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Gamete Donation Donors and Offspring


17 October 2007

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Washington, DC – Research from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine today revealed that egg donors are motivated both by a desire to help infertile couples and the compensation offered. Children of donors, and their parents, who attempted to find other off spring from the same sperm donor were most often motivated simply by curiosity.

Approximately 100 egg donors responded to a survey about their experiences. More than 2/3 (68%) responded that a desire to “help someone have a family” was the most important reason they served as a donor. For 29% of the respondents, financial compensation was the primary reason, and 3% reported “someone in the family/friend had infertility” and that was why they donated. All the respondents said they would donate again, 50%of them said they would donate again even without compensation. Nearly 9 of 10 (89%) said they would donate even if they could not be anonymous as donors.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge (UK) gave an on-line questionnaire to people who had participated in the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) a US-based web site that helps donor offspring find other offspring of the same donor. The largest number of respondents (801) were parents of donor offspring. Curiosity was listed by 27% of the parents as the reason why they wanted to find their children’s half-siblings. The next most common response was “to give my child a more secure sense identity” which was cited by 17%of the parents.

In addition, 65 adult children of donors responded to the survey. As with the parents, curiosity was the most commonly cited reason for looking for half-siblings. Donors who responded (n=65) also were primarily motivated by curiosity.

“Sperm and egg donation are a crucial therapeutic option for infertility patients. This research will help us better understand how to counsel patients and donors as they make decisions about gamete donation,” said Steven J. Ory, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

P-433, Jadva et al, Searching for Donor Relationships: The Experience of Donor Conception Offspring, Parents, and Donors

O-26, Fusillo and Shear, Motivations, Compensation and Anonymity in Oocyte Donors from 38 ART Centers in the United States

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, founded in 1944, is an organization of more than 8,000 physicians, researchers, nurses, technicians, and other professionals dedicated to advancing knowledge and expertise in reproductive biology. Affiliated societies include the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, The Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and the Society of Reproductive Surgeons.

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Date Added: 17 October 2007   Date Updated: 17 October 2007
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Susan Pompea   20 October 2007

When I wrote my thesis in 2005 (Openness and Anonymity in Sperm Donor Selection: The Social Construction of Families) I discovered that if given a choice between using a sperm donor who had agreed to release his identity (usually when his donor conceived child was 18 years of age or older) or an anonymous donor, the women would choose the identity release donor over an anonymous donor. Of course, some women want an anonymous donor or don't care if the donor agrees to identity release or not. I haven't seen the questionnaire that was used for this study, so I don't know what options were given or how the researchers defined "curiosity". What makes a family? Is it being genetically related, is it living with each other, caring about each other or knowing who is related to each other?

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