News & Upcoming Events
In the News:
QUEER PARENT PERSPECTIVE: What does it is mean to be an LGBTQ parent planning a family? What does it mean for donor-conceived people (as kids and as adults) to grow up in queer families? Here is a parent's perspective.
DC DAD & OPENNESS: Vince Londini: Father of three children conceived by donor conception. Vince provides an important voice not heard enough in the media. See his commentary on openness in families with donor origins.
DC ADULTS SPEAK: Podcast Dibs: Welcome to the Family. Hear what it's like to come from a family created with the assistance of a sperm donor. Interviewer Aiden Wood talks with people who have a donor (some who share her donor!) and others from the world of donor-assisted family building.
Ongoing: Maia Midwifery support groups and classes on LGBTQ conception, pregnancy, childbirth and parenting in Seattle, Berkeley and online.
Second Thursday of each month:
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Study Findings: Scheib, J.E., Ruby, A. & Benward J. (2017). Who requests their sperm donor’s identity? The first ten years of information releases to adults with open-identity donors. Fertility & Sterility, 107, 483-493.
Commentary: The end of donor anonymity?
Contact among adults who share the same open-identity sperm donor: Joanna Scheib, Emily McCormick, Kaitlin Haupt, Sofia Meola, Alice Ruby & Jean Benward, American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, October 2018
Experiences of donor linking - Research and personal perspectives: Joanna Scheib, Louise Johnson, Deborah Dempsey, and a panel of donor-conceived people, recipient parents and donors, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), Australia, July 2018
Facilitating contact between donors & donor-conceived people: Lauri Pasch, Joanna Scheib & Ken Daniels, American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting, October 2017
Alice Ruby speaks with Mina Kim on KQED Forum along with Diane Tober, Daley Dunham & Ryan Kramer.
LezBeMommies: Alice Ruby shares "Everything you wanted to know about sperm banks," from screening donors to talking to your children about donor conception.
Interested in studies and ongoing compilations about family building with donor conception?
We just completed interviews with adults about their experiences of getting their TSBC donor's identity. Keep an eye out for the results and other studies with TSBC families.
Research studies and more happening outside TSBC.
News & Research Update
A message for you from Joanna Scheib, The Sperm Bank of California Research Director.
I hope you enjoy this update about our programs. As I wrote this, I found myself incredibly grateful to TSBC recipient and donor families, staff and Board. Whether I'm calling a parent for information about their child's birth, asking a donor-conceived adult if they want to share their experiences, or speaking with a donor from our program 25 years ago, you are an inspiring group of people who are leading the way to better practices in donor conception and healthier, happier families.
1. Research collaboration with IVF families 2. Study with parents from our Family Contact List 3. Want to connect with families who share your donor? 4. Adults with donors from the Identity-Release® Program
1. Research collaboration
We collaborated with the Family Communication Project (FCP) team, led by Dr. Martha Rueter at the University of Minnesota. The FCP team includes researchers from across the U.S. and the families who participate in FCP studies. Study findings indicate that sharing a family's origins (in this case, infertility) typically leads to child well-being. Some families, however, needed better support in how to share this information with their children. This study highlights the benefits of talking with a mental health professional before and/or after your child is born to make it easier to talk openly about your family's origin
2. Study with parents from our Family Contact List
We reached out to parents on the Family Contact List to learn about their experiences of contacting and getting to know families who share the same donor. We hoped parents would also share challenges, successes and suggestions to help guide other parents and donor-conceived adults as they join the List. The response was impressive. Within hours of emailing invitations, we received over 35 completed questionnaires!
Parents reflected on their experiences and relationships through in-depth interviews with well-known family researcher, Abbie Goldberg, PhD, and her team at Clark University. Interest in participating in the interviews was incredible. The team hoped to interview 35 respondents, actually completed 55 interviews and had to turn more people away! Findings are now available (see 3 Goldberg & Scheib articles). We are very grateful to all the parents who participated. Your enthusiasm and commitment to your families and to participating in research that can help so many families is overwhelming. Thank you!
