Exploring parents’ feelings about counseling in donor sperm treatment

<p><b>Introduction:</b> How do parents feel about psychosocial counseling during donor sperm treatment?</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> We performed a qualitative study based on semi-structured in-depth interviews, conducted from July 2012 until August 2013, with 24 Dutch parents who had had children through donor sperm treatment between 2000 and 2012.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> During counseling, parents sometimes felt screened for their eligibility for parenthood rather than guided, and therefore felt discouraged about bringing up topics that were important for them. Parents of all family types would value extended psychological counseling before and after successful donor sperm treatment, that is in several stages of parenthood. Only after childbirth topics such as disclosure, fear of rejection of the social parent and future contact of the child with the sperm donor became more pertinent.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> Both before and after childbirth, parents of all family types would value expert advice on when and how to disclose. Psychosocial guidance should be offered separately from psychosocial screening for treatment eligibility and should be offered in several stages of parenthood.</p>