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.

Author Biographies

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

Irina G. Polyakova, Researcher, Ural Interregional Institute of Social Sciences, Ural Federal University. Research interests: psychological support of ART, motivation for reproductive donation depending on the reproductive material; the dyad of reproductive donor – recipient (a married couple); methods of psychological support of reproductive donation; methods to facilitate a recipient’s position to decide on donation and accept donor material. Author (co-author) of eight publications in journals included in the WOS and SCOPUS databases.

Dmitry O. Mazurov, European Medical Center "UMMC-HEALTH", Yekaterinburg, Russia

Dmitry O. Mazurov, Head of the Department of Assisted Reproductive Technologies of the clinic "European Medical Center "UMMC-HEALTH". Obstetrician-gynecologist, reproductologist, Candidate of Medical Sciences. Specializes in assisted reproductive technologies in infertility treatment. Research interests: infertility, reproductive technologies, genetics, endocrinology, donation of gametes and embryos.

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

Elvira E. Symanyuk, Dr. Sc. (Psychology), Prof., Head of the Department of General and Social Psychology of the Ural Institute for the Humanities (Ural Federal University). Her main academic areas of interest include ethics and psychology of assisted reproduction, donation in reproduction, motivation of gamete donation, embryo donation and surrogate motherhood.

Aleksandra Yu. Khramtsova, Ural Research Institute of Maternity and Child Care, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Aleksandra Yu. Khramtsova, obstetrician-gynecologist, ultrasound specialist. Correspondence postgraduate student, junior researcher at the Ural Research Institute of Maternity and Child Care. Author (co-author) of five publications, with one of them published in the Problems of Reproduction journal (WOS, SCOPUS). Expert on innovations in the field of medicine, specializes in ART programs, participant of the research project "Ethics in the work of a reproductive specialist".


How to Cite
Polyakova, I., Mazurov, D., Symanyuk, E., & Khramtsova, A. (2022). The Influence of Socio-Cultural Factors on Oocyte Donors' Motivations and Disclosure Decisions. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(3), 594–609. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.3.191