Beauty, brains or health: trends in ovum recipient preferences

Homero Flores, Joseph Lee, Jorge Rodriguez-Purata, Georgia Witkin, Benjamin Sandler, Alan B. Copperman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: What do ovum donation (OD) recipients request most from their ideal donor: beauty, brains, health or physical self-resemblance? Previous data have shown recipients primarily requested "similar appearance or gene pool." We consider the possibility that these criteria may have changed due to a positive social shift towards OD participation and have evaluated recipients' requests for donor criteria over a span of 5 years.

METHODS: Donor trait preferences of OD recipients (n=438) enrolled in a private, academic OD program from 2008-2012 were assessed in this retrospective cohort analysis. Requests were categorized by appearance, ethnicity, intellect, ability, and mental health. Statistical analyses were conducted by Cochran-Armitage trend tests with significance at p<0.05.

RESULTS: The percentage of requests for "health" increased steadily from 2008 (50%) to 2012 (72%) (p<0.05). The percentage of requests for "intelligence" were highest in 2012 (55%), increasing from 2008 (18%) (p<0.05). Requests for "athletic ability" rose from 2008 (1%) to 2012 (17%) (p<0.05). Recipients requested a "similar gene pool" most in 2009 (40%) and least in 2012 (25%), though this trend did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates an increase in the percentage of OD recipients' requests for health, athleticism, and intelligence over our 5-year analysis. It appears that the current recipient is more likely to request a donor with practical traits that would serve their offspring overall quality of life rather than self-reflective traits such as physical resemblance or their genetic composition. We believe that improved awareness and acceptance of OD as a treatment of infertility will continue to inform practical considerations and approaches toward donor recruitment and the donor-recipient matching process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-833
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


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