Donor Conceived Person

donor conception support group

Donor Sibling Registry

A donor offspring, or donor conceived person, is conceived via the donation of sperm (sperm donation) or ova (egg donation), or both, either from two separate donors or from a couple. In the case of embryo donation, the conceiving parents are a couple.

Donor conceived people may never learn of their true birth origins as information about their true biological parent(s) is not recorded on the birth certificate. This is compounded by the fact that only a small proportion (av. 10%) of donor conceived people will ever be informed of the nature of their conception by the recipient parent(s).

Donor conceived people may have many half siblings as a result of the same person’s donations. With the significant increase in the numbers of donor-conceived individuals, many have questioned the ‘ethics’ surrounding the technologies and human decisions surrounding donor conception. For example, the term ‘Snowflake baby’ was coined in reference to unused frozen embryos (left over from other couples’ attempts to conceive through in vitro fertilization) that have been ‘adopted’ by families (Pro-life advocates tend to support such adoptions).

The psychological and social impacts of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) on donor-conceived children and their families has gained a great deal of interest in recent years as this population has continued to grow. An increasing number of family-support organizations strongly encourage parents to openly discuss their children’s origins. For some sperm or egg recipients, the choice between anonymous sperm or egg donor and a non-anonymous one is not of major importance. However, for donor conceived children, not having the possibility of contacting and knowing almost nothing about the biological father or mother may be devastating.

There are donor sibling registries matching genetic siblings and donors. They are mostly used by donor conceived people to find genetic half-siblings from the same egg- or sperm donor. However, even sperm donors who have not initiated contact through a registry are now increasingly being traced by their offspring. In the current era there can be no such thing as guaranteed anonymity. Through the advent of DNA testing and internet access to extensive databases of information, one sperm donor has recently been traced.

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