PG16: Examining The Genetic Link: When The Donor Conceived, Donors, Genetic Siblings And Parents Search For And Meet Each Other
Time:8:15 am - 5:00 pm
Location:Room 1 - San Diego Convention Center
Jean Benward, M.S., L.C.S.W. (Chair), Offices of Jean Benward
Marilyn A. Crawshaw, B.Sc., Ph.D., University of York
Alice H. Ruby, M.P.H., M.P.P.M., The Sperm Bank of California
Joanna E. Scheib, Ph.D., University of California
Developed in Cooperation with the Mental Health Professional Group
Interpersonal and communication skills
NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND COURSE DESCRIPTION
Participation in gamete donation has thrust a host of complex issues upon those involved: donors, intended parents, the donor-conceived and providers. While research has focused on disclosure and psychosocial outcomes in families formed by gamete donation, less attention has been given to the motivations and experiences of participants, including donors, parents and donor-conceived individuals, who wish to make contact with each other after conception. Mental health professionals have been hampered in their response to participants’ queries by the lack of research data and their own uncertainties about the ethics of contact.
The past fifteen years have seen a trend toward more openness in gamete donation, which has included a growing number of programs with open-identity donors. While non-anonymous donation is not the norm in the United States, contact among gamete-donation participants is becoming more common. This includes contact between open-identity donors and their adult offspring, contact among families who share the same donor, unplanned retroactive contact between donor-conceived adults and their formerly anonymous donors, and the use of the Internet for communication among participants. Such varied forms of contact now occur frequently enough that it behooves us to understand the policy and ethical and psychosocial implications of gamete-donation participants seeking contact with each other after conception.
This live course will increase participants’ understanding of the varied meanings of genetic links for the donor-conceived, donors, and their respective families, and will assist mental health professional who work with participants in gamete donation in developing protocols for counseling both pre and post conception. Current research data about the motives, beliefs and concerns of those who are interested in contact to mental health will be presented.
At the conclusion of this course, participants should be able to:
- Discuss the meaning of the genetic link for participants in gamete donation who seek contact.
- Describe the dilemmas posed by contact among the donor-conceived, their parents, donors and genetic siblings.
- Summarize current research knowledge about those who seek contact.
- Identify key components in counseling participants in gamete donation about future contact.