Review of International Research on Ethical and Psychological Barriers to Reproductive Donation

  • Elvira E. Symaniuk Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
  • Irina G. Polyakova Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
  • Elena V. Kvashnina “Centre IVF-Partus”, Yekaterinburg, Russia


This review examines the international research literature discussing the barriers for those considering the possibility of becoming donating sperm, eggs, or embryos or becoming surrogate mothers. While there is a significant body of research on donors’ motivations, less attention is given to the reasons why potential donors decide not to donate or withdraw from donation procedures. Nevertheless, we have collected about 70 studies, including journal articles, book chapters and reports. Contemporary findings show that as much as there is no single motivation for reproductive donation, there is also no single barrier to it. The studies we considered deal with two salient themes. First, barriers to reproductive donation serve as a space for negotiation of a donor’s beliefs, fears and perceived consequences of donation to themselves, the recipients and resulting offspring. Second, these barriers are a complex web of intersecting factors, influenced by secondary factors. This review reveals the limited nature of our current knowledge of barriers to reproductive donation. Indeed, research on this problem needs to catch up with research on motivation because obstacles to reproductive donation are no less important than the stimuli.

Author Biographies

Elvira E. Symaniuk, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Elvira E. Symaniuk, Doctor of Science (Psychology), Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Research interests: developmental psychology, psychological counselling for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, reproductive donation.

Irina G. Polyakova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Irina G. Polyakova, Researcher, Ural Centre for Advanced Studies at the Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia. Research interests: infertility, psychology of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, psychological counselling for IVF, reproductive donation.

Elena V. Kvashnina, “Centre IVF-Partus”, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Elena V. Kvashnina, Candidate of Medical Science, Board certified MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology "Partus" of the clinical network "Centre IVF", Yekaterinburg, Russia. Research interests: infertility, reproduction, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, in-vitro fertilization (IVF), reproductive donation.


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How to Cite
Symaniuk, E., Polyakova, I., & Kvashnina, E. (2020). Review of International Research on Ethical and Psychological Barriers to Reproductive Donation. Changing Societies & Personalities, 4(2), 205–219. doi:10.15826/csp.2020.4.2.098