Families Created by Donor Insemination: Father-Child Relationships at Age 7

Polly Casey*, Vasanti Jadva, Lucy Blake, Susan Golombok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined the psychological well-being of fathers and father-child relationships in families with a 7-year-old child conceived by donor insemination. Twenty-four donor insemination families and comparison groups of 25 egg donation and 32 unassisted-conception families were assessed using a standardized interview and questionnaires administered to the father, and father-child dyads participated in an observational assessment of father-child interaction. On the basis of perspectives from Parental Investment Theory and stress-related models, it was expected that donor insemination fathers would show raised levels of psychological problems and a poorer quality of parenting and have more conflictual relationships with their children than genetically related fathers in egg donation and unassisted-conception families. These hypotheses were not supported by the findings. Instead, it seems that commitment to parenthood may be more important than genetic relatedness for positive father-child relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-870
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • family interaction
  • father-child relations
  • fatherhood
  • fertility/family planning/infertility
  • parenting styles


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