Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Voices of Adult Offspring of Sperm Donation

The Voices of Adult Offspring of Sperm Donation: Forces for Change within Assisted Reproductive Technology in the United States
Patricia P. Mahlstedt, Ed.D., Kathleen LaBounty, B.A., William T. Kennedy, Ed.D.
Presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Conference, November 8-12, San Francisco


To provide an in-depth analysis of offspring attitudes toward their means of conception and the practice of sperm donation in the United States.

Materials & Methods: 

Eighty-five (85) offspring between the ages of 20 and 65 voluntarily completed a 46-item questionnaire created by the authors, which was provided through a link to an online site.


I. Attitude toward means of conception

A majority...

1. learned of their donor conception over the age of 18 in a planned conversation with their mothers
2. had little to no information on their donor
3. wanted to meet or obtain identifying information on their donors
4. referred to their donor as 'biological father'
5. had searched for their donor
6. wanted to meet half-siblings
7. would like donor's name on birth certificate

II. Attitudes toward the practice of sperm donation

A. Would you use sperm donation as a means of conception?
1. no, would not use sperm donation - 52.7%
2. yes, identity release sperm donation - 15.3%
3. yes, anonymous sperm donation - 8.3%
4. don't know

B. Would you be an egg or sperm donor?
1. no - 62.4%
2. yes - 14.4%
3. don't know - 23.2%


Though conception is the end of treatment for physicians and patients, it is the beginning of life for donor offspring.  As our respondents have communicated, they want to know the truth.  They want their parents to feel safe in their donor choice and confident in their abilities to share it with them.  

The emphasize that decisions made prior to conception concerning the choice of sperm donation impact many aspects of their future lives:

A. Their attitudes toward the donor conception itself
B. Their attitudes toward their parents
C. Their accurate identity development
D. Their abilities to make informed medical decisions throughout their lives
E. Their opinions for locating the donor if they so need or desire

The adult offspring in this study encouraged providers of third-party reproduction to:

A. View donor conception as a position option in which there is no need for anonymity or secrecy
B. Encourage the use of donors who provide identifying information for offspring future needs
C. Understand and acknowledge the importance of the donor to most offspring
D. Integrate counseling into the sperm donation treatment plan in order for potential parents to...

1. address the losses that proceed this choice
2. learn more about the lifelong challenges of having non-genetic offspring
3. create parental confidence for addressing those challenges


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! First I have to tell you that I was born and raised in Cleveland a zillion yrs ago, on the east side (small world). I don't live there anymore but have great memories of my life in Ohio (went to college in Ohio too). Anyway, I'm grateful to have found your blog because I'm a single woman who has been in line for an International adoption for almost 3 yrs. now. I never found "mister right" but really wanted to become a Mom. As each yr goes by and I get older and older and the adoption just gets further and further away (because of wait times) I've been considering sperm donation. At this point, I may be too old to even be considering this but I've started to look into it. The thing is, I really wanted to read about the children who are now adult offspring of sperm donation. It's so important, as with adoption, to read the feelings of children and adults who are the offspring of these "options" and not just think about the feelings of the parents. It's a very difficult decision and one I grapple with constantly. I wanted to thank you for putting your feelings and information out there. You are doing so many people a wonderful service and I appreciate it very much. Thank you and best wishes.

Lindsay said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for being so open-minded and trying to educate yourself as much as possible before delving into such a decision. One thing that I hope is changing in today's generation of "DI mom" is that they are weighing these decisions much more heavily and looking at the point of view of the children/adults created from these technologies to make their decision --- a generation ago that was a rare occurrence.

Many of the questions you are probably grappling with have probably been answered in several different entries under "Inquiring wanna-be moms want to know..." - if you have other questions, concerns, etc feel free to ask or email me personally (there's an email link under my profile). Information about my own story are under "personal".


PS - yay for the East side!!! ;o) Definitely a small world! hehe