Psychological effects of sperm and egg donations

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, discusses some of the psychological issues that arise in third party egg or sperm donations and how to overcome those challenges
Psychological Effects of Sperm and Egg Donations
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Psychological effects of sperm and egg donations

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Some of the psychological issues in third party donation; whether it's egg or sperm, or even surrogacy, really has to do with: Will this baby bond with me if I love the baby? Will other people see me as a parent of the baby? How will I feel down the line? Does my partner have a greater tie to the baby because they are genetically related to the baby, and I'm not. All of these are very typical concerns when you use a third party. The goal is to really embrace the fact that you are the parent. It's very, very important for every parent to do that, whether they are genetically related to the child or not. A child is going to bond with and connect with whoever loves them and cares for them. They are not as invested in the genetics as the parents usually are.

Fertility Specialist Elaine Gordon, PhD, discusses some of the psychological issues that arise in third party egg or sperm donations and how to overcome those challenges

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Elaine Gordon, PhD

Fertility Specialist

Elaine Gordon is a Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in infertility, child development, reproductive medicine, and third party family building.  Besides her role as a therapist and group facilitator working with patients struggling with infertility related issues, she lectures on various topics surrounding the psychological and ethical issues of contemporary family building. Dr. Gordon is the author of Mommy, Did I grow in your Tummy? Where Many Babies Come From a children’s book dedicated to explaining a child’s unique reproductive beginnings whether it be IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy or adoption.

Her professional associations include The American Psychological Association, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The American Fertility Association. She has served, as the educational chair for the Psychological Special Interest Group of the ASRM, is a member of the educational committee of ASRM.  She has served on various committees regarding many aspects of reproductive medicine. Dr. Gordon’s clinical work involves individual therapy, group process for couples and individuals, staff training for programs involved in reproductive medicine and third party screening and evaluations for all participants.

Dr. Gordon is well versed in both the medical and psychological aspects of reproductive medicine utilizing third parties. Her involvement in egg donation and surrogacy programs has stimulated an interest in the issues surrounding secrecy and disclosure in third party parenting. Related to the disclosure/nondisclosure issue is the need to assess the advantages and disadvantages of open versus closed donation policies. She lectures on disclosure policies and how you talk to children about non-traditional family building with the focus being the best interest of the child. 

Throughout her career as a psychologist she has become increasingly concerned about the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in growing field of reproductive medicine. She has co-authored a chapter entitled "Legal and Ethical Aspects of Infertility Counseling" in the textbook Infertility Counseling: A Comprehensive Handbook for Clinicians. Dr. Gordon is currently involved in several research projects investigating the psychological implication of using egg and or sperm donation as a means of building families. She continues to work with other professionals in establishing a ‘standard of care” policy for the infertility patient and third party participants.

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