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Who's your daddy? Offspring seek information on sperm donor

November 10, 2008 |  2:36 pm

Sperm1Adopted children often want to learn the identities of their biological parents. The same is true in the infertility world, where egg or sperm donors are frequently used to help a couple conceive. In a study presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in San Francisco, researchers found that about 30% of eligible offspring chose to get information on their sperm donor.

The study examined the open-identity Sperm Bank of Davis. Researchers from UC Davis found that women were more likely to ask for information about the man whose sperm was used to father them. Family structure also seemed to influence the desire to know one's biological parentage. About 44% of offspring raised by single women requested information compared with 34% raised by lesbian couples and 20% raised by heterosexual couples.

In other studies about sperm donation presented at the meeting:

  • Researchers from Houston found that among a group of adult offspring of sperm donors, most feel "neutral" to "good" about their means of conception but thought that identifying information about the donor should be made available to the adult offspring.
  • A UC San Francisco study explored the psychological effect of using donor sperm or eggs on couples suffering from infertility. Both men and women said using donor gametes would raise their stress levels. They often cited fears that using donor sperm could decrease the strength of the bond between the father and child and might lead to marital problems.
  • University of Wisconsin researchers looked at the websites of infertility clinics and found that fewer than 60% mentioned male infertility and only 7% listed a urologist as part of the treatment team even though male reproductive problems are a common cause of infertility.

-- Shari Roan

Photo: Vials containing sperm stored in freezing tanks. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times