Egg donation parents and their children: follow-up at age 12 years

Fertil Steril. 2006 Mar;85(3):610-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2005.08.051.


Objective: To assess the quality of parenting and psychological adjustment of egg donation families as the child approaches adolescence in comparison with donor insemination (DI) and IVF families.

Design: A study of 17 egg donation families, 35 DI families, and 34 IVF families with a 12-year-old child. Standardized interview and questionnaire measures were administered to mothers and children.

Setting: Follow-up of families recruited from three assisted conception units in the United Kingdom.

Patient(s): Mothers and their 12-year-old children conceived through egg donation, DI, and IVF.

Intervention(s): Mothers and children were interviewed and administered questionnaires.

Main outcome measure(s): Parents' marital and psychological state, quality of parent-child relationships, father's contribution to parenting, and children's socioemotional development.

Result(s): No differences were found between the egg donation and IVF families. The differences between egg donation and DI families reflected lower levels of sensitive responding of egg donation mothers toward their children compared with DI mothers. Donor insemination mothers were more likely to be emotionally over-involved with their child than egg donation mothers. The egg donation children were well adjusted in terms of their social and emotional development.

Conclusion(s): The findings are discussed in relation to the different pattern of genetic relationships between egg donation and DI families and the secrecy surrounding the use of donated gametes to conceive a child.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Disclosure
  • Family / psychology*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Oocyte Donation*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Social Change*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom