Center for Marriage and Families

My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation

A Report Released Internationally by the Commission on Parenthood's Future
Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, Co-Investigators

Selected Media Coverage

Not surprisingly, [donor conceived] Americans have a complicated relationship to the reproductive marketplace that made their existence possible. Their inner lives are the subject of a fascinating study from the Institute for American Values . . .
—Ross Douthat, New York Times, May 30, 2010

[The] provocative study by the Commission on Parenthood's Future, titled "My Daddy's Name is Donor"...surveyed 485 donor offspring, concluded they were more troubled and depression-prone than other young adults in comparison groups, and recommended an end to anonymous sperm donation. The study's authors said they sought to ignite a debate, and they succeeded. . . .
—David Crary, Associated Press, August 12, 2010

A debate over the emotional implications of sperm donation on offspring (an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 are born each year) has developed recently in the wake of a controversial report from the Institute for American Values...
—Julia James, "Scope," the blog of the Stanford School of Medicine, 8/15/10

My Daddy's Name is Donor, a survey led by Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Children and Families at the Institute for American Values, is an unprecedented study of young adults conceived by sperm donation.
—Noelle Daly, in "Vial of Tears," The American Interest, Sep/Oct 2010

For more information about this study, or to schedule an interview with Elizabeth Marquardt or Karen Clark, please call 212-246-3942 or email

About Elizabeth Marquardt

Full Bio | CV | High Res Photo | Contact Elizabeth

Elizabeth Marquardt is editor of, where she also blogs. She is vice president for family studies and director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values in New York City. In spring 2013, she will be a lecturer in American Studies at Lake Forest College.

As an author and study investigator, Elizabeth Marquardt’s questions are animated by a deep curiosity about the family, bodies, bonding, and probing the voices of those not usually heard. She is author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown, 2005). Based on the first nationally-representative study of grown children of divorce in the U.S., she argues that while an amicable divorce is better than a bitter one, even amicable divorces shape the inner lives of children. She is co-investigator of the ground-breaking studies My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Via Sperm Donation and Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Dating and Mating Today. Her most recent report is One Parent or Five? A Global Look at Today’s New Intentional Families. She is currently co-investigating a project on Gen X caregiving and grieving with Institute affiliate scholar Amy Ziettlow.

Marquardt has appeared often on news programs including NBC’s Today show, CNN, ABC, FOX, CBS, and PBS and scores of radio programs including BBC World News and national and local NPR stations. She has published opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Slate, Huffington Post, The Atlantic online, and elsewhere. Her peer-reviewed single authored and co-authored chapters appear in Social Science Research, John Marshall Law Review, and Sociology of Religion, and in forthcoming volumes from New York University Press and Paradigm Press.

Marquardt holds a Master’s in Divinity and an M.A. in international relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in history and women’s studies from Wake Forest University. A frequent presenter to academic and professional groups in the U.S. and internationally, she is married to Lake Forest College politics professor Jim Marquardt, with two children.

About Norval D. Glenn

Norval D. GlennFull Bio | CV

Until shortly before his death on February 15, 2011, Norval D. Glenn was the Ashbel Smith Professor in Sociology and Stiles Professor in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a former editor of Contemporary Sociology and the Journal of Family Issues and served on the editorial boards of such journals as the American Sociological Review, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family, Demography, and Social Science Research. He was a beloved and generous colleague and is missed by us all.

About Karen Clark

Karen Clark found out at 18, after her dad had passed away, that she had been conceived through anonymous sperm donation in 1966. However, it wasn’t until after she had children of her own and realized that her donor-conceived status affects them as well, that she began to actively pursue more information about her biological father’s identity. Karen has been active in donor conception advocacy issues for the past 4 years by encouraging openness and identity release but acknowledges the inherent emotional, social, and ethical difficulties and challenges involved with the practice of donor conception.

Her story was published in the American Adoption Congress Newsletter (The Decree—vol. 23, no. 3, 2007) and she has written 2 essays for Voices of Donor Conception: Behind Closed Doors—Moving Beyond Secrecy and Shame. Karen spoke at the 11th Annual Institute for American Values Symposium (2006) at The New York City Bar Association in response to Elizabeth Marquardt’s study, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs; The World Youth Alliance Symposium on Assisted Reproductive Technologies and the Human Person (2008) at the United Nations, New York City; The Infertility Network’s seminar “Getting It Right: Putting Ethics at the Core of Gamete Donation Practice” (2008) in Toronto, Canada and the “Families Created through Donor and Surrogacy, Conversations for Parents” workshop in November 2009 in New York City.

Karen is a co-investigator, with Elizabeth Marquardt and Norval Glenn, of the My Daddy’s Name is Donor study (a representative, comparative study of young adults conceived through sperm donation) through the Institute for American Values.

About the Commission on Parenthood’s Future

The Commission on Parenthood’s Future is an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders who have come together to investigate the status of parenthood as a legal, ethical, social, and scientific category in contemporary societies and to make recommendations for the future.

Commission members convene scholarly conferences; produce books, reports, and public statements; write for popular and scholarly publications; and engage in public speaking. Its members include the following:

David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values
Don Browning, University of Chicago Divinity School (Emeritus)
Daniel Cere, McGill University (Canada)
Karen Clark,, co-investigator
Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago Divinity School
Maggie Gallagher, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
Norval D. Glenn, University of Texas at Austin, co-investigator
Robert P. George, Princeton University
Amy Laura Hall, Duke University
Timothy P. Jackson, Emory University
Kathleen Kovner Kline, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Suzy Yehl Marta, Rainbows Inc.
Elizabeth Marquardt, Institute for American Values, co-investigator
Mitchell B. Pearlstein, Center of the American Experiment
David Popenoe, Rutgers University (Emeritus)
Stephen G. Post, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University
Dave Quist, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
Luis Tellez, Witherspoon Institute
David Quinn, Iona Institute (Ireland)
Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School
W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia
John Witte, Jr., Emory University
Peter Wood, National Association of Scholars

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