Being an egg or sperm donor
Exploring the impact of donating on the everyday lives of donors and their families.
The 'Curious Connections' project is the first major study of egg and sperm donors since the move towards identity-release donation in UK clinics.
- Petra Nordqvist (Project Leader)
- Leah Gilman (Researcher)
- Hazel Burke (Communications Officer)
- Christine Turner (Project Coordinator).
- ESRC ES/N014154/1
Leaflets, videos and other resources for donors, their families, counsellors and other professionals who work together with families involved in donor conception.
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?
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.
- View leaflet 'Being an egg or sperm donor: Connections with recipient parents [pdf] (Accessible version)
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 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.
- View leaflet 'Being an egg or sperm donor: balancing 'being available' and 'knowing your place'?' [pdf] (Accessible version)
Talking to your children about being an egg or sperm donor
Curious Connections: The social life of egg and sperm donation
- Session 1: Research from the Curious Connections project - an introduction to some of the key points from our project
- Session 2: How well does current donor conception law and policy fit donors' needs and perspectives? (Panel discussion)
Sperm and egg donors' feelings of connection with their recipients
Focusing on the connection that donors feel to the parents of the child/ren 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?
- View the recording of "It's not all in the genes" - Sperm and egg donors' feelings of connection with their recipients
The pros, cons, and consequences of known donation
Petra Nordqvist presented our research and took part in the panel discussion for this event, organised by Progress Educational Trust.
An exploration of the process of known donation, with other panel members each with a different perspective and expertise on the topic.
'Going Home' short stories about being an egg-share donor
These fictional short stories are based on interviews with women who donated their eggs during their own fertility treatment.
You might find them especially interesting if you are an egg donor yourself, considering donation, or working with donors as a counsellor or clinic staff.
- Download the 'Going Home' short story booklet [pdf]
Alternatively, you can listen to recordings of the stories using the links below.
Longer articles, written for academic journals.
If you are blocked by a paywall, please contact the author who will be able to show you how to access a free version.
- The ‘Selfish Element’: How Sperm and Egg Donors Construct Plausibly Moral Accounts of the Decision to Donate (Leah Gilman, 2021) in Sociology - an exploration of 'good' and 'bad' motives for donating sperm, especially men who choose to donate in order to pass on their genes.
- Organizing Openness: How UK Policy Defines the Significance of Information and Information Sharing about Gamete Donation (Leah Gilman and Petra Nordqvist, 2018) in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family - an analysis of how policy shapes the flow of information about donation through and between donors and recipients.