Should Kids Borne Out of Surrogacy Know Their Origins?

Over the past decade the number of births involving surrogacy with donor eggs and sperm has surged. What, experts wondered, does this mean for the mental and emotional health of the growing number of kids who may or may not know the truth about their distinctive origins?

The latest statistics from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) show that the number of births involving a surrogate jumped more than 200 percent, from 530 in 2004 to 1,179 in 2011.

For the study, experts followed 30 surrogacy families, 31 egg donation families, 35 sperm donation families and 53 natural conception families until the children were 10 years old. The researchers surveyed the moms when the children were ages 3, 7 and 10 to get an idea of how well-adjusted the youngsters were.

The most important thing, experts agree, is for parents to find a way to tell their kids about their beginnings.

                             

For Jill Wolfes kids, surrogacy seems completely natural. That, the 42-year-old Minneapolis mom says, is because she and her husband began explaining things early.

The couple struggled with infertility for more than 15 years before seeking out a surrogate to carry their child. Nine months later, Wolfe had little Eliana to hug and to hold. Two years later, Mia was added to the family.

As soon as Eliana was old enough, Wolfe began to talk about the surrogacy. This was never going to be a secret,she says. It was just part of the story, the history of what we went through to get her. From the time she was little, we told her that mommy and daddy were very lucky to have Megan [the surrogate] as their helper. We told her that she couldnt grow in mommys tummy so Megan helped.

Are parents better off leaving their kids in the dark about surrogates and donated eggs and sperm? Studies on children who werent told about surrogacy or donated gametes have so far shown theres no harm in remaining mum on the subject.

For its part, the ASRM has issued a statement on the issue: While its still up to parents to make the choice, the Society strongly encourages disclosure.

At Shared Conception, we are here to guide you with statistics, years of experience and compassion. At the end of the day, only you and your family can make these decisions, however, we are happy to help you on this journey. We are not just a surrogacy agency, after all-we seriously care.

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