The stability of psychological adjustment among donor-conceived offspring in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study from childhood to adulthood: differences by donor type

The adjustment of U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study offspring from childhood to adulthood by donor type.

VOLUME 115, ISSUE 5, P1302-1311


Nicola Carone, Ph.D., Nanette K. Gartrell, M.D., Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., Audrey S. Koh, M.D., Henny M.W. Bos, Ph.D.



To study differences by sperm donor type in the psychological adjustment of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) offspring across three time periods from childhood to adulthood.


U.S.-based prospective cohort study.


Paper-and-pencil questionnaires and protected online surveys.


A cohort of 74 offspring conceived by lesbian parents using an anonymous (n = 26), a known (n = 26), or an open-identity (n = 22) sperm donor. Data were reported when offspring were ages 10 (wave 4), 17 (wave 5), and 25 (wave 6).



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist administered to lesbian parents when offspring were ages 10 and 17 and the Achenbach Adult Self-Report administered to offspring at age 25.


In both relative and absolute stability, no differences were found in internalizing, externalizing, and total problem behaviors by donor type over 15 years. However, both externalizing and total problem behaviors significantly declined from age 10 to 17 and then increased from age 17 to 25. Irrespective of donor type, among the 74 offspring, the large majority scored continuously within the normal range on internalizing (n = 62, 83.8%), externalizing (n = 62, 83.8%), and total problem behaviors (n = 60, 81.1%).


The results reassure prospective lesbian parents and provide policy makers and reproductive medicine practitioners with empirical evidence that psychological adjustment in offspring raised by lesbian parents is unrelated to donor type in the long term.