Secrets and disclosure in donor conception

Frith, Lucy, Blyth, Eric, Crawshaw, Marilyn and van den Akker, Olga ORCID logoORCID: (2018) Secrets and disclosure in donor conception. Sociology of Health and Illness, 40 (1) . pp. 188-203. ISSN 0141-9889 [Article] (doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12633)

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This paper considers the disclosure, sharing and exchange of information on being donor conceived within families, drawing on data from a study undertaken with donor-conceived adults registered with UK Donor Link (a voluntary DNA-linking register). It considers the narratives of how respondents found out they were donor-conceived and what events triggered disclosure of this information. It goes on to examine the role secrecy played in their family life and uses the concept of ‘display’ to explore how it affected their relationships with their immediate and extended family. Secrets are notoriously ‘leaky’ and we found complex patterns of knowing and uncertainty about whom in the family knew that the person was donor-conceived. We argue that what is kept secret and from whom provides insights into the multifaceted web of social relationships that can be created by donor-conception, and how knowledge can be managed and controlled in attempts to display and maintain family narratives of biogenetic connection.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
Item ID: 23127
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Frith, L. , Blyth, E. , Crawshaw, M. and Akker, O. (2018), Secrets and disclosure in donor conception. Sociol Health Illn, 40: 188-203. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12633, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
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Depositing User: Olga Van Den akker
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2017 16:17
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:16

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