Getting Support

Family Building through Sperm Donation

Donor conception is a different way of creating a family. It's sometimes considered the same as having a genetically-related child, but there are differences. Until a child is born, we often don't see the unique and sometimes complex issues related to this kind of family building. It is worth considering them beforehand, so 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 talk 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.

  • Madeline Licker Feingold, PhD. Madeline is one of the most knowledgeable and accessible people to learn from about building family with donor assistance, in general, and also when there's infertility. She specializes in working with people hoping to be parents, donors and families about all issues related to this kind of family building. Be sure to check out resources at her website. Berkeley and Walnut Creek 510-540-8715.
  • 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
  • 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. San Francisco 415-366-8830 
  • 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
  • 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
  • Robin Keating, MS provides individual, couples, child/adolescent and group psychotherapy. Resource for women considering single parenthood. Corte Madera 415-497-0162
  • 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. Oakland 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
  • Lisa Schuman, LCSW, The Center for Family Building. Helps you develop a family-building plan and link you to the latest resources; offers monthly support groups - all accessible online. New York 212-874-1318; lisa@familybuilding.net
  • 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
  • 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