STORIES Project : Self, Transmission, Origins, Representations, and Identity among Donor-Conceived Teenagers and their Families

The future of children born thanks to sperm donation, their viewpoint on the particular circumstances of their conception, the identity issues that result, and the relationships they have with their parents—these are at the heart of current scholarly concerns. However, we know very little about how these young people make sense of the circumstances related to their birth, because most studies on the subject interview adults who are retrospectively analyzing their reactions in adolescence, or parents who are reporting their perception of their children’s reaction after disclosure. This project consists of working to better understand the way teenagers conceived via sperm donation integrate the narrative of their conception as well as their subjective sense of identity. To achieve this, we analyze the narratives of a group of young people growing up in families with heterosexual, lesbian and single parents, and we compare their narratives with their parents’ point of view. This triangulation helps add nuance and increase the validity of the results, allowing us to bring out a broad and original understanding of these families.

The results provide a better understanding of the issues that arise when people start a family with the help of sperm donation, both for adolescents and for their parents. This study also identifies promising courses of action for updating the practices of people working in fertility clinics who are assessing couples who are seeking gamete donation.

This project is led by principal researcher Isabel Côté (UQO), with co-researchers Sabrina Zeghiche (UQO), Raphaële Noël (UQAM), Kévin Lavoie (U Laval), Katherine Péloquin (U de Montréal), Christine Gervais (UQO) and Diane Dubeau (UQO).

This project was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) [Savoir 2018–2023].

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