"Public" perceptions of gamete donation: a research review

Public Underst Sci. 2009 Jan;18(1):61-77. doi: 10.1177/0963662507078396.


This paper reviews the literature on "public" perceptions of the practice of gamete (egg and sperm) donation in the treatment of infertility. Despite regular "consultation" exercises in the UK on the manner in which infertility treatments should be regulated, there is little sense of how a range of public groups respond to developments in this area. The key themes from thirty-three articles, chapters and reports are discussed. The review reveals the limited nature of our current knowledge of public understandings of and attitudes towards gamete donation as a form of infertility treatment which has been readily available and widely practiced for many years. The review is critical of the methodological and epistemological basis of much of the work in this area and argues that there is a strong case for social scientific research to attempt to capture the perceptions of a wider range of people who are rarely included in formal public consultations and often similarly excluded from research studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility / therapy
  • Male
  • Oocyte Donation / psychology*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Spermatozoa*
  • Tissue Donors / psychology*
  • United Kingdom