Saturday, November 3, 2012

Deciding to Inform Off-Spring of Donor Conception

Should I tell my child that they were conceived through IVF with the help of an Egg Donor? Will they be upset that we don't share DNA? Is it essential for my child's future health to have access to their Egg Donor's medical files? Will my family think differently of my child if they know they were donor-conceived? These are all questions that could potentially run through the minds of parent's who conceived a child through IVF, with the help of an Egg Donor. The debate on whether or not to tell the donor-conceived child the origin of part of their DNA is a hotly debated issue, and a very important one. Some key points in this debates are whether or not the child needs to know this information for future health reasons, whether or not it is fair and psychologically healthy to keep this information from the child, and whether or not the child should be allowed to have access to the identity of their Egg Donor.
It is important for all humans to know if they are potentially at risk for certain health problems. This information can give them the chance to take precautionary measures in their life to help prevent the onset of these health issues. For example, if an Egg Donor's mother had heart disease the donor-conceived child would have an increased risk of heart disease in their future. If the donor-conceived child was aware of this information they could make sure to have regular check-ups, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. It is possibly for the child to learn the medical history of their Egg Donor without the Donor's identity being revealed.
Humans have a fundamental interest in knowing their biological origins. It is natural for a child to want to know what DNA they came from. If parent's decide to disclose the use of an Egg Donor to their donor-conceived child they can give a physical description of the donor, such as eye color, hair color, body type, height, ethnicity, etc., without disclosing the donor's actual identity. It is every parent's choice whether or not to disclose this information to their child but keeping a secret this large could potentially cause great strain on family relationships. Studies have shown that most children who know they were donor-conceived are very well adjusted and that it is best to have this talk with children as soon as they're old enough to understand.
Although some donor-conceived children and their parent's may have the desire to meet their Egg Donor it is not their choice alone. The Egg Donor must be comfortable and willing to meet the family. There are some cases where the donor legally agrees before donation to have her identity known to the Intended Parent's and possible children conceived through the donation, but most donations are anonymous. Egg Donor's have the desire to help Intended Parent's fulfill their dream of becoming parent's but most feel uncomfortable having their identities known. If all donors were required to let their identities be known to Intended Parent's, and the possible children that could result from the donation, there would more than likely be large drop in the number of Egg Donors. Intended Parent's should think about whether or not they will want to know the identity of their Egg Donor, and whether or not they will want their donor-conceived child to have access to this information, before they enter into a legal contract with a donor.
The decision of whether or not to inform donor-conceived children of their biological origins is a big decision that should be well thought out. Every parent will have their own opinion on what information they should disclose to their children. Above all else parents should keep the well being of their children and the legal right's and privacy of their Egg Donor in mind.