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Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives

Being an egg or sperm donor

Exploring the impact of donating on the everyday lives of donors, their partners and their parents.

Egg and sperm

This project will contribute to our understanding of relationships between donors and donor offspring, and of how donation is experienced in wider family networks. It will be the first major study of this topic since the move towards identity-release donation. Our research will be based on in-depth interviews with:

  • 'identity-release' donors 
  • 'known' donors
  • partners and parents of donors
  • counsellors working with donors in fertility clinics. 

'Identity-release' donors are people who have donated egg or sperm, giving permission for their identity to be shared with any children conceived, should they request it after the age of eighteen. 'Identity-release' donation is the process used in UK clinics since 2005. 'Known' donors are known to the parents, and often the child. For example, a sister or cousin may donate eggs to a family member, or a lesbian couple may find a sperm donor through a donor-matching website. 

With an increase in the number of children born from egg and sperm donation, some research has been done about the experiences of these children and their parents (including our earlier project!). Very little research has been done about the experiences of identity-release and known donors, or about how donating impacts on their everyday lives and experiences. Even less is known about the experiences of parents and partners of donors. 

Take part

We are now inviting people to take part in the project. If you have donated egg or sperm, or if your child or partner has donated egg and sperm, we would like to hear your story. 

We are also inviting fertility counsellors who work, or have worked, with identity-release donors to take part in the project.