ART children doing fine
Dr Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust
25 March 2002
A follow-up study of 400 families from across Europe who used assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs) to have their children shows that being created by an 'artificial' method of conception does not have a negative effect on children, as compared with children from families created either naturally or by adoption.
The families involved in the study came from Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, and were previously studied when the children were between four and eight years old. The children who took part in this follow-up study were aged 11-12 years. Of the 400 families taking part in the latest study, 102 had a child conceived using in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), 94 had used donated sperm (DI), 102 were adoptive families, and 102 were families with naturally conceived children.
The study, undertaken by a team led by Professor Susan Golombok, of City University in London, showed that the families who had used ARTs were stable, and that there was a high level of warmth between the parents and their children. The children were functioning well, and did not seem to differ psychologically from the adopted or naturally conceived children. If anything, any differences between the family types showed that ART families were generally functioning slightly better.
Golombok says that the study suggests that the absence of a genetic link between father and child does not preclude a good relationship between them, and that there is no functional difference between donor and IVF families. She said the 'results might be considered surprising, especially because psychologists tend to predict negative outcomes'. However, it was noted that only 8.6 per cent of the children conceived using donor sperm had been told of this fact. Fifty per cent of the IVF children and 95 per cent of the adopted children had been told of their origins. Nevertheless, the findings of this study appear to be comparable to results of the earlier study, and suggest that having a child by 'artificial methods' does not have a negative effect on the child or the family.
© Copyright Progress Educational Trust
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.
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