Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Embryo donation families : mothers' decisions regarding disclosure of donor conception

By Fiona MacCallum and Susan Golombok


BACKGROUND: Previous data suggest that parents who adopt a child tend to support full disclosure while donor conception families prefer to keep the method of conception relatively private. It is not known whether parents in embryo donation families will tend towards the adoption model, therefore, we studied families with a child conceived using donated embryos. \ud METHODS: A total of 21 embryo donation families with a child aged 2–5 years were recruited through UK fertility clinics. Mothers were administered a standardized semi-structured interview, obtaining data on the extent of their disclosure to children and other family members and their reasons for this decision. \ud RESULTS: At the time of interview, 9% of mothers had told their child how they had conceived; 24% of mothers reported that they were planning to tell the child in future; 43% had decided that they would never tell the child, and the remaining 24% were undecided. However, nearly three-quarter of mothers (72%) had disclosed to other family members. Maternal grandparents were more likely to have been told than paternal grandparents (P < 0.025). Reasons cited for non-disclosure to the child included the desire to protect the child, the belief that disclosure is unnecessary, and the concern that family relationships would be damaged. Reasons in favour of disclosure included the desire to avoid accidental disclosure and the belief that the child has the right to know. \ud CONCLUSIONS: Embryo donation mothers were similar to parents of donor insemination and oocyte donation children in their attitudes towards disclosure of donor conception. \ud \u

Topics: BF
Publisher: Oxford University Press
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1989). Assisted reproductive technology with donor gametes: the need for patient preparation.
  2. (1998). Children's adjustment to adoption. Developmental and clinical issues. Sage Publications, London Burrell R doi
  3. (2003). Choosing identity-release sperm donors: The parents' perspective 13-18 years later. doi
  4. (1995). Disclosure of donor insemination: Parental attitudes. doi
  5. (2001). Disclosure to children conceived with donor gametes should be optional. doi
  6. (2001). Disclosure to children conceived with donor gametes should not be optional. doi
  7. (1998). Do attitudes towards disclosure in donor oocyte recipients predict the use of anonymous versus directed donation? doi
  8. (1997). Donor insemination: Dutch parents' opinions about confidentiality and donor 23 anonymity and the emotional adjustment of their children. doi
  9. (2006). Egg donation parents and their children: follow-up at age 12 years. doi
  10. (2007). For parents of donor-conceived children. Howe
  11. (1973). In Search of Origins: The experiences of adopted people. doi
  12. (1995). Information sharing in donor insemination: A conflict of rights and needs. doi
  13. (1993). Lethal Secrets. Amistad,
  14. (2004). Offspring created as a result of donor insemination: A study of family relationships, child adjustment, and disclosure. doi
  15. (2002). Parenting and child development in adoptive families. doi
  16. (2004). Parenting children conceived by gamete donation. doi
  17. (1983). Pregnancy established in an infertile patient after transfer of a donated embryo fertilized in vitro. doi
  18. (2001). Review: Parent-child relationships and child development in donor insemination families. doi
  19. (2005). School-aged children of donor insemination: A study of parents' disclosure patterns. doi
  20. (1993). Secrecy and openness in donor insemination.
  21. (2001). Should offspring from donated gametes continue to be denied knowledge of their origins and antecedents? doi
  22. (2006). Telling and Talking. from Erikson EH
  23. (1981). The Artificial Family. George Allen & Unwin, doi
  24. (1997). The double track policy for donor anonymity. doi
  25. (1999). The psychology of assisted reproduction - or psychology assisting its reproduction. doi
  26. (1993). The worm in the bud: Secrets between parents and children.
  27. (2000). To tell or not to tell - what parents think about telling their children that they were born following donor insemination. doi
  28. (2003). To tell or not to tell: The decision-making process of egg donation parents. doi
  29. (1997). What are the effects of anonymity and secrecy on the welfare of the child in gamete donation? doi
  30. (2000). What does it mean to be a donor offspring? The identity experiences of adults conceived by donor insemination and the implications for counselling and therapy. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.