Sperm donors are mature and social
Swedish sperm donors are thought to be more stable, mature, and social than the average man, as shown in new study of Swedish infertility clinics, led from Linköping University.
One conclusion is that the Swedish selection model is working well. The researchers of the study describe the result as significant both for the donors themselves and the clinics, as well as for couples who have children thanks to the donor.
The study, which covered 115 men who donated sperm between 2005 and 2008 at seven Swedish infertility clinics, is now being published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).
Gunilla Sydsjö (pictured), professor of Reproductive Research at LiU is the principal author.
Donors who agreed to participate in the study were asked to fill in a questionnaire that gauges a person’s temperament and character. Their results were compared with a control group with men of the same ages (18-56) selected at random. The donors described themselves as less unhappy, less shy, and less insecure than the control group. They also evaluated themselves as more independent, responsible, and willing to cooperate. These results tally with an earlier study among egg donors.
There are also differences within the group of sperm donors depending on their lifestyles. Those who were single described themselves as more pessimistic and passive than those in a relationship.43 % of the donors were married, and 36 % had their own children. According to the authors this is a result that holds promise for the future. Traditionally, sperm donors are primarily recruited from among university students, and in an American study the majority were motivated by the compensation they were paid.
In Sweden, no economic compensation takes place, either for sperm donors or egg donors. The driving force then was, instead, altruistic.
“Often they know someone afflicted with sterility and want to help others in the same situation. There’s never anyone who asks what they can earn from donating. But they do both people and society a service,” Sydsjö says.
Sweden was also the first to introduce children’s right, when they turn 18, to know whom their biological father or mother is. To date, however, no known cases exist where someone has claimed that right.
“Those who were born after a sperm donation can be up to 30 under this law, but not all perhaps even know about this background,” Sydsjö says.
Text: Åke Hjelm
Article: Who becomes a sperm donor: personality characteristics in a national sample of identifiable donors.
G Sydsjö, C Lampic, S Brändström, J Gudmundsson, P-O Karlström, NG Solensten, A Thurin-Kjellberg and A Skoog Svanberg. An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, online 18 October 2011.
Last updated: 2012-12-10