BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    To know or not to know? Dilemmas for women receiving unknown oocyte donation

    Stuart-Smith, S.J. and Smith, Jonathan A. and Scott, E.J. (2012) To know or not to know? Dilemmas for women receiving unknown oocyte donation. Human Reproduction 27 (7), pp. 2067-2075. ISSN 0268-1161.

    6658.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (479kB) | Preview


    BACKGROUND: This study aims to provide insight into the reasons for choosing an unknown oocyte donor and to explore recipients’ feelings and wishes regarding donor information. METHODS: In-depth interviews were carried out with 11 women at different stages of treatment. Seven were on a waiting list and four have given birth to donor oocyte babies. The interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. RESULTS: The choice of unknown donor route was motivated by a wish to feel secure in the role of mother as well as to avoid possible intrusions into family relationships. The information that is available about unknown donors is often very limited. In the preconception phase of treatment, some participants wanted more information about the donor but others adopted a not-knowing stance that protected them from the emotional impact of needing a donor. In the absence of information that might normalize her, there was a tendency to imagine the donor in polarised simplistic terms, so she may be idealized or feared. Curiosity about the donor intensified once a real baby existed, and the task of telling a child was more daunting when very little was known about the donor. A strong wish for same-donor siblings was expressed by all of the participants who had given birth. CONCLUSIONS: This qualitative study throws light on the factors that influence the choice of unknown donation. It also highlights the scope for attitudes to donor information to undergo change over the course of treatment and after giving birth. The findings have implications for pretreatment counselling and raise a number of issues that merit further exploration.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Human Reproduction following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Human Reproduction 27(7), pp.2067-2075, July 2012 is available online at:
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): oocyte donation, IVF, qualitative, decision making, assisted conception counselling
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 09 May 2013 12:29
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 03:02


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item