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Recipient Experiences with Donor Insemination


In 2000, we completed a study of how TSBC recipients choose donors, why some recipients decide to leave a DI program prior to having a child and whether TSBC parents plan to tell their children about their donor origins. We also examined why recipients chose TSBC. Data were collected through anonymous phone interviews.

As reported in Reproductive Technologies

  • Participants strongly preferred donors who participated in our Identity-Release® Program & who resembled their partner both physically and in personality.
  • Matching to one's partner could take precedence over whether or not the donor was identifiable to donor-conceived adults.
  • Anonymous donors were sometimes considered safer for the family, when laws and/or societal views challenged a non-biological mother's or father's parental status.  
  • Parents were very likely to tell their children about their family's donor origins (95% planned to do so).
  • Participants who stopped trying to conceive did so for reasons related to aging and medical problems. Some also reported stopping because they found the DI process too emotionally difficult.

Participants also shared why they chose TSBC

  • Our Identity-Release® Program
  • TSBC provides extensive information about donors
  • TSBC provides free fertility information and resources
  • TSBC is professional and reliable
  • TSBC provides a non-judgmental environment in which to create a family and practices a policy of non-discrimination that promotes individual choice and control over the insemination process


TSBC recipients approach their DI process with plans for openness. Most choose donors in the Identity-Release® Program and plan to tell their children about their donor origins. Results also reveal that DI can be challenging, with some recipients ending their attempts to conceive because of health problems and/or finding the process difficult emotionally.



The Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada provided support for this research. We thank the study participants for taking the time to share their experiences with us.


  • Scheib, J.E., Riordan, M. & Shaver, P.R. (2000). Choosing Between Anonymous and Identity-Release® Sperm Donors: Recipient and Donor Characteristics. Reproductive Technologies (now Reproductive BioMedicine Online), 10, 50-58.
  • Scheib, J.E., Steele, A.C., Shaver, P.R. & Riordan, M. (2000b). Why Leave a Donor Insemination Program Before Conceiving? Fertility & Sterility, 74 (supplement 1), S190.