Children born through reproductive donation: A longitudinal study of psychological adjustment

Susan Golombok*, Lucy Blake, Polly Casey, Gabriela Roman, Vasanti Jadva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Parenting and children's adjustment were examined in 30 surrogacy families, 31 egg donation families, 35 donor insemination families, and 53 natural conception families. Methods: Parenting was assessed at age 3 by a standardized interview designed to assess quality of parenting and by questionnaire measures of anxiety, depression, and marital quality. Children's adjustment was assessed at ages 3, 7, and 10 using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results: Although children born through reproductive donation obtained SDQ scores within the normal range, surrogacy children showed higher levels of adjustment difficulties at age 7 than children conceived by gamete donation. Mothers who had kept their child's origins secret showed elevated levels of distress. However, maternal distress had a more negative impact on children who were aware of their origins. Conclusions: The absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be more problematic for children than the absence of a genetic link.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • egg donation
  • parenting
  • psychological adjustment
  • Surrogacy


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