3. Want to connect with families who share your donor?
If you have wondered about contacting other families who used the same donor, you may want to join our Family Contact List. Registering with our Family Contact List is available to parents of donor-conceived children and to donor-conceived adults (at least 18 years old). To join the list, we require that a request be made in writing by letter, email, or filling out the Family Contact List Form on our website. Simply send a written request (attention: Executive Director) that includes your child's full name (or yours, if you are a donor-conceived adult), date of birth and donor number. Please include your contact information and if you have any preferences or restrictions about contact. We'll add your name to our family registry, and when there's a match - that is, when another family who used the same donor asks to be put on the list - we'll put you in contact with each other. Please note that parents or donor-conceived adults must initiate this process themselves, as TSBC does not solicit families to register with the Family Contact List. Click here for more information.
4. Adults with donors from the Identity-Release® Program
We completed Phase 1 of our follow-up study on 10 years of information releases to adults with donors in the Identity-Release® Program. From September 1983 to August 1993, 256 families had a first born child with a donor in the Identity-Release® Program. Now 30 years later, we are seeing just over 35% of donor-conceived adults from eligible families making requests for their donor's identity. Specifically, in the first 10 years of releases, 85 adults made a request. (As of today over 200 have done so.) These adults ranged from 18-27 years, but most made their request around age 18, with over 90% doing so before the age of 22.
The process of information release requires several steps that can be completed (by the very motivated) in a few days, but on average takes adults about 1-2 months. Part of the process includes a brief interview with TSBC Executive Director, Alice Ruby. Analysis of these interviews indicated that the main driving factor behind the requests was curiosity. Adults reported wanting to know what the donor was like as a person, what he looked like and whether the donor-conceived adult shared any of his characteristics, saying things like "...to see who he is and what he does and what I got from him." They also mentioned feeling like obtaining this information could help them learn more about themselves.
One question focused on what adults hoped to gain from getting their donor's information. The majority responded that they might try to contact their donor. Interestingly, regardless of interest in donor contact, almost all adults expressed low-to-no expectations. One person put it this way, "[I] just want some questions answered, just want to know which parts of myself are from him." The majority - 76% - of the adults who made requests during the first 10 years completed the process and now have their donor's identity.
What's next? We are currently conducting follow-up interviews with these adults to learn what happens after donor information is released and to identify the extent to which the Identity-Release® Program is meeting the needs of our families. We look forward to sharing the results of this study with the TSBC community.
Seeking Study Participants and Contributors
The following are being conducted by individuals who are not affiliated with TSBC:
Family Building in Same-Sex Couples Study
Are you currently a member of a same-sex couple using fertility treatments (e.g., IUI or IVF) to form your family? If so, you are invited to participate in an IRB-approved study being conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University and the University of California, San Francisco. The study aims to examine family building experiences for same-sex couples. Participation involves both you and your partner. You each complete on online survey (30 minutes), then together complete an in-person interview (90 minutes) at a local university. You and your partner will receive $80 (total) for your participation.
- For more information, and to register for the study, click here
Using or Used Fertility Technology and/or Adoption to Have Children?
Lesbian women in monogamous unions for more than 6 months with the person with whom they plan to co-parent are invited to participate. Women can either be currently undergoing fertility technology or adoption or have been within the last year. Participants will be asked to describe their emotional experiences, coping strategies, social support and satisfaction with their medical personnel and/or social workers as they engage in fertility technology and/or adoption. The questionnaires will take between 20-50 minutes to complete.
Participants are eligible to enter a drawing for one of four $25.00 raffle prizes. It is hoped that responses will help improve services provided by medical personnel, social workers and psychotherapists.
The study is an IRB-approved dissertation research project by Karolyn K. Palmer, M.A, and Natalie Porter, Ph.D., at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco. Click here for more information about the study and/or to complete the survey. All responses will be anonymous upon return.