Exploring motivations, attitudes and experiences of oocyte donors: A qualitative study

Maria Buhl Borgstrøm, Siv S Nygaard, Anne K Danielsen, Ulrik S Kesmodel


INTRODUCTION: The demand for fertility treatment with donated oocytes is increasing in many European countries. In order to offer oocyte donors an attractive treatment, it is necessary to understand the views of the donors. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore how women who donate oocytes describe their motives and attitudes towards oocyte donation, as well as their experiences with oocyte donation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A qualitative study based on individual face-to-face interviews with 12 oocyte donors with a donor identity as either anonymous or open. Oocyte donors who had donated oocytes at least once were recruited from the fertility clinic at Herlev University Hospital, Denmark. Data were collected using a piloted, semi-structured interview guide and were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The analysis was handled in NVIVO 11 PRO.

RESULTS: The analysis resulted in three themes: (1) helping others, (2) the treatment, and (3) being an oocyte donor. The financial compensation had varying degrees of importance for the oocyte donors but was always secondary to the desire to help others. All participants were interested in knowing whether their donation had resulted in pregnancy or birth of a child. Many donors had not gained a full understanding of the realistic outcomes of their donation.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that oocyte donors are mainly motivated by altruism, and financial compensation was found to be a secondary motive. Further, political awareness could be directed toward particularly open donors and the need to provide information about the outcome of their donation. Finally, it seems that future oocyte donors, in a treatment with a high need for information, can benefit from clinicians giving more exact information in relation to the probability of the birth of a donor child.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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