Review: parent-child relationships and child development in donor insemination families

Hum Reprod Update. 2001 Jan-Feb;7(1):38-46. doi: 10.1093/humupd/7.1.38.


The present article reviews the empirical research regarding the parent-child relationships and the development of children in donor insemination (DI) families. Over the years, follow-up studies have appeared sporadically and, despite the varying quality of the research methods, preliminary findings have emerged. Heterosexual DI parents were psychologically well adjusted and had stable marital relationships. DI parents showed a similar or higher quality of parent-child interaction and a greater emotional involvement with their children compared with naturally conceived families. The majority of studies which investigated several aspects of child development found that, overall, DI children were doing well. Findings with regard to emotional/behavioural development, however, were divergent in that some studies identified an increase of such problems while others did not. A steadily growing group within the DI population is lesbian mother families. More recently, follow-up studies have been carried out among DI children who were raised from birth by two mothers. Despite many concerns about the well-being of these children, no adverse effects of this alternative family structure on child development could be identified. As the DI children in all investigations were still young, our knowledge about the long-term effects of DI remains incomplete.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Confidentiality
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous / psychology*
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Pregnancy
  • Self Concept