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Rethinking gamete donor care: a satisfaction survey of egg and sperm donors in the UK

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article numbere0199971
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/07/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>PLoS ONE
Issue number7
Number of pages18
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Despite poor clinic communication and staff treatment being reported by donors, high rates of overall satisfaction are still reported in surveys. This study will evaluate the importance of communication and interaction between donors and fertility clinic staff in gamete donor care.

We report on 120 egg and sperm donors’ responses to a UK-wide online satisfaction survey. The survey focused on donors’ interactions with fertility clinic staff pre-, during, and post- donation. Basic cross-tabulation was performed on the data using online survey software. Textual data was read and extracts identified, which illustrated and expanded on the findings from the numerical data. Diagrammatic modeling was also utilised to analyse the textual data, with particular focus to relationships between the donors and clinic staff, the main activities within the gamete donation process, and how these activities may affect donor satisfaction with the gamete donation process.

Donors expressed concern for the infertile couple and the resulting child; conveyed frustration at not receiving information on the expenses they could claim; felt lost in the system regarding the ease of making clinic appointments, and once made they were routinely not seen on time for these appointments. Donors also negatively commented on aftercare, the location and condition of the donation room, and information on contraception. In addition, Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome was frequently reported, with these egg donors believing that clinic staff were not concerned with their physical or emotional well-being, but were instead disproportionately focused on extracting the eggs.

The multifaceted notion of donors highlights the complexity inherent to the gamete donation process, which comprises various aspects of uncertainty in the donation system, and ambiguity in the donation process. Categorising donors as Altruist, Customer, and Patient, conveys the particular importance of staff communication and treatment in donor care. These categories are not mutually exclusive however, in that an individual donor may experience more than one of these perspectives during the course of their gamete donation journey. Finally, there were a number of exemplar cases, where donors reported high satisfaction throughout, and these correlated with them being given a single point of contact at the clinic. Subject to resource constraints, we suggest that this practice should be implemented throughout clinics in the UK, so that donors have access to dedicated clinic staff who not only support them emotionally and physically throughout the gamete donation process, but also ensure that communication is open, clear, timely, and consistent.