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Examining differences in psychological adjustment problems among children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 21:47 authored by Katherine H Shelton, Jacky Boivin, Dale Hay, Marianne B M van den Bree, Frances J Rice, Gordon Harold, Anita Thapar
The aim of this study was to examine whether there was variation in levels of psychological adjustment among children conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technologies using the parents' gametes (homologous), sperm donation, egg donation, embryo donation and surrogacy. Information was provided by parents about the psychological functioning of 769 children aged 5 to 9 years who had been born using ART (from the five groups described). Comparisons were made between the different conception groups, to UK national norms and, for a sub-sample of multiple births, to an age-matched twin sample. No differences were found between the conception groups except that fathers from the egg donation group rated children higher in conduct problems compared to other ART groups. No effects were observed by ART treatment type (ICSI vs. IVF, GIFT and IUI). There was some evidence of lower conduct problems and prosocial behaviour among children conceived through homologous IVF compared to national norms. Taken together, however, consistent differences between groups and in comparison to naturally conceived children were not apparent for mother- or father-rated adjustment problems. Children conceived with assisted reproductive technologies, regardless of whether they are genetically related or unrelated to their parents or born by gestational surrogacy do not differ in their levels of psychological adjustment. Nor do they appear to be at greater risk of psychological adjustment problems in middle childhood compared to naturally conceived children. © 2009 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.


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  • Published


International Journal of Behavioral Development




SAGE Publications Ltd





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  • Psychology Publications

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