Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Sperm donors describe the experience of contact with their donor-conceived offspring

R. Hertz1, M.K. Nelson2, W. Kramer3

1Department of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA.

2Department of Sociology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA.

3Donor Sibling Registry, Box 1571, Nederland, CO 80466, USA.

Correspondence at:


Anonymity, assisted reproduction, donor-conceived offspring, offspring, sperm donors

Published online: Jun 30 2015


This study explores the attitudes and experiences of 57 sperm donors who responded to a survey posted online in the United States and indicated that they had had contact with their donor-conceived offspring or the parents of their donor-conceived offspring. On average, 18 years had elapsed since the respondents donated sperm.
In the interim between donating and having contact with offspring, most had become curious about their offspring. Most made contact through a bank or online registry. Most respondents had communicated with at least one offspring at least once and most had exchanged photos with offspring. Approximately two-thirds had met in person once; the same proportion had communicated over email or text. Other forms of communication were less common. Almost half of the respondents now considered their donor-conceived offspring to be like a family member. At the same time, donors are respectful of the integrity of the family in which their offspring were raised. Donors with contact are open to having their partners and children know their donor-conceived offspring.
Although contact is generally positive, donors report that establishing boundaries and defining the relationship can be very difficult. Some donors also urge those who are thinking of donating to consider the consequences and some suggest avoiding anonymity. There were no significant differences in attitudes and experiences between those who donated anonymously and those who had been identity-release for their offspring when they turned 18.