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It takes two to tango: Information-sharing with offspring among heterosexual parents following identity-release sperm donation.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Lifestyle and rehabilitation in long term illness.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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2016 (English)In: Human Reproduction, ISSN 0268-1161, E-ISSN 1460-2350, Vol. 31, no 1, 125-132 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

STUDY QUESTION How do heterosexual parents reason about and experience information-sharing with offspring following identity-release sperm donation?

SUMMARY ANSWER Sharing information about using donor-conception with offspring is a complex process at several levels, with the parent's personal beliefs and the child's responses serving as driving or impeding forces for the information-sharing process.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY The overall view of disclosure in gamete donation has shifted from secrecy to openness, but there is still uncertainty among parents concerning how and when to tell the child about his/her genetic origin. Most research on donor-conceived families has focused on donation treatment under anonymous or known circumstances, and there is a lack of studies in settings with identity-release donations.

STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION A qualitative interview study among 30 parents following identity-release sperm donation treatment. Interviews were conducted from February 2014 to March 2015.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS The present study is part of the prospective longitudinal Swedish Study on Gamete Donation (SSGD), including all fertility clinics performing gamete donation in Sweden. A sample of participants in the SSGD, consisting of heterosexual parents with children aged 7–8 years following identity-release sperm donation, participated in individual semi-structured interviews.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The analysis revealed one main theme: information-sharing is a process, with three subthemes; (i) the parent as process manager, (ii) the child as force or friction and (iii) being in the process. The first two subthemes were viewed as being linked together and their content served as driving or impeding forces in the information-sharing process.

LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The fact that the study was performed within the context of the Swedish legislation on identity-release donation must be taken into consideration as regards transferability to other populations, as this may affect parents' reasoning concerning their information-sharing with the child.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS The present findings highlight the role of the donor-conceived child in the information-sharing process and may contribute to develop counselling that increases parents' confidence in handling children's reactions to information about their genetic origin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 31, no 1, 125-132 p.
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264856DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dev293ISI: 000371148900017OAI: diva2:861760
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-10-19 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2016-04-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The child’s best interest: Perspectives of gamete recipients and donors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The child’s best interest: Perspectives of gamete recipients and donors
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: An increasing number of couples turn to treatment with oocyte or sperm donation, but there is limited knowledge regarding the consequences of these treatments in a program using identifiable donors. Aim: The overall aim was to study information-sharing among heterosexual couples following identity-release gamete donation. A further aim was to study donors’ attitudes towards future contact with donation offspring. Methods: The four studies were part of The Swedish Study on Gamete Donation; a prospective, longitudinal study of donors and recipients of donated oocytes and sperm. Study I and II had a quantitative approach with recipients of donated oocytes or sperm participating through questionnaires at start of treatment, two months after the first treatment and when their child was 1-4 years old. Study III was a qualitative interview study with 30 parents following sperm donation with school-aged children. Study IV had a quantitative approach with oocyte and sperm donors participating through questionnaires 5-8 years post-donation. Results: Study I revealed that the recipients of donated gametes in general were open about their treatment with the people around them and supported disclosure to offspring regarding his/her genetic origin. Study II reported that most of those who became parents following donor conception intended to share information about the donation with their offspring and some had already started the information-sharing process with their young child. Study III described information sharing with the offspring to be a process of several levels, revealing various amounts of information about the way of conception. The parent was seen to be the owner of the process and moving the process forward with different aspects and the reactions of the offspring serving as driving or impeding forces of the process. Study IV reported that a majority of the gamete donors seem to have a positive or neutral attitude towards a future meeting with a donation offspring. Conclusion: The present thesis suggests that there is a trend towards more openness among recipients of donated gametes in Sweden. It also points out that most recipients and donors within the Swedish gamete donation programme acknowledge the child’s right to his/her genetic origin and have the best interest of the child in mind.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 73 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1152
Assisted reproduction, heterosexuals, sperm donation, oocyte donation, donor, disclosure, information-sharing, quantitative, qualitative
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264860 (URN)978-91-554-9388-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-11, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-11-19 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2016-01-27

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