Teenage pregnancy and adoption

Adoption is when a baby is given new parents. The girl or woman who is pregnant continues with the pregnancy and gives birth. But when the baby is born, he or she is raised by and becomes the legal responsibility of the new parents.

It is a legally binding process - this means that once adoption is finalised she would have no rights or responsibilities for the child. It also means that once the process is complete it cannot be changed.

How does adoption happen?

The decision to adopt can be made any time during pregnancy, and preparations can also begin. Adoption agencies and local authorities would enable the adoption to take place, but are not able to officially authorise the adoption until the baby is six weeks old.  For more information about this, click here.


It is possible for the biological mother to change her mind about the adoption at any point before it has been finalised. But depending on how far along the process is, it may be refused. A court will base their decision on what they think is best for the baby. Once an adoption has been legally finalised it cannot be changed even if the girl changes her mind. For more detail on this, click here.

I think I want to adopt - what next?

The decision to put a child up for adoption can be very difficult. Even if it seems like the right decision, it is normal to have feelings of doubt, fear and questions about it. Don't suffer in silence - there is a lot of support for young people who are considering adoption, so keep calm and go and explore the healp available.

But there are some important things to consider before finally deciding that adoption is the right route to go down - it is not a good idea to make the decision without thinking about what it means and why it seems the right decision.

The first step is to talk to someone who can answer questions and offer practical advice, such as: a doctor or nurse at our general practice, a social worker or a health care worker at a sexual health clinic. These professionals can help with providing information that will help with the decision-making process.

For more detailed advice and information for people who think they might want to adopt their baby, click here.

Related pages:

Getting an abortion

Continuing with a pregnancy and raising a child

Pregnancy advice for under 16s

Contraception