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Hum Reprod. 2005 Mar;20(3):810-9. Epub 2005 Jan 27.

School-aged children of donor insemination: a study of parents' disclosure patterns.

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  • 1Family and Child Psychology Research Centre, City University, Northampton Square, London, EC1V 0HB, UK.



A major concern in relation to donor insemination (DI) is whether children should be told about their genetic origins. This study compared the thoughts, feelings and experiences of DI parents who were inclined towards openness with those who were inclined towards non-disclosure.


Forty-six families with a 4- to 8-year-old DI-conceived child were interviewed about their decision, their reasons and subsequent concerns regarding disclosure.


Thirty-nine percent of parents were inclined towards disclosure whilst the remaining 61% were not. The two main reasons for favouring disclosure were to avoid accidental discovery and a desire for openness. Non-disclosing parents felt that there was no reason to tell and wished to protect family members. The children who had been told reacted with either curiosity or disinterest.


In spite of donor anonymity, parents who were intending to tell their child in the future had optimistic expectations of their child's reaction. Parents who had already told their child generally described the telling experience as a positive one.

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