Conceived via anonymous donor insemination: Understanding what it means to be a donor offspring

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Clinical




Donor insemination (DI) has been documented as a form of assisted reproduction in the United States for more than a century. A lack of industry wide regulation makes it impossible to determine exactly how many individuals are conceived annually as a result of DI. Estimates, however, suggest that donor insemination results in the conception of 30,000 children a year in the United States, with a potential one million or more donor offspring now in existence. Secrecy in the practice of donor insemination has resulted in the majority of individuals conceived in this manner being unaware of the circumstances of their conception. As a result, little is known regarding what it means to have been conceived via anonymous donor insemination. The objective of the present study is to provide an understanding of the experience of being a donor offspring of an anonymous sperm donor. Specifically, this study utilizes an interpretative phenomenological approach in order to describe the essential features of several individuals' lived experience of being a donor offspring conceived via anonymous sperm donation, having known of their conception since childhood. ^