Getting Support

Family Building through Sperm Donation

Donor conception is a relatively new way of creating a family. Although sometimes considered the same as having a genetically-related child, there are differences. Donor conception presents unique and complex issues that are often not recognized until after the child is born. It is worth considering them beforehand, to ensure you are comfortable creating your family this way. Books are available on the topic (e.g., Building a Family with the Assistance of Donor Insemination by Ken Daniels). There are also experts who provide informational sessions on family-building through donor conception. They can provide multiple or one-time educational meetings and/or workshops to prepare you for having your child with the assistance of a sperm donor. We encourage you to meet with them, as you consider whether to use donor conception. Their knowledge and experience will guide you as your family grows and your child matures into his or her own person.

  • Jean Benward, LCSW A member of TSBC’s Identity-Release® Task Force, a counselor and a researcher, Jean Benward holds considerable expertise in issues around infertility and family-building through donor conception. San Ramon/ East Bay (925) 820-9023

  • Diane Cote, LCSW Specializes in mindfulness based psychotherapy, infertility counseling and related reproductive health issues. She is also a yoga teacher (RYT) and offers yoga workshops for fertility and emotional health.

  • Madeline Licker Feingold, PhD has extensive experience in the psychological aspects of infertility and providing education about building families with the assistance of donors. She specializes in working with parents, donors, and families about all issues related to alternative family building. Excellent selection of articles on Dr. Feingold's website. Berkeley and Walnut Creek (510) 540-8715.

  • Laura Goldberger, MFT sees individuals and couples and also runs support groups for women who are inseminating. Laura has worked with lesbian and bisexual women, parents, couples, children, and families for over 10 years. She is a lesbian mom herself. San Francisco and Berkeley (510) 665-7755; laura@lauragoldberger.com

  • Cheryl Deaner, MS, MFT facilitates “considering parenthood” groups and specializes in family-building issues among LGBT families. Founder and former director of Our Family Coalition. Oakland & San Francisco (415) 282-2200; cheryl@cheryldeaner.com 

  • Diane Ehrensaft, PhD offers consultations and/or therapy related to parenting, LGBTQI families, gender identity and psychological issues for families using assisted reproductive technology. Just because people are brave enough to create nontraditional families doesn’t mean they’ve anticipated the difficult questions those arrangements raise. Oakland 510-547-4147 dehrensaft@earthlink.net

  • Robin Keating, MS provides individual, couples, child/adolescent and group psychotherapy. Resource for women considering single parenthood. Corte Madera (415) 497-0162

  • Marsha Hiller, MFT works with children, adolescents and adults who have come together as family through donor insemination and adoption. Marsha has extensive experience with issues related to identity development, parenting, cross-racial families, and, in adoption, searching for and developing relationships with birth parents and siblings. Berkeley (510) 644-2724

  • Virginia Keeler-Wolf, MFT works with individuals and families providing support for and education about family building through adoption and donor conception. Berkeley (510) 339-9363

  • Sara Lesser, LCSW is an experienced therapist working with couples, individuals and groups helping people lead fulfilling lives. She specializes in LGBTQ issues, parenting and alternative family building. East Bay (510) 459-7551

  • Lori Rifkin, Ph.D is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She specializes in psychotherapy, consultation, testing children and adults, life transition therapy. San Rafael and San Francisco (415) 485-1976

  • Annie Schuessler, MFT works with couples and individuals who want to gain confidence, take active steps and feel more satisfied with their lives. She facilitates a therapy group for women, and also specializes in EMDR, LGBTQ issues and parenting. San Francisco (415) 317-0816; annie@annieschuessler.com

  • Mary Tennes, PhD works with adolescents and adults on issues related to families created through donor conception. Oakland (510) 653-1313

  • Dr. Tonya Wood PhD provides psychotherapy, consultation, psychological evaluations, education, and resources to help individuals and families through the infertility/reproductive process. Whether you’re at the beginning of the fertility process, recovering from miscarriage, pursuing adoption, or considering a child-free life, Tonya Wood and her associates are  available to offer support and guidance. Los Angels Area. (424) 266-4331