Semen donors' curiosity about donor offspring and the barriers to their knowing

Jennifer M Speirs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The article reports qualitative research findings which explored the meanings of kinship and genetic knowledge of fifteen pre-1990 semen donors in the UK. This is presented in the context of public and academic debates about the regulation of access to genetic information, genetic information as intellectual property and kinship knowledge, and the multiple ownership of genetic information. Semen donors in the UK traditionally were expected to take no interest in what became of their donations and those who did were considered to be unsuitable as donors. However, the present research reveals that men who donated in the past hold varied attitudes, including curiosity about how donor offspring have fared and what they look like. Whilst some donors would welcome direct contact with donor offspring, there are practical and emotional obstacles to satisfying their curiosity. Donors' views reflect the varied understandings in the UK about the implications of genetic relatedness and the time and energy required to maintain and sustain relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Fertility
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Semen donors, anonymity, relatedness, UK DonorLink


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