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Donor information considered important to donors, recipients and offspring: an Australian perspective

Published:November 22, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2010.11.007

      Abstract

      Donor conception research supports open-identity donor programmes and disclosure to donor-conceived offspring. This study examines Australian donors’, recipients’ and donor-conceived offspring’s views on the importance of different types of biographical information about the donor. Participants (125 recipients, 39 donors (known, identity-release and anonymous), 23 donor-conceived offspring) completed an online or paper self-administered anonymous questionnaire. Individuals rated the importance of 15 types of biographical information and subsequently chose the three they deemed most important. All groups included donor’s health history and name as key variables to be available to donor-conceived offspring. Recipients viewed the donor’s decision to donate as important, donors thought their feelings about being contacted were important and donor-conceived offspring expressed an interest in the donor’s own family. Sperm donors were less inclined to view the provision of information as important compared with offspring. For recipients, the importance of information became apparent once they had disclosed to their children. This is the first study to gauge Australian stakeholders’ attitudes to release of information in the donor conception process. The findings support the move to open-identity donation systems and emphasize the importance of considering the varying perspectives of all stakeholders by policy developers.
      Donor conception research supports open-identity donor programmes and disclosure to donor conceived offspring. This study examines Australian donors’, recipients’ and donor-conceived offspring’s views of the importance of different types of biographical information about the donor. A total of 187 individuals (125 recipients, 39 donors (known, identity-release and anonymous), 23 donor-conceived people) completed an online or paper self-administered anonymous questionnaire. Participants rated the importance of 15 types of biographical information on a 5-point scale and then chose the three types of information they thought most important. All groups included the name and health history of the donor as very important pieces of information to be made available to the donor-conceived person. Additionally recipients of donated spermatozoa or eggs thought that the donor’s decision to donate was important, donors thought that their feelings about being contacted were important and donor-conceived individuals expressed an interest in the donor’s own family. Sperm donors were less inclined to view the provision of information as important. The importance of information only became apparent to recipients of donated spermatozoa and eggs once they had talked to their children about the circumstances of their conception. The findings of this study support the move to open-identity egg and sperm donation systems and emphasize the need for policy makers to consider the varying perspectives of all people going through the donation process.

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