Secrecy or disclosure: Child born through Surrogacy or gamete donation

Tough decision making for parents of children conceived by donor insemination, egg donation and surrogacy

mother talking to children about his birth via surrogacy or gamette gamete donation

Birth of a child is the most astonishing gift of nature. But increasing infertility issues have increased the application of different assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Donor insemination, egg donation, and surrogacy are different ART help infertile couples to have their children. The primary concern of intended parents is to born of a healthy child, as many complex medical processes along with legal activities are involved in such types of pregnancies. But after the delivery of the offspring, one of the major challenges for intended parents is to disclose the fact with the child. 

Either of the parents does not have a genetic link with the born child in case of donor insemination (intended father does not have the genetic link), and the egg donation process (intended mother does not have the genetic link). However, this situation may differ in surrogacy.  In surrogacy, both the parents may have a genetic link with the born child if the gametes (sperm and eggs) are collected from intended parents. However, all these three different processes are similar in the respect of one of the child’s commissioning parents is not their genetic parent, and/or the commissioning mother did not give birth to them.

Many argued on secrecy or disclosure is better for such a family structure. Some believe that in the long run secrecy may interfere between child parents’ relationship and damaging consequences may occur after releasing the fact in an emergency.  This could negatively affect the psychological well-being of the child. The maintaining secrecy is not in the child’s best interests. Parents may not maintain this secrecy in case of requirement of medical history disclosure, question raise on the resemblance of family, etc. The sudden exposure to the truth can create a dilemma about the identity of the child.

Read Also: Parent Child Relation after disclosure about Surrogacy 

Previously, intended parents prefer for anonymous service. But gradually this thought process is changing. Many parents prefer openness. The rate of disclosure fairly increases, which indicates intended parents shift their attitudes in favor of openness. Many intended parents believe that the child has the right to know their genetic history, whereas many parents avoid facing the panic situation and negative impacts of accidental disclosure. The organ matching or genetic profiling may require due to any medical or legal purpose, which increases the risks of accidental disclosure.

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Usually, parents have different opinions about the delay in the truth disclosure. Some parents have reported that their child too young to disclose the truth, as they are unable to understand biology. Parents thought that sex education is important before disclosure of truth. 

Some parents are concerns about their ‘child protection’. They thought early disclosure might negatively affect the emotional health of their child. Whereas some parents also have confusion about what to tell their children.

Experts suggest that this disclosure must not be all of sudden, but gradual disclosure is always better to avoid future chaos. Disclosure of birth history by considering the age and maturity of the child is tricky and tough responsibility for intended parents. It is a difficult decision for parents when they tell their children about their conception. Researchers suggested that parents should tell their children about their conception, based on their responses at the age of one. It is better at least partial disclosure of the child’s birth history must be completed at the seven years of child age, which is then gradually continued till they can understand it completely depending upon their maturity level. However, partial disclosure can instigate children could find out more information by themselves. Therefore, complete disclosure and a child’s faith in it are very important for parent-child long-term relationship.

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3155651/

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