Experiences of offspring searching for and contacting their donor siblings and donor

13 Jun 2019

This study investigates a new phenomenon whereby individuals conceived by donor insemination are searching for and contacting their donor and/or ‘donor siblings’ (i.e. donor offspring conceived by the same donor who are their genetic half siblings). On-line questionnaires were completed by members of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), a US-based registry that facilitates contact between donor conception families who share the same donor. Of the 165 donor offspring who completed the survey, 15% were searching for their donor siblings, 13% were searching for their donor, and 64% were searching for both. Differences were found according to family type and age of disclosure. Fewer offspring from heterosexual couple families had told their father about their search when compared with offspring from lesbian couple families who had told their co-parent. Offspring who had found out about their conception after age 18 were more likely to be searching for medical reasons, whereas those who had found out before age 18 tended to be searching out of curiosity. Some offspring had discovered large numbers of half siblings (maximum = 13). The majority of offspring who had found their donor relations reported positive experiences and remained in regular contact with them.