children demonstrated slightly higher levels of adjustment difficulties at seven
years old, although they remained well within normal limits for that age.
authors suggest that 'the absence of a gestational connection to the mother may
be more problematic for children than the absence of a genetic link'.
study was led by Professor Susan Golombok, director of the Centre for Family
Research at the University of Cambridge. Her team followed 30 families
who used surrogacy, 31 egg donation families, 35 donor insemination families
and 53 families who conceived naturally to assess the effects of reproductive
donation on children's emotional wellbeing.
researchers looked at how the children behaved at three, seven, and ten years
old, as assessed by their mothers and teachers. At all ages, children born with
the help of reproductive donation showed adjustment levels in the normal range.
'Signs of adjustment problems could
be behaviour problems, such as aggressive or antisocial behaviour, or emotional
problems, such as anxiety or depression', Professor Golombok told NBC Today.
Such problems can arise in some
adopted children, and Professor Golombok wanted to assess children born through
reproductive donation as these children also miss a gestational or genetic link
to their parents.
seven years old, the children born with the help of a surrogate showed slightly
higher levels of adjustment difficulties. All 30 surrogate-born children had
been told about their origins by this age, compared to only one in three of the donor-conceived
children. Those children who had
been told by age seven showed slightly elevated adjustment difficulties, an
the results are not definitive; each of the four study groups has a
relatively small number of children and the differences between groups were
Golombok told NBC Today that her team 'hope to revisit the children next
year when they are 14 years old, as issues to do with identity become important
The research was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.