Being an egg or sperm donor

Exploring the impact of donating on the everyday lives of donors and their families.

Egg and sperm

The 'Curious Connections' project is the first major study of egg and sperm donors since the move towards identity-release donation in UK clinics. The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

Project team: Petra Nordqvist (Project Leader), Leah Gilman (Researcher), Hazel Burke (Communications Officer), Christine Turner (Project Coordinator). 


Being an egg or sperm donor: The impact of donation on donors and their families

Going beyond the 'donor-recipient-child' connection, we explore how egg and sperm donation affects the family lives and relationships of donors. How does it shape their relationships over the years that follow donation? And what do donors' parents, partners, brothers, sisters and other family members feel about their donation?

Being an egg or sperm donor: Connections with recipient parents

This leaflet explores an often-overlooked relationship: the connection between donors and their recipients, that is, the parent or parents of the child born from their donation. Many donors in our research felt an important connection with their recipients, even when they had never met.

Being an egg or sperm donor: balancing ‘being available’ and ‘knowing your place’?

How do donors balance their – sometimes conflicting – responsibilities to be open to any children born from their donation but without overstepping parental boundaries? This was a strong theme from our research, and this leaflet explores what donors think their responsibilities to recipients and donor-conceived children are, and how they put them into practice in their own lives.

Event recordings 

"It's not all in the genes" - Sperm and egg donors' feelings of connection with their recipients

Focusing on the connection that sperm and egg donors feel to the parents of the child or children born from their donation. How do known donors navigate this relationship, and what does it mean for clinic donors who have never met their recipients?

Known Unknowns: the pros, cons and consequences of known donation

A recording of a public debate on known donation, featuring Petra Nordqvist talking about our Curious Connections project, Natasha Fox (donor conceived person), Erika Tranfield (Pride Angel, and parent via known donation), Nina Barnsley (Donor Conception Network) and Natalie Gamble (NGA Law and Brilliant Beginnings surrogacy agency). Plus Q&A. Organised by Progress Educational Trust. 

Curious Connections: The social life of egg and sperm donation

Short story collection

Three fictional short stories, written by Becky Tipper, based on the experiences of women who shared their eggs as part of their own fertility treatment. You can download a PDF of the Going Home short story collection, or listen to audio recordings of all three stories below. If you have any feedback on the stories, please email

Something and Nothing

A short story about being an egg-share donor. A bout of decluttering prompts Caron to reflect on her experience of donating her eggs when she conceived her daughter Addie, who is now a teenager.

Pen profile

A mother reflects on her decision to donate her eggs during fertility treatment to conceive her son Kai. He has grown from a tiny baby to a strapping teenager and the families have never met.

Inside out

Two years later after donating her eggs to another woman during her own fertility treatment, Lucy reflects on the experience: it didn't work out for her, but her donation was successful.