“The genetic link is not always the most important connection”


What makes a family? When talking about alternative family constellations, this question becomes very interesting. Despite the many challenges that can arise within this question, most people can agree that love is one of the most important factors when talking about a family bond.

Here Cryos share what being a family means from the perspective of a parent and a donor child…

Being a parent

There are many reasons as to why someone can be considered a parent, this can either be a genetic link, being a parent by intention while not sharing a genetic link, or perhaps you have a social link with your child.

Certainly, the genetic link is not always the most important connection and for many people it is not the determining factor. (See a short interview with Professor Veerle Provoost about parenthood and sperm donation here).

Today, more and more alternative family constellations are emerging and even more future parents are choosing to get help from a sperm donor in order to realise their dream of having a family.

The idea that there is no one perfect mould of what a family should look like provides diversity to our society and furthermore, it proves the fundamentality of love as being above genetic genes. It is important to instil into these families, confidence within their own abilities as parents, and to remind them that they are doing a fantastic job raising their children.

Being a donor child

Studies surrounding donor children have shown that donor conceived children are doing very well, and moreover that the children are well adjusted and are not seen as being any different than children from other families. (Watch a short interview with Professor Susan Golombok about the wellbeing of donor children here).

One great example is 22-year-old Emma Grønbæk from Denmark. She only knows half of her genetic origin because she was conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Growing up she always knew that she was donor conceived.

According to Emma, it is not a problem for her knowing only half of her genetic origin – although she has met people who think it is. She has always felt like the most wanted child on the planet because her parents went through so much in order to have her in their lives – a crucial point.

Emma believes that the most important thing is to be open and honest with your child when talking about being donor conceived. Her parents made her a book explaining the story of how she came to be which they then read to her as a bedtime story. It made it much easier for her to comprehend what it meant to be donor conceived and most importantly, it showed her how much her parents unconditionally love her.    

Read more about Emma’s story here.

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