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
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