Do donor conceived adults feel differently about their identity once they have children of their own?

The question in the title of this piece is the one posed in research to be carried out this autumn by Rebecca Perna a counselling psychology doctoral student at the University of East London in the UK.  Her thesis is that the long-term implications of donor conception, whereby lines of genetic inheritance are changed irrevocably for the future, may be felt more acutely by donor conceived people when they become parents themselves.  This life transition encourages reflection in most thoughtful men and women.  It is a time in many people’s lives when family history becomes more meaningful and alongside this, the meaning of ‘family’ is consolidated according to personal circumstances and life experiences.  Taken altogether this might mean that a donor conceived person would feel more or less comfortable about their own identity and what they might be passing on to their children.

Very little significant research has taken place into the feelings and experiences of donor conceived adults.  As far as I know no-one has ever asked parents who are donor conceived how they feel about themselves following having children, or the future of their family, so the results are likely to be of wide interest.

If you are a donor conceived adult who is also a parent – of young or much older children – do consider contacting Rebecca on to find out more.  Participants should ideally live in the UK, but a small proportion of interviews can be carried out via Skype.  The research has been approved by the ethics committee of the university and by the research team at DC Network.


About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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3 Responses to Do donor conceived adults feel differently about their identity once they have children of their own?

  1. gsmwc02 says:

    I’m interested to hear the thoughts of those who are donor conceived who went through infertility to see if that impacted them in any way.

  2. Hi Olivia, thank you for posting this. We know some DC adults who are parents now. For me personally: it triggered everything, not only did my partner and I had a really hard time to conceive. We finally succeeded in getting pregnant through fertilitytreatments. But the moment I held my firstborn in my arms … for me that is my point of no return. It was first time I could totally reflect myself in a person, and the penny dropped … knowing your origins or being able to know who you descend from is important. For me it highligted the missing piece in my identity.

    I will put the research and the contactdetails of the researcher in our next newsletter.

    Kind regards,

  3. oliviasview says:

    Thank you for posting Steph and for spreading the word about the research, the results of which I think will be really interesting. If there are a number of people wanting to take part in Belgium I think it is possible that the researcher may be able to come over and do face to face interviews. Your account of your own feelings on holding your firstborn is very moving.

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