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Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives

Do genes matter?

Families and donor conception

Public debate

  • Thursday, 22 May 2014
  • Location: University College London
  • Speakers: Natalie Gamble (Natalie Gamble Associates and Brilliant Beginnings), Anneke Lucassen (University of Southampton), Carol Smart (Morgan Centre, The University of Manchester), Erika Tranfield (Pride Angel) and Chair: Walter Merricks (Donor Conception Network)


More than 35,000 children have been born in the UK as a result of donor conception since 1991. Since then, our knowledge of genetics has increased substantially, with the advent of whole genome sequencing and a better grasp of the genetic factors that can predispose people to certain medical conditions. But beyond our physical health, what does our improved understanding of genetics mean for our understanding of family?

  • What does it mean to have a child through donor conception?
  • What is donor conception like for the 'non-genetic' parent(s)?
  • How do grandparents feel about having a grandchild who is conceived with the help of an egg, sperm or embryo donor?
  • What is the role of the internet in finding donors or connecting with half-siblings?
  • How many parents can a child have?

This event explored family, kinship, gender, sexuality, assisted conception and genetics from contrasting perspectives. It was hosted jointly by the Morgan Centre and the Progress Educational Trust.