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Should Kids Know They Were Conceived with Donor Eggs?

October 18, 2013

Researchers presented data from two studies in Boston yesterday at a meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) regarding parental disclosure of the use of donor eggs to their child. The first study stated up to 60 percent of donor egg recipients were undecided if they would inform their child of the circumstances surrounding their conception. This was in contrast to the information given by recipients at the time of cycling where 42 percent of recipients said they planned to inform their children in 2008. This dropped to just 21 percent by 2009, but later increased to 47 percent of parents in 2012. Recipients cited fear of cultural disapproval or fear of being snubbed by their community as the reason for the hesitation. Parents who had planned to tell the child had difficulty coming to a decision about the proper time for this conversation.

Parents of who had children via egg donation at least 10 years ago were contacted to find out if there were concerns after the information was made available to the child. This included 64 participants, and their respective 73 children ranging in age from 2-19 years, including younger siblings. One hundred eight invitations were undeliverable, and 7 participants refused to have any further contact with researchers. Of those who responded, only 43 percent had disclosed the information, with the average age of disclosure at 6.5 years old. Evidence stated that families who disclosed before the age of 10 had full confidence that they had allowed their child to “grow into their conception story.”

Of the 57 percent that had not disclosed, 87.5 percent still planned to make this information available. The hesitation stated for non-disclosure was over anxiety of the proper timing, with many now concerned that they had missed their window and information would be relayed to teenagers and young adults.

There was strong suggestion throughout the study that parents of donor egg children may benefit from psychosocial support and information about disclosure process through their child rearing. "Even though many parents through egg donation remain uncommitted to discussing it with their children, we see a trend toward greater openness which reflects our society's increasing comfort level with [fertility treatment] and increasing recognition that there are many different ways to create a family," Richard Reindollar, president-elect of the ASRM, said in a meeting news release.

"Counseling and resources need to be made available to parents who use egg donation, not just at the time of their [fertility treatment] cycle, but into the life of their family to assist them in the disclosure process," he added.


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