A review of family donor constructs: current research and future directions

Olga van den Akker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review addresses research on gamete donors, recipients, and offspring and demonstrates that the foci on all three within the triad are largely directed at disclosure or anonymity; and each in turn centers on the perceived importance of the genetic link. The importance attached to genetics has led some countries to review the ethics of anonymous gamete donation (e.g. New Zealand's 'open system' of information sharing) and has led other countries (Sweden, Austria, Victoria, Australia; the Netherlands, the UK) to change their laws allowing donor gamete offspring the right to obtain identifying information about their genetic parent. This review demonstrates that genealogical inconsistencies between and within members of the triad are common regardless of legislation. A discussion of future trends and concerns, relating to the use of gamete donation and the effects legislation is likely to have on the donor triads in the UK following 2005, is provided. The review also addresses the importance of testing theoretical models within future research, and argues this would lead to a better understanding of the underlying problems encountered at a psychosocial level, such as continued preference for anonymity in donors and denial in large numbers of users of the involvement of a donor in conception. Lack of disclosure effectively prevents true implementation of legislation; if a child is not informed, it is the result of donated gametes, it cannot take up the legally available option of finding out identifiable information about their genetic parent(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2006


  • donors
  • gametes
  • genealogy
  • offspring
  • recipients


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