Sperm and oocyte donors' experiences of anonymous donation and subsequent contact with their donor offspring

Hum Reprod. 2011 Mar;26(3):638-45. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deq364. Epub 2010 Dec 21.


Background: This study examined the motivations and experiences of anonymous donors who decide to make themselves open to contact with their donor offspring.

Methods: Online questionnaires were completed by 63 sperm donors and 11 oocyte donors recruited via the Donor Sibling Registry (http://www.donorsiblingregistry.com/), a US-based international registry that facilitates contact between donor-conceived offspring and their donors.

Results: Donors' main reasons for donating were financial payment and wanting to help others. Sperm donors had donated between 1 and 950 times (median = 100) and oocyte donors had donated between 1 and 5 times (median = 2). The majority of sperm donors and more than one-third of oocyte donors expressed concerns about having donated. These concerns were mainly about the well-being of any children conceived using their gametes and not being able to make contact with them. Most sperm and oocyte donors felt that it was important to know how many offspring had been born using their donation, and 51% of sperm donors and 46% of oocyte donors wanted identifying information. All of the donors who had contact with their donor offspring reported positive experiences and the majority continued to have regular contact.

Conclusions: Although the sample may not be representative of all anonymous donors, this study highlights the importance of donors having access to information about their donor offspring and the positive consequences that may arise when contact is made.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Attitude to Health
  • Confidentiality / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous / psychology*
  • Internet
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Oocyte Donation / psychology*
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue Donors / psychology*
  • Young Adult