Sharing the nature of the child's conception in families formed as a result of donor insemination: A study of the factors influencing parental decision-making in Germany
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Most parents do not disclose their use of donor insemination (Dr) to their child or to significant others. The reason for this has been associated with the stigma surrounding Dr and male infertility, the latter being the most common reason for the use of Dr. A number of jurisdictions have enacted legislation supporting information sharing, but this seems to have only limited impact on parental decision-making regarding Dr. The aim of this study was to understand the factors influencing parental decision-making in sharing information about Dr. The study was conducted in Germany, where legislation regarding DI is confusing and information sharing about DI not the norm. For this research study, a total of 46 respondents, representing 23 couples were interviewed both as individuals and as a couple. Semi-structured interviews were carried out and a feedback form administered. Results showed that both male infertility and DI were highly stigmatised conditions. Male infertility was associated with a lack of virility and perceived to be a humiliating experience. DI was considered to be "disgusting" and "suspicious" and only "silently accepted". Professional services were perceived to contribute to this stigma by withholding information about DI, misinforming clients or viewing DI negatively. Furthermore, the confusing legal framework was seen to corroborate the stigma. Despite this, most respondents had sufficient confidence to share their experience of male infertility with significant others. Also, most intended to share information about their use of DI with their future children, and some had already shared this with significant others. No negative reactions were reported as a result of disclosing the use of DI to others, but respondents were of the view that most people did not understand what DI entailed. This suggests that many factors, including individual confidence, public perceptions, professional advice, as well as the cultural climate and legislation, can influence parental decision-making about information sharing relating to Dr. In order to consider and understand parental decision-making, it is essential to analyse these micro, meso and macro-level factors. Change on all three levels is required in order to transform attitudes and beliefs about DI and to promote DI as a different, yet acceptable family building option.