Families created through adoption or assisted reproduction should celebrate the new report in Ontario acknowledging the value and struggles it took to build those families.

Now it’s time for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his cabinet to act on Raising Expectations’ critical recommendations. Only action will prove that our political leaders also understand the urgency of finding permanent families for the waiting children in Ontario, and of helping the 1 in 6 Ontario couples who need assistance to conceive.

As an adoptive parent, and an adoptee, I know first-hand the barriers that hamper the efforts of families to adopt through the public system, as well as the joys and challenges once you succeed.

The panel’s first recommendations deal with adoption. Implementing the report’s call for a central adoption agency and subsidies and post-adoption supports for parents of children classified as “special needs” — including older children — would help dismantle those barriers.
As Raising Expectations points out, stigma, misconception and blame cloud both adoption and assisted reproduction. One such misconception is that doing nothing is a good option.

It costs $32,000 a year to keep a child in the care of the province. That’s $300 million a year in total for 9,400 Crown wards.

Many friends have shared the emotional and physical toll that infertility treatments take. Those who eventually conceive are thrilled. Others are devastated by being unable to become a parent the way they had once imagined .

Their struggle also takes an economic toll on the province. That’s because the high cost of fertility treatments — roughly $10,000 a cycle — encourages women to have several fertilized eggs implanted at once. That results in multiple births, which cost the health-care system more because of negative health outcomes for both mother and children.

Paying for three cycles of infertility treatments, as the report recommends, would reduce the incentive for multiple births and cut those health-care costs. Making the legislative and policy changes required to support people prepared to parent the thousands of children waiting forever for families will further help the province’s bottom line.

Even if you don’t agree with the principles behind building strong, healthy Ontario families, the numbers tell the tale.