Disclosure decisions among pregnant women who received donor oocytes: a phenomenological study

Patricia Hershberger*, Susan C. Klock, Randall B. Barnes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the controversy surrounding disclosure among donor oocyte recipients. This controversy is escalating worldwide, yet little research has sought to understand the disclosure experience of pregnant, donor oocyte recipient women. This study aims to provide an in-depth description of the disclosure experience, and identify factors that were significant to recipient women which influenced their reasoning as they formulated disclosure decisions. Design: Qualitative, naturalistic design, using a phenomenological approach. Setting: The home or private office of the recipient woman. Patient(s): Donor oocyte recipient women between 9-23 weeks of gestation. Result(s): Disclosure decisions were influenced by multiple factors emerging from the women's values and beliefs and their social and cultural environment. Values and beliefs consisted of the right to know and the duty to protect. Social and cultural factors included social support, culture of the family, evolution of the social process, and personal testimonials. Women's age and selection of donor type were interrelated with disclosure decisions. Conclusion(s): Disclosing women voiced the right of the child to know, and perceived social and cultural factors as conducive to disclosure. Nondisclosing and undecided women emphasized protecting normative relationships, perceived a social stigma, and were unable to identify a benefit to disclosing. Women's age and choice of oocyte donor should be considered when counseling recipient women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Decision-making
  • disclosure
  • donor gametes
  • oocyte donation
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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