Spanish Gamete Recipients
Spain has a strong culture of family life. Family relationships are often close and people grow up aspiring to have children of their own. So, if a couple finds that they are infertile and may need the assistance of a gamete donor to have children, this can be deeply troubling. Their hopes and expectations of having ‘their own’ children may crumble and their feelings of esteem and personal worth can be jeopardized. Many feel deeply frustrated and find this to be one of the most challenging situations they face in life. Moreover, in our country there is little understanding of what conception byassisted reproduction techniques (ARTs) is, and even less knowledge of gamete donation, which can make the experience even more difficult for prospective parents.
In Europe, the majority of prospective parents still choose secrecy when it comes to conception after gamete donation.
The law in Spain does not say anything about the obligation of parents to tell children born from donated gametes of their origin. No studies have been carried out in our country on how third party reproduction patients feel about disclosure.
In the past decade a debate has arisen about whether or not to tell the donor gamete child, and whether to tell family and friends. This debate was initiated by mental health professionals working in adoption who applied the “open” adoption model to the donor gamete situation. This position is held in the absence of data regarding donor gamete recipients’ attitudes regarding disclosure, without an appreciation for the need of a neutral position by a mental health professional, and with a lack of studies addressing the impact of disclosure or non-disclosure on child development.
The role of the mental health professional in counseling prospective donor gamete parents is to maintain a neutral stance with patients in order to facilitate their exploration of the pros and cons of an action, rather than giving direct advice or recommendations. With this in mind, an examination of the factors will be done to clear up these issues.
Diana Guerra is Psychologist. She started working in the first Unity of Drug Addicts of Barcelona, in Hospital del Mar in 1981. She started as scholarship and undertook her Master’s thesis on Neuropsychology of drugs addicts. In 1983-1984 she undertook her PhD dissertation on expectations towards drugs consume in Chapel Hill University, which she completed in 1987 with ‘cum laude’.
Between 1993 and 2003 she worked as clinical psychologist in Reproductive Medicine Service of Institut University Dexeus. In addition, in 1997, she founded the Association of Support to Fertility “Genera”, which aims to give informative and psychologist support to sterile and infertile patients. In 1998, she published a book for patients with difficulties to conceive. Nowadays, since 2006 she is in charge of the Psychologist Unit of Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad (IVI) in Barcelona.