Yee, Samantha, Blyth, Eric and Tsang, A.K.T. (2011) Oocyte donors’ experiences of altruistic known donation: a qualitative study. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 29 (4). pp. 404-415. ISSN 0264-6838

Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the experiences of women who had donated oocytes to a known recipient. Background: Altruistic known donation between friends or family members is the predominant form of oocyte donation in Canada due to legal prohibition of donor compensation.

Methods: Data were collected from a hospital-based IVF clinic located in a Canadian city. Semi-structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim.

Results: Fifteen donors took part in the study either face to face or by phone interview. Among them, seven were a friend, six were a sister, one was a niece of the recipient, and one donated twice, once to her sister and once to a friend. Nine donations had resulted in a live birth – from newborn to seven years at the time of interview. Of these, four were intra-familial donation and five were friend-to-friend donation.

Conclusions: The findings provide little evidence of relationship difficulties between donor and recipient during or following the donation and no evidence of coercion. Other than an altruistic desire to help a recipient and a self-evaluation of her own capacity to donate, the welfare of the intended child was in the mind of most donors during the decision-making phase.

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