February 22, 2024

My Daddy’s Name is Donor — and I miss him

New report on experiences of donor-conceived children

In the US alone an estimated 30,000-60,000
children are born each year through sperm donation, yet no entity is required
to report on these vital statistics. Until now, no reliable evidence has been
available on the experiences of young adults who were conceived in this way. A
report released this week by the Institute for American Values, My Daddy’s
Name is Donor
, is the first-ever representative, comparative attempt to
learn about the identity, kinship, well-being, and social justice experiences
of these adults.

The study reveals that young adults
conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel
more isolated from their families. They fare worse than their peers raised by
biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency, and
substance abuse. Moreover, the study found that:

• two-thirds agree, “my sperm donor is half
of who I am;”

• about half are disturbed that money was
involved in their conception;

• nearly half say they have feared being
attracted to or having sexual relations with someone to whom they are
unknowingly related;

• two-thirds affirm the right of donor
offspring to know the truth about their origins; and

• about half of donor offspring have concerns
about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even when parents tell
their children the truth.

• Adults conceived through sperm donation
are far more likely than others to become sperm or egg donors or surrogates
themselves. About 20 percent said that, as adults, they themselves had already
donated their own sperm or eggs or been a surrogate mother.

The report also claims that donor
conception is not “just like” adoption: “Adoption is a good, vital, and
positive institution that finds parents for children who need families. There
are some similarities between donor conception and adoption, but our study reveals
there are also many differences. And, if anything, the similarities between the
struggles that adopted people and donor conceived people might share should
prompt caution about intentionally denying children the possibility of growing
up with their biological father or mother, as happens in donor conception.” ~ New York Times,
May 31

Michael Cook
sperm donation