In order to aid in understanding the findings arising from research exploring donor conception, we have selected recent studies which you may find helpful. This is by no means a comprehensive or definitive list of all studies in the field and does not reflect the views of DC Network or its members. This resource is to help navigate the multitude of information available about the subject, by highlighting some papers which we view as helpful reading.

A link to explore the source, where there is open-access to the paper, has been included. If there is no open access, you can purchase the article or or contact the office for further information on


Paper title Year of publication Authors Summary Citation Link to source
Informing offspring of their conception by gamete or embryo donation: an Ethics Committee opinion 2018 Ethics commitee of the American Society for reproductive medicine This is a review of the literature contrasting the arguments in favour and against disclosure. Overall the recommendation is for clinics and suppliers of ART to create an infrastructure for openness,i.e to counsel clients about the possible arguments for an against discolsure, ensure that there is adequate record keeping and enable sharing of information in the future, should offspring seek to find out more about their origins. Fertility and Sterility, vol 109 (4)

A Longitudinal Study of Families Formed Through Reproductive Donation: Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Adolescent Adjustment at Age 14


Susan Golombok, Elena Ilioi, Lucy Blake, Gabriela Roman, and Vasanti Jadva

This paper continues the longitudinal investigation of parenting and adjustment in families who have used donor conception. 

The findings indicate that at age 14, adjustment in donor-conceived and surrogacy-conceived adolescents is equivocal to naturally conceived peers. The study did find that the mother-child relationship in egg donation families was characterised by more negative experiences.

Developmental Psychology (2017), Vol. 53, No. 10, 1966 –1977

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 and
Disclosure of Genetic Origins Information to
Children: Donor-Conceived Perspectives
2017 Donna Lyons and Donal Lyons


A qualitative study of donor conceived adults to asses their perspective on the child's right to information about the donor, within the context of the legal framework for accessing such data. Participants expressed strong reservations about secrecy which was felt to be wrong and damaging. It was felt that donor conceived offspring should have access to information about their donor earlier on, and that the possibility of having that information would support identity

The role of age of disclosure of biological origins in the psychological wellbeing of adolescents conceived by reproductive donation: a longitudinal study from age 1 to age 14 2017
Elena Ilioi,
Lucy Blake,
Vasanti Jadva,
Gabriela Roman
Susan Golombok

Whether parents should tell children born through gamete donation or surrogacy about their biological origins is the most contentious issue in the practice of reproductive donation.

This longitudinal study obtained data from infancy to adolescence on whether and when parents told children about their biological origins as well as data on the quality of family relationships and children's psychological adjustment.

It was found that children told about their origins before age 7 experienced more positive family relationships and higher levels of psychological wellbeing at age 14.

This suggests that parents should be encouraged to begin to tell their children about their birth through reproductive donation at an early age

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
58:3 (2017), pp 315–324 

Children born through reproductive donation: a longitudinal study of psychological adjustment.


Susan Golombok

Lucy Blake,

Polly Casey,

Gabriela Roman,

Parenting quality and children’s psychological adjustment were examined in families using surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation.and natural conception.

The study found that although children born through assisted reproduction with donated egg or sperm obtained normal scores indicating standard psychological adjustment, children born through surrogacy showed exhibited higher levels of adjustment difficulties at age 7 than children conceived by gamete donation. There was also evidence to suggest that keeping the origin's of the child's conception a secret, was related to mother's elevated levels of distress. However the impact of maternal distress was more evident in children who were aware of their origins.

Conclusions:  The absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be more problematic for children than the absence of a genetic link.

 Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 54:6 (2013), pp 653–660

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