The Influence of Socio-Cultural Factors on Oocyte Donors' Motivations and Disclosure Decisions
The study focuses on the motivations of Russian oocyte donors and the socio-cultural factors affecting these motivations. We conducted 16 semi-structured interviews with actual or prospective oocyte donors. All of them were patients of two fertility clinics located in the city of Yekaterinburg (Russia) planning to become oocyte donors within the period from 2 weeks to 3 months. We built a profile of a Russian oocyte donor: it is a 26-year-old married woman with at least one child; she has a secondary vocational education and a low income. All the women in our study displayed multiple motivations: apart from the interest in a financial reward and purely altruistic motivations, for many women the decisive factor is their desire to help their friends or relatives struggling with infertility. Interestingly, almost all of our respondents described their decision to donate as an attempt to move past a traumatic situation they once endured and to achieve closure by doing something really important and good. For many women, oocyte donation becomes a way to boost their self-esteem, to feel more significant and to promote their personal autonomy. As for barriers to donation, one of the most important is associated with the donors' unwillingness to make their identity known and to share this information even with their close circle of friends and relatives. For the majority of donors, anonymity is crucial. The disclosure of this information, in their view, will cause controversy in the donor's family and immediate circle of friends at present and will threaten their privacy in the future. The prospective donors are also concerned about the negative public attitudes or lack of understanding.