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Sister-to-sister oocyte donation: couples’ experiences with regard to genetic ties

  • Wyverkens, Elia
  • Van Parys, Hanna
  • Provoost, Veerle
  • Pennings, Guido
  • De Sutter, Petra
  • Buysse, Ann
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2016
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Objective: This study aimed to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of genetic ties in intrafamily oocyte donation families. Background: Previous research has shown that most mothers have a good and stable relationship with their donor. Little is known about the meaning of the difference in genetic ties for parents who conceived through sister-to-sister oocyte donation. Methods: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was performed and focused on both individual experiences and couple experiences with regard to genetic ties. Ten participants were recruited via an infertility clinic and took part in semistructured couple interviews. Results: Our analysis revealed that the donation was seen as a way to equal genetic parenthood. Participants struggled with this prevailing ideal of genetic parenthood and questioned the legitimacy of their motherhood. Several dynamics were identified when couples tried to deal with the imbalance in genetic ties: they acknowledged each other, convinced one another, or pushed away the difference in genetic ties. Couples also managed the presence of a genetic tie with the donor by negotiating the closeness in their family relationships. Conclusion: The lack of a full genetic tie remained a meaningful absence for some mothers and the way couples dealt with this varied. We plead that the option of post-donation care should be offered to support couples with the complexities they try to deal with.

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