The Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right

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

and identities.

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."


Christa - posted on 07/04/2010




I understand why people do this, but I personally think that a child is meant to be conceived out of a loving relationship, by a man and a women who are ready to bring a child into the world. There is a reason for this and I think this study proves that. It's too bad. .

Sharon - posted on 07/05/2010




Oh that study should encompass adopted children too.

I don't see anyone in a rush to knock that one down.

Sharon - posted on 07/05/2010




I know one person conceived via sperm donation. LMFAO.

She has none of those issues. She knows the genetic make up of her sperm donor father and intends to have genetic testing for herself and future husband when she is/was ready to have kids... at that time both will be DNA'd to make sure she isn't having sex with her "brother."

The only thing she isn't sure of if she'll be able to stay married to her "brother" if that should prove out.

The worry and bullshit the "study" projects, lmfao... what about all those bastard kids out there? Mommy doesn't know who my daddy is, my dadddy lied about his name? REALLY? Those situations real and no one ever did a study on those kids.

Tanya - posted on 07/04/2010




"Donor offspring often worry about the implications of interacting with and possibly forming intimate relationships with unknown, blood-related family members"

I can't blame them. What a horrible thing to have to carry around with you

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[deleted account]

My hubby and I always agreed that if one of us had fertility issues we would adopt because for example we could not use someone elses sperm and not my hubby's with my egg.

I think this is a really difficult situation because the parents just want their own child and I know as somebody who seriously considered adoption (we were told we could not have kids) that it is a worry whether you will love this adopted child like your own - although you do tell yourself you would would you really? Maybe the option of carrying the baby for nine months would make this seem like the better option. I think that as long as families are open about it (like they are with adoption now) there will be less negative feelings about it from the child. I do agree with some of the other posts some children have no mom and dad due to one night stands or them just walking out before baby was born etc these children feel the same negativity as sperm donor kids.

Sharon - posted on 07/06/2010




Well if the study is bragging to encompass adopted kids, its complete shit.

I know two - close personal friends who are adopted. One was adopted by extended family the other came from an actual american orphanage situation.

Neither wants to know about their biological family beyond medical issues. both know the bare bones about why they were put up for adoption and both have good/great relationships with their adoptive parents.

WTF is with these stupid "studies"?? Do they recruit their subjects from mental health institutions?

I saw one once that claimed mixed racial kids suffered from identity crises. BAWAHAHAHAHA my brother & I are mixed racial and I'll bet not one person who knows us would think to claim we have self identity issues.

I don't believe these studies at all. More and more I believe these crap ass studies are done by morons looking for a particular outcome.

Jenny - posted on 07/05/2010




I do agree with you up to here Christa "I understand why people do this, but I personally think that a child is meant to be conceived out of a loving relationship," I think that is what we should ALL aim for and plan B should always be adoption. I do understand the desire and drive to want a biological baby but I wish people would put more stock in adoption before going the artificial route. I would never want to make laws to restrict a person's access to forming a family in whatever way they fit though. I just wish more would choose to spread the love and provide families for those already here first.

Tanya - posted on 07/05/2010




It does care rates to adopted children. It is a very long study I didn't want to post a book.

[deleted account]

All of the things they are feeling is of absolutely no surprise to me! On the same note, there are probably plenty of ppl whose Dad made a grip of kids that they go around wondering the same thing! I also think that most kids who grow up not sure who their other parent is often think "is that him" when they see someone who looks like them...

I kinda agree w/Christina about the circumstances of their childhood weighing more on how they are as adults...anybody ever stop to think that maybe having to go through NOT having children the "natural" way (as a couple) that having to turn down the road of sperm donation could be such a hard blow!!! It would be difficult for any couple to deal w/no kids, then all the trouble to make a child and it isn't even biologically yours??? I'd be curious to see what he thought over soemthing like that...

C. - posted on 07/04/2010




I don't think it's necessarily to do with being a sperm-donor child.. I think it's lack of both parents being there to help form those bonds and to make them feel a part of the family more..

Katherine - posted on 07/04/2010




I just actually read that study and some others. Quite a dilemma. It's really too bad people aren't more willing to adopt, but the again they have that right.
So what's the solution?

Meghan - posted on 07/04/2010




what is the difference between sperm donors and father's or mother's that walk out on their kids? I know a lot of people hate for example a father being called a sperm donor, but there are cases where technically that`s what the man does-regardless of it being a one nite stand or a 5 year relationship
I personally don't think I would ever use a sperm donor...but I can understand a woman's need to carry her own child over adopting someone elses. I am all for adoption, don't get me wrong...but there is nothing like carrying a life inside of you and watching a little piece of YOURSELF grow into a little person.

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