ART - Talking to Children About Assisted Reproductive Technology

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Potential Pitfalls

Experts say that one of the biggest mistakes parents make is not resolving their own feelings about infertility. Unresolved grief or shame can undermine family relationships in unexpected ways. Psychotherapy, especially with a therapist who is familiar with infertility and assisted reproductive technology, can be very helpful in dealing with these issues both before and after your child is born.

Annette Baran, MSWAnnette Baran, MSW, is a social worker and psychotherapist in Los Angeles who has written extensively about adoption, assisted reproduction, and their effects on families. She says that it's critical for parents to examine their feelings about how becoming involved in ART affects how they view themselves. Here, she focuses on couples that used sperm donation.

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Hilary Hanafin, Ph.D.Similar feelings occur in couples who use donated eggs or surrogate uteruses, according to Hilary Hanafin, Ph.D., the chief psychologist at the Center for Surrogate Parenting in Los Angeles.

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Elaine Gordon, Ph.D.Elaine Gordon, Ph.D., a psychologist in southern California who specializes in issues related to infertility, has noticed the same patterns.

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"And he felt like a fraud through the whole pregnancy. And particularly when everybody was congratulating him that his wife was pregnant. And then finally when he was handing out cigars and it wasn't his child. And it continued and upset the family system incredibly." — Annette Baran, MSW


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