Oocyte Donation Disclosure Decisions: A Longitudinal Follow-Up at Middle Childhood

Few studies have captured oocyte donation (OD) parents’ decision processes about intended and actual disclosure over time. Likewise, OD children’s perceptions about their family composition during middle childhood is underexplored. To address these gaps, a longitudinally followed cohort of OD recipient families was invited to participate in a qualitative, follow-up study. With an 86% response rate after 12 years, families were comprised of oocyte recipient mothers (n = 6) and biological fathers (n = 6) representing 12 donor-oocyte conceived children (M = 10.33 years). Of the 12 children, two that were aware and two that were unaware of their conceptual origins completed conversational interviews. Only one family in the initial cohort disclosed OD to their children by the 12-year follow-up, despite 43% of parents intending to disclose and another 43% undecided about disclosure during pregnancy. Four parental disclosure patterns emerged at 12 years: Wanting to Disclose, Conflicted about Disclosure, Not Planning to Disclose, and Having Disclosed. Children that were unaware of their conceptual origins displayed no knowledge of their method of conception. There is a need for family-centric interventions to assist Wanting to Disclose parents in their disclosure process and Conflicted about Disclosure parents in their decision-making process post-OD treatment.