A study conducted in 2008 suggests that children born to a surrogate mother or conceived through donated sperm or a donated egg do just as well psychologically as counterparts who are naturally conceived.
This study is the widest yet into concerns that the rising numbers of children born through assisted reproduction may suffer lower self-esteem or be treated less positively by parents, siblings and schoolmates.
Scientists from the Centre for Family Research at Britain’s Cambridge University carried out interviews and psychology tests among 39 surrogacy families, 43 donor insemination families and 46 egg donation families.
For comparison, they made the same investigation among 70 families where the children had been conceived naturally. They also asked the children’s teachers, in order to get an independent assessment of the child’s wellbeing.
The found that the family types did not differ in the overall quality of the relationship between mothers and their children and fathers and their children. Mothers who had had their child through surrogacy and egg donation tended to be more sensitive to their child’s worries and anxieties compared with donor insemination mothers and natural conception mothers, but the difference was minor.
As for the child’s view of family relationships, children of all backgrounds felt that their mother and father were their closest relationship. There was no significant difference between family types when it came to self-esteem.
When it came to telling children about their conception and birth they found a majority of parents of children born through assisted reproduction delayed telling the child about how he or she was conceived.By the time of the child’s seventh birthday, only 39 percent of egg-donation parents, 29 percent of donor-insemination parents and 89 percent of surrogacy parents had told their children about the nature of their conception.
These figures contrast markedly with what the parents said they would do when they were questioned at the child’s first birthday. The reasons for not informing the children were stated as ” numerous and complex,” including a desire to protect an infertile father and the fear that a child may feel less love for the non-genetic parent.