Children conceived using donor sperm have similar health and well-being to the general population, according to a study published in Reproductive BioMedicineOnline.
The study of 224 Australian children aged between 5 and 11 was the largest study to date to examine the psychosocial development of school-aged children conceived using donor sperm. This was also the first study to describe health outcomes of these children.
“For prospective parents, the decision to use donor sperm can seem like a step into the unknown,” said Professor David Amor from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. “Our results should provide reassurance that the physical, psychological and mental health of children conceived using donor sperm is similar to that of children in the general population.”
The study used questionnaires with scales to measure psychosocial and mental health, healthcare needs and child development. These questionnaires were completed by the mothers of the children. The results showed that the well-being and health of the children were similar to the general Australian population.
The mothers’ health and well-being were also measured using a questionnaire with the results suggesting that these women appeared to have better physical and mental well-being than the general Australian population.
An interesting additional finding of the study was that the type of family structure (heterosexual couples, single women or lesbian couples) did not appear to impact the health or well-being of the children.