Sperm donor conception and disclosure to children: A 10-year retrospective follow-up study of parental attitudes in one French CECOS centre

Most parents with donor-conceived offspring had already disclosed their use of donated spermatozoa to their children or intended to disclose it; and had consistent attitudes after birth compared with their intentions before using assisted reproductive technologies.

Volume 108, Issue 2, Pages 247–253


Thierry Lassalzede, B.Sc., Marine Paci, M.D., Jocelyne Rouzier, B.Sc., Sophie Carez, B.Sc., Audrey Gnisci, M.D., Jacqueline Saias-Magnan, M.D., Carole Deveze, M.D., Jeanne Perrin, M.D., Ph.D., Catherine Metzler-Guillemain, M.D., Ph.D.



To evaluate the percentage of parents in one French center for the study and preservation of eggs and sperm who disclose their use of donated spermatozoa to their children.


A questionnaire survey of couples who had a child using donated spermatozoa.


University hospital laboratory.


One hundred five couples.


Questionnaire sent by mail.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The percentage of parents who disclose their use of donated spermatozoa to their child.


Among the 157 questionnaires sent, 105 couples answered, which corresponded to 138 children. There were 40 (38%) couples who had already disclosed the donor origin to their child and 65 (62%) who had not. Of the 40 couples who disclosed the donor origin, 37 (93%) had intended to do so before making use of assisted reproductive techniques (ART), but two (5%) had not wanted to do so before ART. Among the 65 couples who did not inform their child, 42 (65%) planned to inform their child soon, but 20 (31%) wanted to keep the sperm origin secret. Of the 20 couples who wanted to keep the origin secret, nine couples had told other persons about the gamete donation but had not informed their child and do not intend to inform their child in the future.


This first report about disclosure attitude in a large cohort of parents of donor-conceived offspring in France showed that most parents had already disclosed their use of donated spermatozoa to their children or intended to disclose it soon and had an attitude after birth consistent with their intentions prior to ART.

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Go to the profile of Daniel Kaser, MD
over 5 years ago

Congratulations to the authors on a well-written study that evaluates disclosure to children of donor sperm conception in France over a 10-year period. While only a minority of patients (40/135, 38%) had already disclosed to their children, an additional 42 planned to do so soon. This contribution adds to the growing literature about the importance of discussing intent of disclosure at the time of consultation, as most couples had consistent attitudes before and after treatment.  Notably, in France only heterosexual couples are allowed to use donor sperm and only anonymous donation is legal, so these findings are not generalizable to single women, same-sex female couples, known sperm donation and identity-release. 

Questions for the authors: 1) In your center's experience, do any interventions or counseling methods about disclosure at the time of consultation influence a couple's choice to disclose, or do these attitudes seem 'fixed'? 2) In France is there any ongoing advocacy movement or political appeal to allow single women and lesbian couples to use donor sperm?