Recipients of Oocyte Donation: An Integrative Review


  • Patricia Hershberger MSN, RNC, APRN, BC

    assistant professor, Corresponding author
    1. Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN, and a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Patricia Hershberger, MSN, RNC, APRN, BC, Valparaiso University, College of Nursing, Valparaiso, IN 46383. E-mail:


Objective: To conduct a systematic review of published research to provide a synthesis of the psychosocial characteristics of donor oocyte recipient women.

Data Sources: The sample of published studies was selected from 1983 to September 2002. Retrieval of the studies used online computer searches from CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Wilson's Social Science Abstracts using the terms reproduction techniques, in vitro fertilization, oocyte donation, oocyte recipients, and egg donation; citations from references and bibliographies of previously located articles; and two 60-minute retrieval sessions with a librarian specializing in health science literature.

Study Selection: The majority of studies retrieved were completed in the natural sciences. The final sample resulted in 16 studies.

Data Extraction: Each study was read and the data were extracted using a survey instrument developed by the investigator.

Data Synthesis: Multiple methodologies were used in the sample; most were exploratory, retrospective, and descriptive studies. Thus, the data were analyzed using a qualitative discursive approach. A total of 827 donor oocyte recipient women participated in the studies.

Conclusions: Published research investigating the psychosocial characteristics of donor recipient women was categorized into six focused areas: motivation; desired donor characteristics; selection of a known versus an anonymous donor; demographic, educational, and psychosocial profiles; disclosure of the method of conception to family members, friends, and the resulting child; and the relationship between the oocyte recipient and her resulting offspring. Research involving the psychosocial aspects of donor oocyte recipient women is in the infancy stage.