Emerging Ideas: Personal identity and mother–child relationship: Experiences of young adults raised by single mothers by choice

Yisca Huri*, Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz, Ruth Landau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: This qualitative study examined the experiences of young adults raised by single mothers by choice and the way the circumstances of their upbringing have modeled their personal identity and mother–child relationships. Background: Being conceived through anonymous sperm donation may create uncertainty among children and young adults. However, there is little research on the implications of this situation from the perspective of young adults. Method: In-depth narrative interviews were conducted with 21 young Israeli adults born to single mothers by choice as a result of anonymous sperm donation. Results: The findings revealed several themes regarding the relationship with the mother, including her image as influential, exclusive, and deeply invested in the relationship. The interviews highlighted anxiety of abandonment and dependency on the mother, who was presented as both powerful and vulnerable or dependent on her child. Participants expressed mix of appreciation and anger toward their mothers' decision. They often conveyed that their mothers had openly and transparently discussed the circumstances surrounding their birth. Conclusion: The experience of children of single mothers by choice conceived by sperm donation is complex, including mixed feelings regarding their relationship with their mother and the effects of the father's absence on their life and identity. Implications: The findings underscore the importance of considering anonymity in sperm donation within policy and bioethical research. Additionally, they carry implications for interventions aimed at supporting single-mother-by-choice families.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalFamily Relations
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Family Relations published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Council on Family Relations.

Keywords

  • anonymous sperm donation
  • mother–child relationship
  • narrative
  • personal identity
  • single mothers by choice
  • young adults

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