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Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are used to help women become pregnant when they are unable to conceive through normal intercourse or to carry an infant to term. Techniques may include in vitro fertilization (IVF), sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, or other methods.

This list of resources focuses on psychological and social impacts of ART on children conceived via ART and on their families. The list also provides resources related to ethical and legal issues associated with ART. For the most part, resources on this list are available electronically at no charge.


Web Sites

American Fertility Association (AFA) (U.S.)
AFA is geared toward men and women confronting infertility issues and the physicians and therapists who serve them. The Website’s section on third-party options covers topics such as embryo donation, the frozen embryo dilemma, and talking with children about ovum or sperm donation and their IVF origins. An online blog explores support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families, IVF outcomes, and third-party reproduction.

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (U.S.)
This society’s online materials include ART consumer-information booklets, news, ethics committee reports, practice guidelines, and other reference and educational material, including a publication titled Annotated Bibliography for Children and Parents of Third Party Reproduction.

American Surrogacy Center (U.S.)
This consumer-oriented site provides 14 different online support groups, including one for parents of children born via ART.

ART: Talking to Children About Assisted Reproductive Technology (U.S.)
This site was developed by the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media as an educational tool for parents who have used ART and their children. The site includes audio clips and written transcripts from parents and children and advice on how to talk to children and adolescents about ART, secrecy vs. openness, and potential pitfalls. Also included are an ART timeline, definitions, links to related organizations, and recommended reading.

Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University
This library is an interdisciplinary and multi-format collection on ethical issues related to health care, biomedical research, biotechnology, and the environment. It includes special collections on genetics and ethics and a variety of digital archives. It provides reference services and database instruction at no charge to health care professionals, educators, students, and the general public.

Donor Conception Network (U.K.)
This network provides information and support to help parents openly discuss their children’s origins, whether through donor insemination or following treatment with donated gametes. The site includes annotated lists of books and links to resources. Some materials can be downloaded free of charge, including the “Telling and Talking” booklet series. Members can also join an online discussion forum.

Donor Conception Support Group (Australia)
Founded in 1993, this voluntary organization is made up of people who are considering or using donor sperm, eggs or embryos, those who already have children conceived on donor programs, adult donor offspring, and donors. The Website includes information sheets for potential gamete donors; information for gamete offspring; and updates on legislation in Australia related to ART.

Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) (U.S. and International)
DSR assists people conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation who seek mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. The Website provides links to clinics in the United States and several other countries and other tools to help users locate relatives. News, articles, and information on research studies are also posted on this site as well as personal stories.

Donor Unknown.
This 2010 Public Broadcasting Service documentary describes the efforts of adult children of a common sperm donor to find each other and the anonymous donor who was their father. The website describes the film and provides online access to it, lists resources for donor-conceived people and their families, and provides a talkback feature for viewer comments.

Family Equality Council (U.S.)
Formerly known as Family Pride, this national organization advocates for family equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer parents, guardians, and allies. Resources include publications, a directory of parent groups, a Family Equality wiki, federal legislation, and a blog.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (U.K.)
This organization is the United Kingdom’s independent regulator overseeing safe and appropriate practice in fertility treatment and embryo research. The Website provides online information (including fact sheets and leaflets) for consumers, donors and donor-conceived people and their families, clinic staff, and the media.

Infertility Network (U.K. and International, including U.S.)
This site provides links to documentaries, reports, and related information on donor conception and donor-conceived people in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, including the United States.

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Additional Resources

Journal articles

A rapidly expanding body of journal literature has focused on the mental- and emotional-health aspects of ART. This information can be researched in PubMed, the online database of the National Library of Medicine.

Use this automated PubMed search for more articles on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).

Online newsletters and journals

Bionews (U.K.)
This free-of-charge assisted-reproduction and human genetics news service is a product of the Progress Educational Trust. It includes daily news published online or delivered weekly via E-mail, commentaries (invited opinion pieces on ethical, social, and legal issues), and updates, book and event recommendations, overviews, and background information on news topics.

New York Times (U.S.)
This newspaper includes feature articles on the personal aspect of ART. Good search terms include “egg donor,” “sperm donor,” and “in vitro fertilization.”

Books and reports

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (U.S.). 2008. Effectiveness of Assisted Reproductive Technology. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This report reviews the evidence on the short- and long-term safety and effectiveness of interventions used for ovulation induction, superovulation, and assisted reproductive technologies and examines outcomes for mothers and children.

Arons J. 2007. Future Choices: Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Law. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. This report provides a basic overview of ART and discusses three primary areas in which legislators and courts have spoken to some degree (health insurance coverage, embryo disposition, and parentage determinations), including the policy implications of their decisions.

Clarke-Stewart A, Dunn J, eds. 2006. Families Count: Effects on Child and Adolescent Development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. A chapter of this book titled “New Family Forms,” by Susan Bolombok (pp. 273-298) examines various issues concerning child development and parenting within new family forms such as single mothers, surrogate mothers, and lesbian-mother families.

Covington SN, Burns LH, eds. 2006. Infertility Counseling: A Comprehensive Handbook for Clinicians. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. This handbook explores medical counseling issues, third-party reproduction, alternative family building, post-infertility counseling issues, and ART’s impact on children.

Marquardt E, Glenn, ND, Clark K. 2010. My Daddy's Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation. New York, NY: Institute for American Values. This report describes the results of a survey of adults between the ages of 18 and 45 whose mother used a sperm donor to conceive them. It discusses the young adults' attitudes, well-being, and concerns about themselves, their families, their unknown fathers, and reproductive technologies in general.

Mundy L. 2007. Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World. New York, NY, Knopf. This book  discusses the personal impacts on people using ART to conceive and the moral, ethical, and pragmatic decisions they make, as well as social consequences for family structure, schools, ideas of genetic relatedness, and the nation as a whole.

President’s Council on Bioethics (U.S.). 2004. Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies. Washington, DC: President’s Council on Bioethics (U.S.). This report includes discussion of the well-being of the children conceived via ART and of the mothers who give birth to them. Additional background papers and recommendations for oversight of IVF and ART are available at http://www.bioethics.gov/background/.

World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund, and Key Centre for Women's Health in Society. 2009. Mental Health Aspects of Women's Reproductive Health: A Global Review of the Literature. Geneva: World Health Organization. This document contains a brief section on parenthood after infertility and assisted reproduction.


For more information on this topic, use the MCH Library Advanced Search using the term Reproductive technologies.

Authors: Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., Beth DeFrancis Sun, M.L.S., MCH Library
November 2011