Objective: To examine the psychosocial effects of donor insemination on couples.
Design: Questionnaire survey of couples who had a child by donor insemination at four NSW clinics over a 15-year period.
Results: Forty-seven per cent of couples thought their marriage had improved, while 3% thought their marriage had deteriorated as a result of having a child by donor insemination. Seventy-six per cent felt it had a positive personal effect and almost all couples had no regrets about having a child this way. Over 90% of respondents felt very close to these children. In those who also had children not conceived by donor insemination (60 couples), men were significantly closer to their children by donor insemination than to their "other" children (P < 0.001). There was a significant sex difference in perceptions of the child's resemblance (P < 0.0001): 61% of women thought their child conceived by donor insemination resembled their partner, while 89% of men thought the child resembled their partner. Twenty-one per cent of couples were concerned about having to tell the child about donor insemination.
Conclusion: Donor insemination can have positive psychosocial effects on couples and close relationships exist between the parents and their children conceived by donor insemination. The concern about the physical appearance of children conceived by donor insemination can be allayed by our finding that the majority of couples see a resemblance between the child and their partner.