Should people who were conceived by donated sperm or egg be allowed to learn who the donors were?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
August 08, 2022, 7:23 PM GMT+0

A recently-passed bill in Colorado gives people who were conceived via donor sperm or donor egg the legal right, when they turn 18, to learn the donors’ identity. Colorado is the first state in the U.S. to pass such a bill, though other countries have passed similar legislation.

A recent YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens asked Americans whether they believe donor-conceived people should be able to learn their donors’ identities, and what impact this change could have on the number of people willing to donate sperm or eggs.

The majority of Americans (55%) say people who were conceived with the use of sperm or egg donors should have a legal right to receive information on their donors’ identities after turning 18. About half as many (24%) disagree, and 22% are unsure.

Women are slightly more likely than men to believe people conceived with the help of a donor should eventually have access to information about the donors' identities (58%, compared to 51%).

People who are parents (58%) are more likely than people who are not parents (49%) to believe children of donors should have access to their donors’ identities. Mothers are more likely (63%) than fathers (52%) to believe this.

One concern raised around the Colorado bill has been the belief that it will make people less likely to donate sperm or eggs. Among Americans, 45% say requiring information on donors’ identities to be disclosed if requested would decrease the number of people who are willing to be donors. Americans who are 65 and older are especially likely to say this, at 51%, compared to 43% of Americans under 65. About one-quarter (24%) of Americans don’t believe requiring disclosure would have this effect, and 31% are unsure.

On the topic of donating their own sperm or eggs in exchange for financial compensation (assuming they were physically capable of doing so), Americans are split. While 39% say they haven’t donated but they would consider it, 40% say they would not consider doing this. One in 20 Americans (5%) have already donated sperm or eggs in exchange for compensation, and 16% are unsure.

Men (44%) are more likely than women (35%) to say they would consider donating. Nearly half of women (48%) say they would not consider donating their eggs. Men (6%) are a little more likely than women (3%) to say they’ve already donated. The process for donating eggs is more time-consuming and involved than the process for donating sperm.

Americans under 30 also are more likely than older Americans to say they would consider donating sperm or eggs, at 48%. One in 11 people between 18 and 29 years old (9%) say they’ve already donated eggs or sperm. Slightly fewer 30- to 44-year-olds (42%) or 45- to 64-year-olds (41%) say they haven’t donated, but would consider doing so. The percentage of people 65 and older who hold this opinion is 26%.

There also is a noticeable partisan split on this question. While 46% of Republicans say they would not consider donating, only 35% of Democrats share this view.

— Carl Bialik, Linley Sanders, and Taylor Orth contributed to this article.

Related: How often do Americans think parents and non-parents regret their choices?

This poll was conducted on June 10 - 14 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this YouGov poll.

Image: Getty

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