Tanya - posted on 07/04/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )
1. Young adults conceived through sperm donation (or “donor
offspring”) experience profound struggles with their origins
2. Family relationships for donor offspring are more often characterized by confusion, tension, and loss.
3. Donor offspring often worry about the implications of interacting with and possibly forming intimate relationships with unknown, blood-related family members.
4. Donor offspring are more likely to have experienced divorce or multiple family transitions in their families of origin.
5. Donor offspring are significantly more likely than those raised by their biological parents to struggle with serious, negative outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse, and depression, even when controlling for socio-economic and other factors.
6. Donor offspring born to heterosexual married couples, single mothers, or lesbian couples share many similarities.
7. At the same time, there appear to be notable differences between donor offspring born to heterosexual married couples, single mothers, and lesbian couples.
8.Donor offspring broadly affirm a right to know the truth about their origins.
9 .About half of donor offspring have concerns about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even when parents tell the children the truth about their origins.
10. Openness alone does not appear to resolve the complex risks that are associated with being conceived through sperm donation.
11. While a majority of donor offspring support a right to know the truth about their origins, significant majorities also support, at least in the abstract, a strikingly libertarian approach to reproductive technologies in general.
12. Adults conceived through sperm donation are far more likely than others to become sperm or egg donors or surrogates themselves.
13. Those donor offspring who do not support the practice of donor conception are more than three times as likely to say they do not feel they can express their views in public.
Our study, released by the Commission on Parenthood's Future last week, focused on how young-adult donor offspring—and comparison samples of young adults who were raised by adoptive or biological parents—make sense of their identities and family experiences, how they approach reproductive technologies more generally, and how they are faring on key outcomes. The study of 18- to 45-year-olds includes 485 who were conceived via sperm donation, 562 adopted as infants, and 563 raised by their biological parents.
The results are surprising. While adoption is often the center of controversy, it turns out that sperm donation raises a host of different but equally complex—and sometimes troubling—issues. Two-thirds of adult donor offspring agree with the statement "My sperm donor is half of who I am." Nearly half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception. More than half say that when they see someone who resembles them, they wonder if they are related. About two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins.
Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems.
As a group, the donor offspring in our study are suffering more than those who were adopted: hurting more, feeling more confused, and feeling more isolated from their families. (And our study found that the adoptees on average are struggling more than those raised by their biological parents.) The donor offspring are more likely than the adopted to have struggled with addiction and delinquency and, similar to the adopted, a significant number have confronted depression or other mental illness. Nearly half of donor offspring, and more than half of adoptees, agree, "It is better to adopt than to use donated sperm or eggs to have a child."