Searching for ‘relations’ using a DNA linking register by adults conceived following sperm donation

Frith, Lucy and Blyth, Eric and Crawshaw, Marilyn and van den Akker, Olga (2018) Searching for ‘relations’ using a DNA linking register by adults conceived following sperm donation. BioSocieties, 13 (1). pp. 170-189. ISSN 1745-8552

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This paper considers how sperm donor-conceived adults registered with a voluntary DNA linking register, UK DonorLink, constructed identity and relatedness by examining two areas: how their identity was affected by becoming aware that they were donor-conceived; and the process of searching for their donor and donor-conceived siblings. The views and experiences of donor-conceived adults has, until recently, been a neglected area. This study is the first to consider the experiences of those searching through a DNA-based register, and contributes to the growing literature on searching. This paper presents qualitative data from a questionnaire-based study with 65 adults conceived following sperm donation. It examines emerging linkages by investigating how ideas of relatedness, kinship and identity were enacted and how narrative certainties were moved and removed by opening up new conceptions of what it means to be ‘related’. Their knowledge of being donor-conceived was both a powerful disrupter and a consolidator of family relationships. No single story of being donor-conceived emerged – with competing narratives about the effects and implications for respondents’ kinship relationships and sense of identity. This study sheds light on how kinship relationships are negotiated and managed in adulthood by those conceived following sperm donation and how this can change over the life-course.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
Item ID: 22261
Notes on copyright: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in BioSocieties. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Frith, L., Blyth, E., Crawshaw, M., & van den Akker, O. (2017). Searching for “relations” using a DNA linking register by adults conceived following sperm donation. BioSocieties (2018) 13: 170. doi:10.1057/s41292-017-0063-2 is available online at:
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Depositing User: Olga Van Den akker
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 11:13
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2018 04:49

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