Embryo donation families : mothers' decisions regarding disclosure of donor conception

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MacCallum, Fiona ; Golombok, Susan

BACKGROUND: Previous data suggest that parents who adopt a child tend to support full disclosure while donor conception families prefer to keep the method of conception relatively private. It is not known whether parents in embryo donation families will tend towards the adoption model, therefore, we studied families with a child conceived using donated embryos. \ud METHODS: A total of 21 embryo donation families with a child aged 2–5 years were recruited through UK fertility clinics. Mothers were administered a standardized semi-structured interview, obtaining data on the extent of their disclosure to children and other family members and their reasons for this decision. \ud RESULTS: At the time of interview, 9% of mothers had told their child how they had conceived; 24% of mothers reported that they were planning to tell the child in future; 43% had decided that they would never tell the child, and the remaining 24% were undecided. However, nearly three-quarter of mothers (72%) had disclosed to other family members. Maternal grandparents were more likely to have been told than paternal grandparents (P < 0.025). Reasons cited for non-disclosure to the child included the desire to protect the child, the belief that disclosure is unnecessary, and the concern that family relationships would be damaged. Reasons in favour of disclosure included the desire to avoid accidental disclosure and the belief that the child has the right to know. \ud CONCLUSIONS: Embryo donation mothers were similar to parents of donor insemination and oocyte donation children in their attitudes towards disclosure of donor conception. \ud \ud
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