Parenting and Child Development in Families With a Child Conceived Through Embryo Donation

J Fam Psychol. 2007 Jun;21(2):278-87. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.2.278.


Concerns have been raised regarding the potentially negative effects of conception using donated embryos on parenting and child development. Findings are presented of an exploratory study of families with a child conceived through embryo donation. Twenty-one embryo donation families were compared with 28 adoptive families and 30 in vitro fertilization families on standardized interview and questionnaire measures of the parents' marital and psychological state, the quality of parent-child relationships, and the child's development. In all 3 groups, the children were aged 2-5 years. The differences indicated higher emotional overinvolvement and defensive responding in the embryo donation families, along with greater secrecy about the child's origins. The children were not at increased risk of psychological problems. The study provides interesting but preliminary findings on parent-child relationships and child development in a new family form.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adoption / psychology
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Embryo Transfer / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / psychology*
  • Truth Disclosure