CSP Comments on the British Research of Families of Third Party Reproduction
By Hilary Hanafin, Ph.D., Chief Counselor at the Center for Surrogate Parenting
The Center for Surrogate Parenting and its mental health team respectively anticipates the ongoing research from the British team of psychologists conducting long-term research on families of third party reproduction (egg donor, sperm donor, surrogates). Susan Golombok, Vasanti Jadva and their colleagues have recently published their latest finding on such families in Britain. The study concluded that the children at age ten did not differ from children who were conceived without the help of egg donor, sperm donor or surrogate. It also found that the children as a group were all within normal limits; i.e., were typical families. Golombok did report that mothers who have shared the child’s birth story with their child were less anxious than mothers who had not revealed the unique beginnings. Of particular note was that 100% of the 30 surrogate families had revealed to their children that they were born with the help of a surrogate mother.
The study does reveal an increase in the adjustment/stress of the seven year olds born of surrogate mothers, albeit the level is within normal limits. The researchers suggest that perhaps the stress is based on their knowledge of the surrogate and their developmental ability to understand that another woman carried them. The three-year old group and the ten year old group did not show this difference in adjustment. It is hard to know if the mothers who choose surrogacy to have a family are indeed different than the other mothers.
The Center for Surrogate Parenting has cared for families for 33 years with the understanding that the child will know his or her unique beginning. In CSP’s experience, teenagers and adult children report being comfortable with their story. It is a benefit for all the children, including the surrogate’s own children, to create stories that are respectful, kind, and have integrity. In third party reproduction, the best interest of children should be the guide. Golombok’s study reveals what CSP has seen for more than a generation. Children born of surrogacy will know, so take the time and seek the guidance to create a warm positive story for the children. CSP values working with a team of mental health professionals that are available to the families from first phone call to the next generation.