STUDY QUESTION What are the demographic characteristics, motivations, preferences and experiences of heterosexual, gay and bisexual sperm donors on a connetion website?
STUDY QUESTION What are the demographic characteristics, motivations,
preferences and experiences of heterosexual, gay and bisexual sperm
donors on a connection website (i.e. a website that facilitates direct
contact between donors and recipients of gametes)?
SUMMARY ANSWER This demographically diverse group of men was donating
for altruistic reasons and perceived the website as providing greater
choice over donation arrangements: approximately one third favoured
anonymous donation, most of whom were heterosexual, whilst gay and
bisexual donors were more likely to be in contact with children
conceived with their sperm.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Despite substantially more sperm donors being
registered on connection websites than with clinics, there has been very
little research on this population. Current understanding of the impact
of sexual orientation on donors' attitudes is also limited.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION An online survey was conducted over 7 weeks
with 383 men registered as sperm donors with Pride Angel, a large
UK-based connection website for donors and recipients of sperm.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS The survey obtained data on
participants' demographic characteristics and their motivations,
preferences and experiences regarding online sperm donation, including
attitudes towards contact with offspring. Differences according to
participants' sexual orientation were examined.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE Most participants (80.4%, 308) were
heterosexual, 10.5% (40) were gay and 9.1% (35) were bisexual; ages
ranged from 18 to 69 years (median = 36, mean = 37.3, SD = 9.7). A
greater proportion of gay and bisexual men desired open-identity
donation (P < 0.005) and contact with offspring (P <0.005) than
heterosexual men. Approximately one third (28.7%, 110) had donated
sperm; 18.3% (70) had conceived at least one child, of whom a minority
(25.7%, 18) were currently in contact with the child, comprising
significantly more gay and bisexual than heterosexual men (P = 0.001).
Heterosexual men were most likely to state a preference for natural
insemination, although the large majority (94.3%, 66) of donors who had
conceived children had used artificial insemination.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Findings may not be representative of
all sperm donors using connection websites because members of only one
website participated and participants were, by necessity, a
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS This is the first comprehensive study
of donors who connect with recipients via the internet, including a
substantial number who have donated and conceived children. The findings
indicate that sexual orientation may influence men's donation
preferences and raise policy issues concerning donor recruitment and the
incorporation of online sperm donation into clinical practice.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) This study was supported by the
Wellcome Trust (097857/Z/11/Z). E.T. is the co-founder of Pride Angel;
the remaining authors have no conflicts of interest.
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