Direct-to-consumer genetic testing and the changing landscape of gamete donor conception: key issues for practitioners and stakeholders

Leah Gilman, Caroline Redhead, Nicky Hudson, Marie Fox, Petra Nordqvist, Fiona MacCallum, Jackson Kirkman-Brown, Lucy Frith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research question: What effect does direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) have on information finding and sharing in relation to gamete donor conception? Design: This study used in-depth qualitative interviews with parents through donor conception, donors, the relatives of donors and donor-conceived people who have used, or considered using, DTCGT. Interviews were conducted between September 2021 and February 2023. Sixty people defined themselves as having been affected by donor conception and DTCGT. Fifty-seven of these were resident in the UK at the time of interview. The final sample included 19 (spermatozoa, egg or embryo) donors, 25 donor-conceived people, 20 parents through donor conception and two relatives of donors. Five participants occupied more than one of these roles. Results: The rise of DTCGT is affecting how information about donor conception is managed: it shifts patterns of knowledge about donor conception; increases flexibility regarding the age of access to information about donor relatives; can lead to a growing role for non-professionals, including wider family members, in gatekeeping information about donor conception; accentuates the effect of donor conception for donors’ and the relatives of donor-conceived people; and shapes, and is shaped, by the formal regulatory donor information management systems. Conclusion: Fertility professionals should inform people using, or considering, donor conception, or (potential) donors, about the different ways DTCGT can affect sharing information about donor conception. Support is needed for those affected by these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103421
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • anonymity
  • direct to consumer genetic testing
  • gamete donation
  • information giving
  • secrecy


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