The Open UniversitySkip to content

Receiving, or ‘Adopting’, Donated Embryos to Have Children: Parents Narrate and Draw Kinship Boundaries

Tasker, Fiona; Gubello, Alessio; Clarke, Victoria; Moller, Naomi; Nahman, Michal and Willcox, Rachel (2018). Receiving, or ‘Adopting’, Donated Embryos to Have Children: Parents Narrate and Draw Kinship Boundaries. Geneaology, 2(3), article no. 25.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (2MB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Existing research suggests that embryo donation (ED) may be seen as similar to adoption by those who donate or receive embryos, or it may not. Our qualitative study explored whether having a child via embryo donation initiated kinship connections between embryo donor and recipient families as interpreted by recipient parents. Interviews were conducted with five parents from four families whose child(ren) had been born via embryo donation. All four families had an open-contact relationship set up with the couples who donated their embryos through an agency in the USA. Narrative thematic analysis of interview data and visual family map drawings were used to explore kinship conceptualizations. We conclude that the dilemma experienced by parents who have a child via embryo donation is to decide how to reconcile their child’s different genetic heritage, when gestation and upbringing both clearly boundary family membership solely within the recipient family. While some families were still struggling with this dilemma, one solution embarked upon by some parents when drawing their family map was to expand family membership, not only on the basis of genetics, but also via an appreciation of shared family and community values too.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 The Authors
ISSN: 2313-5778
Keywords: embryo donation; open-contact adoption; genealogy; genograms; family relationships; kinship; qualitative research methods
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Health and Wellbeing PRA (Priority Research Area)
Item ID: 56666
Depositing User: Naomi Moller
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2019 15:18
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU