reaches adulthood and, ideally, beyond.
Your medical assessment will be carried out by your GP, who'll usually charge for this. The cost of this can vary between GP practices.
In some cases, your adoption agency will cover the cost of the fee, but in others you may be expected to pay.
Your medical assessment will take up to 1 hour and will include the following areas:
- your health history, including your mental health
- a review of your lifestyle
- your family medical history
- a complete physical examination, including your height, weight and blood pressure
You may be examined for any early signs of cancer or other serious conditions.
The adoption agency's medical adviser will review all the information in your medical report. They will then make recommendations to the agency about any possible risk to your current or future health, and what the agency could do to support you.
Adopting while having a disability
People with disabilities can become adoptive parents. Agencies recognise that adults with disabilities can meet the challenges a child will bring while providing a loving home.
Adoption UK has a forum for disabled adopters.
Feelings after adopting
While being an adoptive parent brings many rewards, the difficulties involved in parenting an adopted child can also affect you and your relationships.
The first few months after the placement can be a time of joy, but you may also have feelings of guilt, fear and depression.
Your adopted child will be vulnerable to the new environment they are in and will notice when you start feeling stress or disappointment. You and your child will be supported at this time.
Talk about your feelings with family, close friends and other adoptive parents.
It's also important to give yourself a break sometimes so you can rest and be re-energised.
Page last reviewed: 21 August 2018
Next review due: 21 August 2021