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Watch your wording with donor families

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2022 | Egg & Sperm Donation |

The decision to add to your California family with a sperm or egg donation is as rewarding as it is complicated. Surprisingly, one of the big hurdles to overcome is often just the wording. The terminology is often inconsistent, and not everyone has the same preferences.

Sensitivity to certain words

One of the most challenging vocabulary issues with sperm and egg donor families isn’t so much about legalese as it is handling potentially sensitive topics with care. It’s hard to tell how certain words are going to sound to a donor-conceived person (DCP). Learning a few key vocabulary terms will help you out significantly by providing alternative options when the mainstream nomenclature just doesn’t feel right.

People who have been conceived from donated gametes (genetic material) sometimes prefer not to use the word “donor.” The reasoning may vary, but oftentimes it stems from a feeling that this person didn’t donate anything to the DCP in the literal sense. If that’s the case, they might feel better calling them their biological parent because it’s a more accurate representation of their relationship.

Open up a conversation

If you’re unsure of which term to use, it’s best to ask questions. Just be open and sensitive while respecting the wishes of the DCP.

It’s also helpful to keep in mind that when someone is referred to as the biological parent, it doesn’t mean that they are parenting the child. This distinction may be important to make for DCPs who are in contact with their donor or biological parent.

Some of the most important phrases and abbreviations for donor families to own are:

  • Donor insemination (DI)
  • DNA testing
  • Donor Sibling Registry (DSR)
  • Gamete vendor
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Donor families have also gotten creative with how siblings refer to each other. There’s no shortage of options, whether they prefer to be called donor sibling, half-sibling or even dibling.