TangledWebs UK

A group challenging donor-conception practices in the UK and internationally

Support for donor-conceived people

How to understand why you feel bad about being donor-conceived

I don't recognise myself when I look in the mirror

Tom writes:

When I look in the mirror I don't recognise myself. I don't look like any member of my mother's family. Who am I? I don't know. I struggled to understand these feelings for a long time, particularly because we're often told these days 'looks don't matter'. Well looks do matter! It is important to feel you fit somewhere, with people like you.

When I read the following paragraph in an academic report[1] I felt affirmed.

One of the most frequent things thought about by over 80% of people was wondering what their birth relatives looked like, and whether they might look like their birth relative. This need to find and connect with people who might look and behave like you was a surprisingly strong theme throughout much of the research, suggesting the presence of some basic atavistic force.

It is important to feel you are connected to your family by physical features, not just upbringing.

[1] Open adoption records, the human rights of adopted people, and discrimination: the case of Odièvre v France 2003, Julia Feast & David Howe

Articles about other donor-conceived people

Starting points for finding your missing parent

Donor Sibling Registry

This site is US-focused, but has international scope. Donor-conceived people and former "sperm donors" can register on the site. People can make contact with each other if they think they are related. You have to pay a fee to register, but it's a useful resource.

The Donor Conceived Register (UK)

For people conceived in the UK. It is a closed register which makes matches based on DNA testing. It is expensive for donor conceived people to join (about £80) but it is a one off fee and you get tested against every other member of the register.


Along the same lines as the Donor Sibling Registry, but with more individual detail.