A comparison of the characteristics, motivations, preferences and expectations of men donating sperm online or through a sperm bank.
Human reproduction (Oxford, England)
Oxford University Press
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Graham, S., Freeman, T., & Jadva, V. (2019). A comparison of the characteristics, motivations, preferences and expectations of men donating sperm online or through a sperm bank.. Human reproduction (Oxford, England), 34 (11), 2208-2218. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez173
Abstract: STUDY QUESTION: How do the demographic characteristics, motivations, experiences and expectations of unregulated sperm donors (men donating sperm online through a connection website) compare to sperm donors in the regulated sector (men donating through a HFEA registered UK sperm bank)? SUMMARY ANSWER: Online donors were more likely to be older, married and have children of their own than sperm bank donors, were more varied in their preferences and expectations of sperm donation and had more concerns about being a sperm donor. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Whilst studies have examined motivations and experiences of both regulated sperm bank, and unregulated online sperm donors, no study has directly compared these two groups of donors. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: An online survey was conducted over a 7 week period and completed by 168 men who were registered sperm donors at the London Sperm Bank, the UK’s largest sperm bank. The responses were compared to those of 70 men who were online sperm donors on Pride Angel, a large UK based connection website for donors and recipients of sperm, who had completed a similar survey. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The survey obtained data on the sperm donors’ demographic characteristics, motivations, experiences and expectations of sperm donation. Data from sperm bank donors were compared to online donors to examine differences between the two groups. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Online donors were significantly older (Mean 38.7, SD 8.4) than sperm bank donors (Mean 32.9, SD 6.8) and were more likely to have their own children (p<0.01). Both groups rated the motivation ‘I want to help others’ as very important. Online donors rated ‘I don’t want to have children myself’, ‘to have children/procreate’ and ‘to enable others to enjoy parenting as I have myself’ as more important than sperm bank donors, whereas sperm bank donors rated financial payment as more important than online donors as well as confirmation of own fertility. Most (93.9%) online donors had donated their sperm elsewhere compared to only 2.4% of sperm bank donors (p<.001). There was a significant difference in how donors viewed their relationship to the child, with online donors much less likely than sperm bank donors to see their relationship as a ‘genetic relationship only’. Online donors had more concerns about being a donor (p<.001). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Findings may not be representative of all unregulated or regulated sperm donors as only one online connection site and one HFEA registered sperm bank were used for recruitment. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Despite concern regarding shortages of sperm donors in licensed clinics and unease regarding the growing popularity of unregulated connection websites, this is the first study to directly compare online and sperm bank donors. It highlights the importance of considering ways to incorporate unregulated online sperm donors into the regulated sector. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust Grants 104385/Z/14/Z and 097857/Z/11/Z. The authors have no conflicts of interest.
This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust Grants 104385/Z/14/Z and 097857/Z/11/Z.
WELLCOME TRUST (104385/Z/14/Z)
Wellcome Trust (097857/Z/11/Z)
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External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dez173
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/295531
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