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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. Many recipients and parents find it helpful to talk with them, as they 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.

San Francisco & Larger Bay Area

  • Laura Goldberger, MFT sees individuals and couples who are in the process of making a family. Laura has worked with LGBTQ+ people, parents, couples, and children for over 25 years and is a queer mom. San Francisco and Berkeley 510-665-7755; laura@lauragoldberger.com
  • Madeleine Katz, Psy D provides consultations, education, and resources to help individuals and couples considering and/or doing family building through assisted conception. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. San Francisco 415-937-0425
  • 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 510-280-2938; Diane.Ehrensaft@ucsf.edu
  • Cheryl Deaner, MS, MFT facilitates “considering parenthood” groups and specializes in family-building issues among LGBTQ families. Founder and former director of Our Family Coalition. Oakland & San Francisco 415-282-2200; cheryl@cheryldeaner.com 
  • Joelle Ehre, MA, LMFT provides supportive psychotherapy and reproductive counseling to individuals and couples seeking to build their families using gamete donation. Specialties include infertility, couples therapy and intended parent consultations for reproductive clinics. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. LGBTQ affirmative and antiracist. Oakland and online; 510-788-0804.
  • Michelle Sicula, MA, JD is an experienced Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist providing individual and couples therapy for clients building their families through sperm, ovum, or embryo donation or using a gestational carrier.  Michelle supports clients experiencing infertility, coping with perinatal loss, and/or making decisions about how to build their family or whether to live child-free.  Michelle is certified in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy ("EFT") and is an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member.  San Francisco and Oakland, CA; 510-457-1246; msicula@gmail.com 
  • 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 
  • 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
  • Kathy Brady, LCSW. Maya Wellness Therapy is a  psychotherapy practice specifically focused on meeting the mental health and emotional needs of women of all ages, mothers, and LGBTQ parents and families.  Specialty areas include: LGBTQ family dynamics, family formation counseling, postpartum depression and anxiety, parenting issues, adoption and infant mental health.
  • 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
  • Lori Rifkin, PhD 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
  • Mary Tennes, PhD works with adolescents and adults on issues related to families created through donor conception. Oakland 510-653-1313


Los Angeles & Surrounds

  • Elaine Gordon, PhD. Elaine's goal is to help individuals build healthy families with the help of donors and/or gestational carriers. She is also the author of Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy? Where Many Babies Come From, a children’s book dedicated to explaining a child’s unique reproductive beginnings. Be sure to check out resources at her website. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. Los Angeles area 310-454-0502 elainergordonphd@gmail.com
  • Carole LieberWilkins, MA, MFT, provides psychoeducational consultations and individual and couples counseling around family building with sperm, egg and embryo donation and/or surrogacy. Carole is well known for her work on talking with children about family building, including having co-authored Let's Talk about Egg Donation: Real Stories from Real People, the quintessential read for those pursuing or already parenting through egg or embryo donationShe is a founding member of Resolve of Greater Los Angeles and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group. West Los Angeles (310) 470-9049, familybuildingclw@gmail.com Also licensed in Idaho. 
  • 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. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. Los Angeles area 310-404-1816 


  • Seattle Area


    • Michele Pomarico, LCSW. Experienced therapist helping individuals through major life transitions, difficult losses, and family building decisions. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. Seattle area 206-524-5066


    New York City & Surrounds

    • 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. American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Mental Health Professional Group member. New York 212-874-1318