Home News Mental Health News Third-Party Assisted Reproduction Does Not Influence Psychological Adjustment

Third-Party Assisted Reproduction Does Not Influence Psychological Adjustment

However, speaking to children about the circumstances of their birth at an early age may be beneficial

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Third-party assisted reproduction does not interfere with the development of positive mother-child relationships or psychological adjustment in young adulthood, according to a study published online April 13 in Developmental Psychology.

Susan Golombok, from University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated whether children born through third-party assisted reproduction experienced psychological problems or difficulties in their relationships with their mothers at age 20 years. The analysis included standardized interviews and questionnaires with 65 assisted reproduction families (22 surrogacy families, 17 egg donation families, and 26 sperm donation families) and 52 unassisted conception families.

The researchers observed no differences between assisted reproduction and unassisted conception families in mothers’ or young adults’ psychological well-being or the quality of family relationships. Within the gamete donation families, less positive family relationships were reported by egg donation mothers than sperm donation mothers, while young adults conceived by sperm donation reported poorer family communication than those conceived by egg donation. Offspring who learned about their biological origins before age 7 years had less negative relationships with their mothers as young adults, and their mothers showed lower levels of anxiety and depression.

“There does seem to be a positive effect of being open with children when they’re young — before they go to school — about their conception,” Golombok said in a statement. “It’s something that’s been shown by studies of adoptive families too.”

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