Martin, Nina Marie (2008) Negotiating relationships: exploring the psychosocial experience of egg donation using a known donor. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The main aim of this research was to explore the experience of known egg
donation in order to identify the psychosocial issues involved. Previous
research into known egg donation remains sparse, with the majority of studies
focusing on the psychological aspects of treatment, providing largely
quantitative information about the practice. In addition to the purely
psychological, the current research acknowledges the importance of social
factors, highlighting the psychosocial implications of known egg donation for
those involved.
The study took a hermeneutic phenomenological approach in an effort to
understand and interpret participants’ experience of known egg donation
through the use of language during interviews. The research was conducted in
two distinct phases. During Phase One, semi-structured interviews were
conducted with counsellors in UK licensed treatment centres and analysed
using a version of thematic analysis. During Phase Two, known egg donors,
recipients and the partners of recipients were interviewed in-depth and
analysed using a voice-centred relational approach. Following the
identification of a number of key themes, the data collected during both
phases were synthesized to enable the identification of the psychosocial
implications of known egg donation.
The main findings highlighted the importance of negotiating relationships
before, during and after the donation. Key psychosocial issues identified are:
the existence of pressure (both overt and covert) within the donor-recipient
relationship, defining and maintaining clear relationship boundaries,
involvement of male partners, relationship changes, and a continued
renegotiation of relationships in the longer-term. The psychosocial implications
identified emphasise the need for counsellors to: adopt a relationally-focused
approach within their work, promote the best interests of the families involved,
work with all those involved in the donation throughout the donation process
and beyond, encourage ongoing discussion surrounding the implications of
secrecy and disclosure, and ensure consistency of psychosocial care.

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