Men not included: A review of single and lesbian mother DI families: mother-child relationships
en child development


Single and lesbian DI mothers / family relationships and child development /donor information


Department of Developmental Psychology. Free University Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels. Belgium.

Correspondence at:


The number of single and lesbian mothers who want a child by means of donor insemination (DI) increased rapidly during the past twenty years. In this article a brief overview is presented of empirical findings with regard to family relationships and child development in these non traditional families.
Findings of single DI mothers remain preliminary but no adverse effects have been identified among the still very young children. There is a larger body of knowledge with regard to lesbian DI families. Overall, no differences were found compared with heterosexual two parent families with regard to family functioning and child development. The co-mother appeared to be more involved in child rearing than fathers.
In both groups children were aware of their donor origin in an early developmental stage. Although they did not consider the donor as part of their family, the majority of children requested (non)identifying donor information.
Based on the findings so far, single and lesbian women should be accepted in DI programs and the use of identity registered donors is advisable. Further large scale follow up studies are still needed.