Study on adults born through sperm donation

Publié le 31 May, 2010
The Commission sur l’avenir de la condition parentale, academician and expert team which thinks about the “legal, ethical, social and scientific situation of parents in the contemporaneous society” published on 3rd June 2010 a report called: “My father’s name is donor: a new study on young adults conceived through sperm donation“. The 140-page study, made by the research organisation Abt SRBI (New York) and carried out by Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D.Glenn and Karen Clarck, consists of 15 significant conclusions and 19 recommendations addressed to decision makers and practitioners concerning health right and policies. It was carried out on 1,680 persons from 18 to 45 years old, distributed in three equal groups: the one of persons born from artificial insemination by donor (AID), the one of adopted adults and the one of adults brought up by their biological parents.
Hurt adults
It reveals that “compared to the average of people, young adults conceived through sperm donation has a more hurt feeling, are more confused and feel more isolated from their family.” Half of them assumes to be “at odds with themselves” and to have the feeling to experience a prejudice. 25% think that “no one really understands them” which is only the case for 13% of adopted children and 9% of children conceived by their both parents.


Moreover, two third of the adults born by AID agree with the following statement: “My sperm donor is the half of who I am” and affirm that people conceived through sperm donation have the right to know the truth about their origin. 46% of them fear “to be attracted by, or to have sexual relations with, someone with whom they have family relationship” against 16% for adopted people. The fear that “money has been a factor intervening in their conception” worsens in 42% of the cases the unease not to know their origins. The report also notes that “around half of them are worried about, or have serious objections to, the conception based on sperm donation, and this even when the parents tell the truth to their children“.


People born from an AID are proportionally two times more numerous than the children brought up by their biological parents to have problems with the law and to take drugs abusively.


This “first comparative and representative study ever conducted on adults conceived by mean of sperm donation” aims at “causing an international debate on ethics, the meaning and the practice of the conception based on sperm donation“. Within the recommendations listed to guide the thought, we found: removing anonymity of sperm donation, limiting donation numbers per donor, favouring alternatives to the AID (adoption, …), etc.
France: removal of anonymity?
In France, as the revision of the law of bioethics draws near, the debate arises.  The Academy of Medicine, particularly, put the question on the agenda on 2nd June 2010, by talking about the book by Pierre Jouannet and Roger Mieusset: Donner et après. La procréation par don de spermatozoïdes avec ou sans anonymat (Giving and then. The procreation through sperm donation with or without anonymity). For Pierre Jouannet, former head of the Centre for study and conservation of human eggs and sperm (CECOS) of Cochin Hospital, removing the anonymity would not be without consequences. Indeed, the investigations reveal that a quarter of the couples would give up an AID project if the law should change and that 60% would give up their donation.

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