Non-identified and directed embryo donation: a questionnaire study on donor and recipient perspectives

Noga Fuchs Weizman*, Samantha Yee, Anya Kazay, Evening K’Necht, Anushka A. Kuwar, Gillian M. Maltz, Clifford L. Librach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the growing challenge of abandoned surplus embryos in the ART arena, and the limited traction of embryo donation as a viable embryo disposition choice, it is important to better understand barriers to wider adoption of this opportunity. We aim to learn about perspectives and experience of participants in directed and non-identified embryo donation programmes. This was a longitudinal cohort survey study, of all participants in an embryo donation programme in a single university affiliated clinic between 2016 and 2020. Clinical data were extracted from counselling reports. Based on these data, non-identified online questionnaires were constructed and refined via Delphi procedure for face and content validity. Sixty-five online questionnaires were emailed between March-April 2021. Descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation, Fisher’s exact test and t-test were used for analyses. Source of patient awareness, factors influencing the decision-making process, patient perspective and satisfaction were explored. The response rate was 67.2%. Most participants in the non-identified programme learned of it through their treating physicians, whereas most participants in the directed programme learned of it online. The main driver to donate across both cohorts was wanting to give others the opportunity to experience the joy of parenthood. Overall, 45% described moderate to marked difficulty in decision making related to donating their embryos, and this did not differ between cohorts. Non-identified donors reported feeling highly attached to the donated embryos more often than directed donors. Level of satisfaction was higher in the directed donation programme. Participants were more satisfied following directed than non-identified donation, and some even consider their counterparts as extended family. Our findings should be validated in various settings, and on larger samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1428
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Fertility
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


FundersFunder number
Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society


    • Direct to consumer genetic testing
    • direct and non-identified embryo donation
    • donated embryos
    • donation disclosure preferences
    • embryo disposition
    • embryo donation
    • surplus embryos


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