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Families with children without a genetic or gestational link to their parents are functioning well
Date:7/5/2008

The emotional well-being of families where children lack a genetic or gestational link to one or both of their parents where the children have been conceived through surrogacy, egg donation or donor insemination has long been a subject of debate. Now, in the first worldwide study of this issue, British scientists have shown that relationships within such families appear to be functioning well, and that there are few differences between them and families in whom children were conceived naturally.

Miss Polly Casey, from the Centre for Family Research, Cambridge University, UK, will tell the 24th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology this week that the study found that the egg donation, surrogacy, and donor insemination families showed more similarities than differences in the psychological well-being of the parents, the quality of parent-child relationships, and the psychological adjustment of the child. The potential negative consequences for such children have long been the subject of debate, with concern that parents may behave less positively towards them, and that the child may not feel fully accepted as part of the family.

The researchers have been following up 39 surrogacy families, 43 donor insemination families, 46 egg donation families, and 70 families where children had been conceived naturally. So far the data have been collected up to the time that the children are seven years old, but the researchers hope to continue following up these families for as long as possible. The findings to be presented are from approximately half of the families where the child has reached seven years old.

"We asked questions in a number of different areas to both parents and children," said Miss Casey. "We looked at such things as parental psychological wellbeing and parent-child relationships, and also questioned the mothers on any emotional and behavioural problems they felt that the child might h
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
Source:Eurekalert

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