Kramer; Offspring searching for their sperm donors: Online questionnaires were completed by DI offspring, of whom Respondents were recruited via the Donor Sibling Registry, a non-profit US-based international registry that facilitates communication between donor-conceived offspring and their non-biological and biological relatives.
Data were collected on family composition, offspring's feelings regarding the method of their conception, communication within families, donor anonymity and their search for their donors.
Donors looking offspring sperm Offspring of lesbian parents learned of their DI origins at earlier ages than offspring of heterosexual parents. In the latter families, disclosure tended to occur earlier in single-parent than in dual-parent families. Disclosure was most likely to be confusing to offspring of heterosexual parents, particularly when it occurred at an older age.
The vast majority of offspring in all types of families desired contact with their donor; however, comfort in expressing curiosity regarding one's donor was lowest in dual-parent heterosexual families, with about one-quarter reporting an inability to discuss their origins with their social father.
Although the findings are not based on a random sample, the desire among Donors looking offspring sperm surveyed here is for greater openness and contact with their donor. A variety of strategies are needed for offspring of heterosexual couples to benefit optimally from the general trend toward openness in gamete donation. Although a transnational trend toward reversing decades of institutionalized secrecy regarding donor insemination DI is well under way, the issue remains controversial Blyth and Frith, ; Cahn, ab ; Janssens, Supporters of both donor anonymity and openness argue that their positions support the needs and interests not only of donors and parents, but also of donor offspring.
Yet until recently it has been difficult to locate large numbers of offspring who were aware of their conception in order to assess their views. Here we present findings from the Donors looking offspring sperm survey conducted to date of DI offspring. Traditionally, with donor insemination, practiced in Europe since the early 19th century, and in the Donors looking offspring sperm sinceneither the nature of the conception nor the identity of the donor has been conveyed to the offspring Corea, As this practice grew during the 20th century, particularly with the emergence of commercial sperm banks, donor anonymity became institutionalized in most western countries.
Although the absence of reporting requirements precludes accurate accounting, a more recent estimate is 60 DI births per year Cahn, b.
Furthermore, numerous studies reviewed by Brewaeys and Kirkman have reported that Donors looking offspring sperm vast majority of parents using DI had not informed their children of their DI origins and did not intend to do so. This pervasive lack of disclosure has made it difficult, if not impossible, to measure or assess the meaning of DI for those most profoundly affected by it, the offspring. The stigma of male infertility and questions about the moral and legal status of DI were major concerns initially driving the perceived need for secrecy Asche, ; Daniels and Taylor, ; Snowden,Rumball and Adair, ; Daniels and Golden, ; Cahn, b.
Parents who decline to tell their child of their donor conception have reported doing so to protect themselves and their children from being viewed negatively by others Nachtigall et al.
This debate has resulted in legislative and policy changes in several countries. Sweden passed legislation in giving donor offspring the right to receive their donor's identifying information Donors looking offspring sperm, Since then, other countries including Austria, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the UK as well as some Australian states, have prohibited anonymous gamete donation, Donors looking offspring sperm systems to assist people in discovering their donor's identity Blyth and Frith, While these policy changes seem to indicate a trend away from anonymous donation, the practice continues to be protected in many jurisdictions Blyth and Frith, Evidence that parental attitudes are moving, albeit slowly, in the direction of greater openness was found by Gottlieb et al.
Moreover, Scheib et al. Similar changes were noted by Brewaeys et al. This was a marked increase for each group from 8 years earlier. Both single-parent families and lesbian couples have been found in several studies to be more willing than heterosexual couples to tell their children about their conception and to seek more information about the donor Leiblum et al.
As the above-cited studies indicate, there is mounting evidence that changing family structures, particularly the growth of single-parent heterosexual and single and dual-parent lesbian families, are a strong factor in normalizing sperm donation and openness within the family on the topic.
While that study sample was self-selected, it is noteworthy that lone mothers and lesbian-couple parents far outnumbered heterosexual-couple parents among those searching for donors and donor siblings. Only recently have a small number of studies emerged that examine Donors looking offspring sperm experiences of DI offspring themselves. Reporting on respondents ages 13 and older, Jadva et al. They also found fewer negative experiences among those informed at an earlier age. In a separate article using the same data set, Jadva et al.
Their main reasons for searching were curiosity and to better understand their genetic identity. The evidence regarding the relationship between family type and desire to contact the donor is inconsistent, however Jadva et al. Yet, a study of 29 DI offspring conducted by Scheib et al.
In other words, among adolescent offspring of open-identity sperm donors, they found that youths from households headed by single women were more interested in contacting donors than were those from households headed by lesbian couples.
The goal of this study is to address these mixed findings of current research on DI offspring. Given that DI offspring are a hard-to-study group, small samples have limited past research.
This study is the largest-scale examination of offspring perspectives to date. It is an analysis of data from two surveys conducted by the Donor Sibling Registry DSRfocusing on offspring's own experiences and attitudes regarding donor conception.
It differs from the studies of Jadva et al. This is a secondary analysis of data collected in two simultaneous surveys of oocyte and sperm donor offspring Donors looking offspring sperm by the DSR over a week period October to January At that time the DSR had a total of more than 26 on-line registrants, most of whom approximately 15 identify themselves as parents of donor-conceived children.
