What is a known donor?

For our purposes, we define known donors as donors that are known to the parents (friends, family members, acquaintances) personally.This does not include identity-release donors through a sperm bank.


What should I expect in my interview?


Interviews are done either in person at your home, at Smith College, or on the phone/Skype/Facetime at the preference of the participant.  We try to always interview in a team of two, and will let you know in advance which members of our team will interview you.  Prior to your interview, you will receive an e mail with our prompt question and some basic information about the interview.  Our project is narrative, so the major question is for you to "tell us your known donor story".  After that part of the interview is complete, we ask follow up questions based on our interview guide and your initial thoughts. At the very end, we will ask some basic demographic questions. The interview will be audio recorded. 

What if I don’t identify as a lesbian?

You do not have to identify as a lesbian to participate in this study! We are interested in the family dynamics that take place in lesbian families, but we recognize that the individuals who make up these families may identify as bisexual, pansexual, queer, or a host of other possibilities.

Does my relationship count as a lesbian relationship?

We are interested in capturing a diverse and complex picture of known donor families. Thus, our definition of lesbian family is broad and self-selective; if you feel like this may describe you, we invite you to participate.

Do I need to be in a relationship to participate?

No, we invite single mothers with children conceived from a known donor to participate as well.

What if my donor / family doesn’t want to be interviewed?

While we would ideally have as many family members as possible, we also want to collect as many stories as possible. Feel free to volunteer even if you’re not sure your donor or other family members will be able to participate.

What if my partner doesn’t want to be interviewed?

We are interested in collecting as many stories as possible. Please feel free to volunteer even if you think your partner will not want to be interviewed.


Will my participation be anonymous?


If you prefer to keep your identity private, we will guarantee your confidentiality. For more detail, check out our consent forms here





Frequently Asked Questions

The Known Donor Project