Experiences and psychological outcomes of the oocyte donor: a survey of donors post-donation from one center



To assess the experiences and psychological outcomes of oocyte donors from one fertility center.


An anonymous survey was distributed via a secure email to 161 donors who underwent oocyte donation—anonymous, directed/known, and recruited agency—between January 2008 and January 2019 at the NYU Langone Fertility Center.


Thirty-six donors completed the survey with the majority between 2 and 10 years since donation. Respondents reported a high prevalence of psychiatric symptoms or diagnoses post-donation. The majority of donors reported positive thoughts and feelings toward their donation process as well as to the knowledge of children born from their donation. Negative comments about donation were in the minority but focused on unexpected aspects about the process or outcome. Based on qualitative analysis, thoughts about family or “family-oriented thoughts” were the most frequent theme in respondent comments. 62.5% of respondents reporting that they would be open to identity-disclosure or open donation after experiencing the process.


Despite a high reported prevalence of psychiatric symptoms, the majority of respondents felt positively about the donation experience as well as the prospect of open donation or identity-disclosure post-donation. Further research on long-term psychological outcomes, related to all aspects of donation, is important as the counseling and informed consent of oocyte donors continues to evolve. These data will be particularly important with regard to the aspect of disclosure, both planned and unplanned, in the modern era of electronic information sharing.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the donors who participated in this study.

Author information




All authors contributed to study conception and design. Data collection and analysis were performed by Jennifer Blakemore and Paxton Voigt. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Jennifer Blakemore and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer K. Blakemore.

Ethics declarations

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution (NYU School of Medicine Institutional Review Board, #s18-00698).

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Blakemore, J.K., Voigt, P., Schiffman, M.R. et al. Experiences and psychological outcomes of the oocyte donor: a survey of donors post-donation from one center. J Assist Reprod Genet 36, 1999–2005 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-019-01527-5

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  • Oocyte donation
  • Psychological outcomes
  • Disclosure
  • Donor