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Most Parents Using Egg Donor Plan to Tell Child, Study Shows

parents-egg-donor-talk.jpgOne major topic of discussion between a couple who is using an egg donor is whether or not they are going to disclose this information to their children later.

As the egg donor coordinator at InVia Fertility Specialists, I work regularly both with parents who plan to disclose and those who do not.

Most parents facing this choice have many questions, including: What have other parents decided? If we decide to disclose, when should we do so? What if we change our minds?

If you've conceived using an egg donor, the choice of whether or not to disclose that to your child is completely up to you. In some communities, using an egg donor is not as taboo as in others, and this is one of the factors influencing parents' decision. At InVia, we require that all of our intended parents meet with a mental health professional as part of their treatment. One of the topics covered in this consultation is disclosure to future children born from the egg donation.

A few recent studies, which I summarize below, shed light on many of the questions facing parents who have used an egg donor. In addition, there are support groups for parents of egg donor conceived children to give these parents guidance and advice.

Most Parents Plan to Tell Child About Egg Donor ...

Recently, 111 recipient couples were polled and it was found that 78% planned to disclose, 16% had begun the disclosure process and 6% planned not to tell or were unsure.

Another study identified two groups: parents who disclosed early so that the child “always knew” and those who believed that disclosure when the child could understand and utilize discretion was preferable. This study showed that parents who disclosed early were more at ease with the process than later disclosers who felt uncertainty about how and when to disclose.

Still another study showed that age of disclosure is critical in determining how children feel about their donor conception, with it being more beneficial to be told at an early age. Offspring told later reported more negative feelings regarding their donor origins than those told earlier.

But Many Haven't Yet

Based upon the above information, researchers did a study between January and May of 2012, inviting 459 families to participate who delivered a child or children after using an egg donor between 1992 and 2003. Of those families, 72 subjects elected to participate representing 46 families and 66 children ranging in age from 7 to 19 years of age. (One of the limitations of participation in this study may be due to families who plan not to disclose this information to their children.)

Of the 46 participating families, 43% had disclosed to their children and 57% had not. Of those 57% who had not disclosed, 39% intended to disclose as per their original disclosure plans, 9% were uncertain, and 9% do not plan to disclose at any time. The average age of offspring at disclosure was 5.5 years of age, ranging from 1 year of age to 15 years of age.

Of the 57% of families that had not disclosed, 69% still planned to but had not yet followed through with their original plan to disclose. The average age of the children in this group at the time of the study was 11 years of age and most families in this category indicated that they had planned to disclose at an earlier age.

To work with a fertility clinic that has a large selection of medically screened egg donors and a high success rate, make an appointment at one of InVia’s four Chicago area fertility clinics.

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Egg donation

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.

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