Donor Insemination: Attitudes of Parents Towards Disclosure
Durna, Eva M.
Steigrad, Stephen J.
Leader, Leo R.
Garrett, Don G.
Medical Journal of Australia. 1997 Sep 1; 167(5): 256-259.
OBJECTIVE: To determine attitudes of parents of children conceived by donor insemination to telling the children of their origin. DESIGN: Questionnaire survey, in 1992-1993, of parents who had had a child by donor insemination at four New South Wales clinics from 1979 to 1990. SETTING: Three hospital-based clinics (two public, one private) and a private clinic service. PARTICIPANTS: 276 families who altogether had had 420 children by donor insemination. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of children told that they had been conceived by donor insemination; parents' intentions, before conceiving and after the birth, of informing the child; and whether other people were informed of the child's origin. RESULTS: Of 393 families who could be contacted, 353 agreed to participate and 276 (70%) replied to the questionnaire. Only 22 of the 420 children (5.2%) had been informed of their origin. Before conceiving, 18% of parents (49/273) planned to tell the child. Seventy-one per cent of families (182/257) had told others of the origin of the child, but 94% (241/257) had not told the child. Of the 29% of families (75/257) who had not told others of the child's origins, none had told the child. As the children grow older, more parents decide not to tell them of their origin. CONCLUSIONS: Most parents of children conceived by donor insemination do not plan to tell their child, but most of these parents have told others, creating the potential for accidental disclosure. Because of the small number of children who are told of their origin, there may not be a need for government-regulated donor registers, provided donor insemination units maintain a high standard of record-keeping.
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