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Hum Fertil (Camb). 2003 Feb;6(1):41-5.

Using and not losing the messages from the adoption experience for donor-assisted conception.

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  • 1British Association of Adoption and Fostering, Skyline House, 200 Union Street, London SE1 0LX, UK.


The debate about the information needs of donor-conceived people is reaching an important stage. The recent Government consultation about providing information on sperm, egg and embryo donors (Department of Health, 2001) has meant that the subject is receiving much public attention. More importantly, it is becoming increasingly evident that donor-conceived people themselves are beginning to have a voice about their experience of not being able to access basic information about their genealogical heritage. Gollancz (2001) raised some pertinent issues about the rights and needs of donor-conceived people to have access to identifying information about their genetic parents. Recent research is also providing powerful messages about the information needs of donor-conceived people. For example, the study by Turner and Coyle (2000) of 16 donor-conceived adults between the ages of 26 and 55 asked about identity experience, including issues of secrecy and disclosure of their donor-conceived status, and also investigated the experience of trying to trace and search for a genetic father (the donor), the current perception of donor insemination and how families could manage openness versus secrecy. The findings identify many similarities between adopted and donor-conceived people. But in what ways is adoption similar to donor conception? And can donor conception learn anything from adoption? This paper will explore some of the relevant lessons learned from adoption to draw out some of the issues, experiences and dilemmas shared by adopted people, donor-conceived people and their families, using the findings of The Children's Society's research study.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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