Autonomy and self-esteem of women who donate to an oocyte cryopreservation bank in the Netherlands

Marjolein R. Bakker, Joyce Maas, Marrie H. Bekker, Annelien L. Bredenoord, Bart C. Fauser, Annelies M. Bos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Worldwide, oocyte donors donate voluntarily or receive varying amounts of money for donation. This raises ethical questions regarding the appropriateness of financial compensation, and the possibility of undue inducement and exploitation of oocyte donors. Are these donors capable of making an independent, well-considered decision? Regarding this matter, it is important to examine aspects such as autonomy-connectedness and self-esteem. In this cross-sectional study, demographic characteristics and donation motivations were assessed in 92 women who attended the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht as potential oocyte donors between June 2012 and July 2016. Demographic characteristics were assessed. Motivations were recorded in semi-structured interviews (response rate 59%). The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale was used to assess level of self-esteem. The Autonomy-Connectedness Scale was used to measure the level of autonomy-connectedness. The typical oocyte donor at the UMC Utrecht is a well-educated, employed, 31-year-old woman living with her partner in a completed family with two children, and donating on altruistic grounds. The donors showed higher autonomy-connectedness scores than the average female Dutch population and do not lack self-esteem (questionnaire response rate 66%). Concerns regarding exploitation and attraction of women with lower socioeconomic status, with shortcomings in autonomy-connectedness and self-esteem, could not be confirmed in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalReproductive Biomedicine Online
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • autonomy
  • demographic characteristics
  • donors
  • motivations
  • oocyte donation
  • self-esteem


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