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The Right to Know: Secrecy and ‘donor’ conception Maggie Millar Australian Rationalist Magazine Autumn 2000

The difficulties experienced by infertile couples are great indeed; and the procedures devised by medical scientists to help them are remarkable. But we must never forget, in our excitement and amazement at these techniques for human reproduction, that we are dealing with a potential human being, and all that that implies. MORE


Are you considering using donated egg, sperm or embryo to create your family?

Do you already have donor children?

You will hopefully find information on this site that may help you on such subjects as making the decision to use donated gametes; talking to your children about their conception; accessing information about their donor.

I want to begin with telling you a story, an account of a couple in New Zealand. The wife got in touch with me a few years ago now as a result of reading an article in a women’s magazine. She indicated that she wanted to share with her daughter, the nature of her daughter’s conception, but the husband did not want to do this. They live 400kms away from the city I live in and we organized to meet and at that meeting the husband was very fearful, very anxious, very tense. His wife was also anxious and tense. Her reasons for being anxious and tense was that all of the family knew about the nature of the child’s conception and she was concerned that the child was going to find out from somebody else and perhaps in a way that they would not be able to control. We had a long and painful discussion, and the matter was left for them to think about some more. It was 18 months later that they got in touch with me again and we had a similar meeting. This time the husband had moved a little, but he was still extremely anxious. At the end of the session he agreed with his wife’s pleadings that they should tell their daughter who at that stage was aged 14.
I was able to see them a couple of months after they had shared the information. They told me that when the three of them were sitting there ….. the daughter heard the story, went over to her father, put her arms around his neck and said “I love you daddy”. And that man said, that at that time, it was as if a great burden had been lifted from his shoulders. The burden of 14 years of secrecy, of fear and of anxiety were suddenly gone. Professor Ken Daniels "Let the Offspring Speak" DCSG 1997

"In summary, the current results indicate that families who used identity-release donors were positive about their decision and that their child had the option of identifying and possibly meeting his or her donor when s/he reached age 18 years. All three types of families: those headed by single women,
lesbian couples, and heterosexual couples were quite open about the donor conception, including telling the child at an early age, and felt that disclosure had at least a neutral, if not positive, impact on the child and their relationship with him or her. With very few exceptions, parents reported that their child felt positively toward the donor and planned to obtain his identity. The children did not seem to be looking for a father in the donor, instead their interest stemmed more out of a strong curiosity about him, likely because they felt that learning more about him would help them learn more about themselves. Although further research is needed, the current study is important because it is one of the few about DI families 13±18 years after the child's conception and provides insight on the experience of having an open-identity sperm donor."


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Project title:

Intimate Relationships among couples dealing with infertility

Explanatory Statement

You are invited to participate in research investigating couples’ experiences of infertility. This research is being conducted by Anastasiia Kuliapina, a Masters student in Clinical Psychology, under the supervision of Dr Lisa Marie Abel from the School of Psychology at Bond University.The aim of this research is to gain a deeper understanding about the extent to which intrapersonal factors (e.g. acceptance, mindfulness and coping) impact upon relationship adjustment that within the context of infertility. It is hoped that the results of this project will contribute to the development of appropriate psychological support programs for couples facing fertility difficulties.
Both partners are invited to participate in the research. The research questionnaire takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. The participation is entirely voluntary and responses will remain completely confidential. All data will be de-identified following the completion of the study. Data will be stored for five years in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee.
Given the nature of the research project, some of the questions may trigger sad thoughts or memories, please know that you are free to withdraw from answering at any time or you can receive support by calling Relationships Australia (1300 364 277) or Lifeline Telephone Counseling (13 11 14) which have services to assist you.
In recognition of your participation, your name will go into a draw and you could win a $100 Gift Card. The draw for this will take place at the completion of data collection. 
Should you have any complaints concerning the manner in which this research (RO1951) is conducted, please do not hesitate to contact Bond University Research Ethics Committee at the following address:
Senior Research Ethics Officer
Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee
Bond University
Gold Coast QLD 4229
Telephone: (07)55954194; Fax: (07)55951120
If you would like to know more about the project or receive a summary of results please contact AnastasiiaKuliapina at Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in this study, it is appreciated.

Questionairre Link


dcsg story

From the DCSG newsletter 1999



Research articles:

Parents Dilemmas in Sharing Donor Insemination Conception Stories with their Children

Hargreaves & Daniels 2007 click here

The Child’s Advocate in Donor Conceptions: The Telling of the Story
Kris A. Probasco 2012
click here

Family building in donor conception: parents’ experiences of sharing information
Blyth, Langridge and Harris 2009
click here


Why telling children the truth is important

Eric Blyth, Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield click here

Choosing identity-release sperm donors: the parents' perspective 13±18 years later
J.E.Scheib M.Riordan and S.Rubin Human Reproduction Vol.18, No.5 pp. 1115-1127, 2003 For full paper click here

Registers available in Australia

"How can parents have an honest and strong relationship with their children if they are keeping a vitally important secret from them? My brother and I were informed of our DI status prior to becoming teenagers and we have grown up normal, well adjusted adults. Our family is all the more closer due to my parents strength to be honest with us. When secrets are kept, the children often do grow up sensing that something is different within their family. This is not necessarily due to what their parents say but as a result of that their parents don’t say. For example that never say “You’ve got your father’s eyes and your grandmother’s personality.” In truth, this was the case for my brother who wondered if he was adopted until he was informed of his conception."  ‘L’ aged 18