Telling kids about their reproductive beginnings

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Telling kids about their reproductive beginnings

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The conventional wisdom is that children have a right to know about their reproductive beginnings. When we do this, or we don't tell them, and they find out when they are in preadolescence or adolescence; there really is an element of feeling betrayed by their parents. They don't understand why they weren't told. Why the big secret? What the big deal was about the secret? It's not that they don't love their parents and are connected with their parents, but there is a sense of; can I really trust my parents? We really encourage parents to tell children early, about their reproductive beginnings; just so it's no big deal. It's to normalize that they were born, just like everybody else, with an egg and a sperm and in a womb. Therefore, you're telling them that there is nothing wrong with being a product of a sperm donation and egg donation or surrogacy arrangement.

Watch Elaine Gordon, PhD's video on Telling kids about their reproductive beginnings...

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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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