Barcelona, Spain: It is better for children conceived by donor insemination to be told of their origins at an early age, according to the first large-scale study of people who are aware of their donor conception. If the children are not told until they are 18 or older, they are more likely to have feelings of shock and anger, the 24th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona heard today (Monday).
The study is one of the first to compare the views of offspring of donor insemination told of their origins during childhood compared with those who only found out in adulthood. The researchers recruited a sample of 165 offspring conceived by sperm donation through the Donor Sibling Registry a US-based, worldwide website that enables donor offspring to search for their donors and their donor siblings (other donor offspring who share the same donor). The participants answered an online questionnaire consisting of multiple-choice and open-ended questions. They were aged 13-61; 148 (89%) were living in the USA and four (2%) were living in the UK; the majority (approximately three-quarters) were female.
Dr Vasanti Jadva, a research associate at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge (UK), found that children born into mother-only or same-sex parent families were much more likely to be told about their origins before the age of three than were children of heterosexual parents: 63%, 56% and 9% respectively. Indeed, 33% of children in heterosexual families were told about their conception after the age of 18, compared with none in the other two types of families. Two children from heterosexual parents only found out when told by people who were not their parents.
Dr Jadva said: "We asked the offspring how they felt at the time they found out about their conception, excluding those that found out before the age of three as they would have been too young to recall their feelings. For al
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European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology