Who becomes a sperm donor: personality characteristics in a national sample of identifiable donors


Dr G Sydsjö, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE–581 85, Linköping, Sweden. Email Gunilla.Sydsjo@lio.se


Please cite this paper as: Sydsjö G, Lampic C, Brändström S, Gudmundsson J, Karlström P, Solensten N, Thurin-Kjellberg A, Skoog Svanberg A. Who becomes a sperm donor: personality characteristics in a national sample of identifiable donors. BJOG 2012;119:33–39.

Objective  To study the personality characteristics of identifiable sperm donors in a national sample in comparison with the same characteristics of a control group.

Design  Descriptive study.

Setting  All clinics (n = 7) performing gamete donation in Sweden.

Population  All Swedish sperm donors recruited during 2005–08. An age-matched group of Swedish men served as controls.

Methods  Standardised questionnaires were used to measure personality.

Main outcome measures  Demographics and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI).

Results  The mean age of the donors was 33.8 ± 7.8 years (18–56 years). About one-third (36.5%) of the donors had biological children of their own. With regard to personality, significant differences were present on harm avoidance, with lower means for sperm donors (P = 0.002, 95% CI −3.74 to −0.85), and on self-directedness and cooperativeness, with higher means for donors (P = 0.002, 95% CI 0.97–4.19; P = 0.001; 95% CI 0.75–2.95, respectively), compared with controls. This indicates that the donors in general feel less worried and suffer less from uncertainty, shyness and fatigability than controls. They also perceive themselves as being autonomous, with a capacity to take responsibility, to behave in a goal-directed manner, to be resourceful and self-acceptant, and to behave in a manner guided by meaningful values and goals. Furthermore, they describe themselves as being well integrated in humanity or society, and having a good capacity for identification with and acceptance of other people.

Conclusions  The screening process at the clinics seems to generate a group of stable, mature and well-integrated donors, and this is a promising result for the future.