Exact numbers of registrant offspring are unknown since subscribers do not always provide this information, but at least are known to be donor-conceived offspring over the age of Furthermore, as indicated above, many if not most donor-conceived offspring especially those born to heterosexual parents are not told that they were conceived using donor gametes.
In any case, it is impossible to calculate a response rate for these surveys even among donor offspring with knowledge of their conception; therefore it must be assumed that these respondents are not necessarily representative of the total population. In spite of these significant limitations, the two sets of survey findings together offer valuable information on the perspectives of the largest portion of this understudied population ever reported.
The survey instruments were designed and data were collected by the DSR under the direction of the third author in an effort Donors looking offspring sperm better serve the organization's membership and without government or other institutional funding.
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At that time, the research questions addressed in the current study had not Donors looking offspring sperm developed, nor anticipated.
Rather, question design was guided by previously published DSR surveys and by the third author's extensive experience working with donor families. Data were collected using two on-line questionnaires administered via Survey Monkeya web-based survey software website: Both surveys consisted of similar multiple choice and open-ended questions designed to produce both quantitative and qualitative data.
Both surveys included items on the offspring's family makeup, communication about the method of conception, knowledge and feelings about being donor conceived, efforts to contact donors and other biological relatives, consequences of such efforts and attitudes toward donor anonymity and donor conception. Links to the surveys were posted on the DSR website inviting donor-conceived members all of whom are over 18 to complete the survey on-line.
A few days after the initial online invitation, DSR parents Donors looking offspring sperm sent an email inviting them to encourage their DI-offspring to participate in the study.
In addition, cover letters to parents with invitations to participate and a link to the questionnaire were sent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered LGBT groups, to other unspecified individuals, as well as to list-serves that might include family members of donor-conceived offspring.
The first and second authors were asked by the DSR to analyze the anonymized secondary data after it was collected. We applied to the California State University IRB for approval to conduct the analysis, and after providing assurances that confidentiality of all participants would be Donors looking offspring sperm protected, we were granted IRB approval in the form of an exemption. A total of offspring responded. Due to their small number, offspring conceived via oocyte donation 18 were excluded from our analyses.
Our final sample consisted of offspring of sperm donors: Respondents live in the USA The age distribution of the respondents ranges from age 9 to over Of the respondents who indicated their age, A much larger proportion of respondents from lesbian families cluster in younger age categories than respondents from heterosexual families. Since this study uses a non-probability sample, the analyses are exploratory and our findings are necessarily limited to descriptive rather than inferential statistics.
Formal validity tests were not conducted. However, responses to each open-ended question, which served Donors looking offspring sperm a follow-up to a given closed-ended questions, were coded for common patterns and there was consistency among responses across closed-ended items as well as between the closed-ended and the open-ended follow-up comments.
Typical comments are included in the findings section to expand on and enrich our understanding of the quantitative responses.
We exclude current age because it is strongly associated Donors looking offspring sperm age told and therefore confounds any further analysis of Donors looking offspring sperm impact of this variable. Offspring of OHETs were as likely to describe their families as single parent Disclosure patterns differed between heterosexual and lesbian parents. By age 10, these figures change to Family type was linked to the age at which OHETs learned that they were donor conceived. All of the OLSBs reported that they had been told of their DI origins by one or both of their mothers, except one, who was told by a family friend.
There were 11 others who used the comment option to describe more complex disclosure processes such as overhearing conversations or figuring it out themselves, sometimes with the help of blood tests or DNA testing.
Written comments also provide insight into patterns of disclosure in families with social fathers. There were 14 OHETs from two-parent families who indicated that their social fathers were unaware that they Donors looking offspring sperm of their donor conception.
Some of these respondents indicated that they withheld their knowledge to protect their social father, as in the following examples: My parents … agreed never to tell anyone.
My mother told me after they divorced. I'm not sure of her reasoning, but I never told my father I knew. It would have felt like a betrayal to me.
We're still debating over Donors looking offspring sperm our relationship would change with Dad if he knew we knew. I do not want my dad to know that I know because I don't want him to be upset or think it changes anything. Respondents were asked to indicate their feelings upon learning they were donor conceived and at the time they responded to the survey. Among respondents who indicated that they felt different, OLSBs in dual-parent families were the least likely group to feel this way.
It's an unconventional way to be born, but I'm happy knowing I was so wanted'.
Feelings of confusion are further associated with relationship status single- or dual-parent family. Of those who reported feeling confused, the largest percentage were in dual-parent heterosexual households Feelings about DI changed over time for many respondents. No respondents reported feeling confused currently who had not also done so initially. Written comments provide additional insight into the change in feelings. The age respondents learned of the method of their conception had a bearing on whether they felt confused upon learning this news see Fig.
Of those who said they had always known, 8. On the Web site, parents can register the birth of a child and find half siblings by looking up a number assigned to a sperm donor.
Many parents. The midsummer reunion in a suburb west of the city looks like any Donors looking offspring sperm, That has raised fears that the offspring of prolific donors could meet. AbstractBACKGROUND.