Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Non-biological mothers-Psychology, Lesbian mothers-Psychology, Artificial insemination, Human-Decision making, Queer, Lesbian, Parent, Mother, Genetic, Assisted reproduction, Sperm donor, Anonymous donor


This research explored the preferences and priorities of women selecting an anonymous sperm donor in order to start a family; it focused exclusively on the preferences of the non-genetically related parent in families headed by a two-woman couple. The study explored participants' views about the importance of 19 categories commonly used by cryobanks to classify sperm donors as well as the participants' rationale for their specific preferences. The researcher asked participants to rate their perception of the similarity of both preferred and avoided donor traits to themselves and their partners, as well as inquiring into any differences of opinion that the couple may have had when selecting a donor. Participants also were asked about some of their views and experiences specific to family, ethnicity, gender expression, and sexual orientation identity in order to determine possible correlations between these variables and donor preferences. The findings demonstrated three main themes: (1) there is great variety in which donor characteristics are prioritized and why, (2) participants often matched donor traits to themselves, but with some exceptions; and (3) participants' preferences, for the most part, followed general societal norms and perceptions of success. These three main themes were derived from qualitative and descriptive data collected from the participants.




vi, 118 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 88-90)