Psychological studies presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) have shown that kids and parents in families built with the help of donor gametes are doing well.
A team out of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, supported by the Welcome Trust, performed a study examining parenting quality, mother and child well-being and communications in single parent families formed using donor insemination. One hundred and three mothers - 51 single women who used donor insemination to become pregnant and 52 partnered women- and their children were examined using both semi-structured interviews and psychological instruments. All the single mothers expressed some ambivalence about their use of donor insemination to build their families, including concern about lack of a father. However there were no significant differences in parenting quality or maternal well-being between the groups. Nor were significant differences found in the children's' adjustment.
A second study from Cambridge looked at the psychological well-being of adolescents conceived under different circumstances: naturally, via surrogacy, or through gamete donation. Data were gathered from 31 sperm donor families, 28 egg donor families, 29 surrogacy families and 57 families with naturally-conceived children. Questionnaires were used to examine parental psychological well-being, parental and family functioning and the psychological adjustment of the teens themselves. Few differences based on conception of the child were revealed. The initial findings show that the adolescents did not differ in their psychological adjustments nor were there increased family strains among the children born through collaborative reproduction methods.
A team from the University of Southern California examined the well-being of women who had used egg donation to become mothers. Participants completed survey instruments that asked about mental and physical well-being. The results were stratified by age, and it was found that women over age 50 did not have significant differences from their younger peers.
"It is reassuring to know that families who rely upon medical assistance to have children do not appear to suffer psychologically. It appears families are families," stated Rebecca Z. Sokol , MD, MPH, President of the ASRM.