Donor kids 'do as well emotionally' as naturally conceived ones

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London, July 6 : Children born to a surrogate mother or conceived through donated sperm or a donated egg do just as well emotionally as kids who are naturally conceived, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at Cambridge University, that followed kids up to the age of seven found little difference in family relationships between the two groups.

The 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.

For the study, Polly Casey, from the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University looked at the psychological well being of the parents and children and the quality of their relationships.

Kids were given a 'map' with them at the centre, and asked to plot where family members and friends should be placed based on the emotional closeness of each relationship.

Researchers interviewed parents and asked them to fill out questionnaires looking at the child's conduct and emotional well being.

The team followed 39 surrogacy families, 43 donor insemination families, 46 egg donation families, and 70 families where children had been conceived naturally.

However, only 39 percent of egg donation parents, 29 percent of donor insemination parents, and 89 percent of surrogacy parents had told their children how they were conceived, far fewer than had said they would do so when their child was one.

Fears the child would not love their non-genetic parent, or that they would be upset by the news were major reasons for keeping the information from them.

"We 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," BBC quoted Casey, as saying.

However, the study showed that mothers who had used egg donation or surrogacy to conceive were more sensitive to their child's anxieties than mothers of those conceived via donor insemination.

Researchers also found slightly more chance of 'emotional over-involvement' with their children from assisted reproduction mothers as opposed to natural conception mothers.

Mothers' questionnaire responses showed no difference between the groups.

The study also showed 'significant disparities' between assisted conception families who were open with the children and those who were not.

Parents in the families who talked about the conception displayed greater sensitivity and warmth to the child.

The study is being detailed at a European reproductive health conference in Barcelona.

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