The Donor Conceived Adult: Implications Within Family, Medicaland Mental Healthcare Systems
Introduction: The utilization of alternative approaches to creating families, including the use of donors and embryo adoptions has increased exponentially in recent years. Previously, adoption and donor conception were kept secret from the offspring, but with the recent popularity of commercial DNA testing, large numbers of individuals are discovering for the first time as adults that they were donor-conceived (DC) decades prior. As DC adults are increasingly likely to present to mental health professionals for this or other unrelated issues, an understanding of the DC adult, particularly within the context of the family, the treatment, and across healthcare systems is critical.
Method and Results: This article discusses current knowledge of the experience of DC adults and their functioning within family, therapeutic, and healthcare systems. Although major pathology has not been identified in this group, they demonstrate a unique set of challenges and strengths. More research is critical to characterizing these individuals for the purposes of developing interventions as reproductive medicine continues to expand the use of methods like donor conception. Discussion: DC adults represent a rapidly growing group of individuals with distinct needs within family systems and healthcare. As mental healthcare systems have become better equipped to meet the needs of prospective parents who are likely to utilize these alternative methods of conception, including individuals with infertility, same-sex couples, and single parents, we must also prepare to support current and future generations of offspring who were conceived using these methods.