This study involved 46 recipients and donors in personal donor programmes interviewed anonymously by postal questionnaire and interview: 38% (30/80) of possible recipients responded. The total number of people told about the donor involvement ranged between two and 78, with no significant gender difference. Relationships had changed for half of the participants in the programmes with 75% reporting that they had developed a closer relationship and 25% reporting a deterioration. Contact between couples and donors was seen as being in the original role of family friend or relative rather than as donor. An equal proportion of recipients (63%) and donors (78%) agreed to the donor being identified to any offspring although this was qualified with regard to the age of the child. Reasons for identification were given as avoidance of family secrets and the rights of the child to have information concerning their conception. Those who did not agree said that the child was better off not knowing, or who wished to preserve donor anonymity. The donor group was more likely than the recipients to say that identification to the child was in the best interests of the social parents because it allowed all those involved to feel part of a single family group. It was found that for both recipients and donors, the advantages given for having a personal donor was openness within the relationship. For the recipients, this focused on knowledge of the donor background and, for related couples, having a common genetic relationship. For donors, the advantages given were: knowing the child's environment, having access to a child and the ability to choose recipients. A disadvantage for donors and recipients was the possibility of a change in the relationship and for donors an added disadvantage was having to share in the emotional stress of the treatment and negative outcomes. More men than women placed importance on having a donor with a similar genetic background.
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