Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Advanced Search

Search for

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



Questions over information given to sperm donor children

04 September 2000

By BioNews

Appeared in BioNews 073

Two new studies, published in the journal Human Reproduction, have raised concerns over the welfare of children conceived through donor insemination (DI) who are not told of their biological origins.

A team of researchers at Surrey University in the UK found that individuals who were not told about their DI conception until they were adults faced problems of personal identity, as well as feelings of abandonment and mistrust. A second study, carried out by scientists based in Stockholm, Sweden, found that out of 148 couples who had conceived using DI, nearly 90 per cent had not yet told their children. This finding was surprising, given that Swedish law was changed in 1985, requiring DI children to be told the donor's identity 'when sufficiently mature'.

The UK scientists interviewed 16 adults, recruited through support networks, who had not discovered they were DI babies until they were adults. Many reported feeling shocked when they learned of their origins, and all had attempted to search for their donor 'fathers'. Co-author Amanda Turner acknowledges that recruiting adults through support networks may have biased the study towards participants facing identity issues, but believes the work provides insights into the experiences of donor offspring and the implications for counselling.

In the UK, DI offspring can currently obtain a limited amount of non-identifying information about the donor when they reach the age of 16. The Department of Health said it may launch a consultation document on providing more information to DI children later this year.

The Guardian | 31 August 2000
BBC News Online | 31 August 2000
The Independent | 31 August 2000
The Daily Telegraph | 31 August 2000

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust


Public Conference
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation