Payment to gamete donors: equality, gender equity, or solidarity?

  • C. Samorinha
  • C. De Freitas
  • I. Baía
  • H. Machado
  • E. Vale-Fernandes
  • S. SilvaEmail author
Assisted Reproduction Technologies



Regulation of payment to gamete donors varies substantially across countries. The development of an ethically sustainable governance system of payments in gamete donation demands that the preferences of different stakeholders be heard. This study intends to contribute to improving the understanding of payment to gamete donors by analysing the views of donors and recipients about the preferred form of payment and its associations with their sociodemographic characteristics.


This cross-sectional study included 70 donors and 172 recipients recruited at the Portuguese Public Bank of Gametes (July 2017–June 2018). Participants completed a self-reported questionnaire. Views about the preferred form of payment were collected through a multiple-choice question and an open-ended item. Associations were quantified through χ2 tests; content analysis was conducted with the open-ended answers.


Both donors (48.6%) and recipients (40.7%) considered that reimbursement is the preferred form of payment to ensure solidarity-based motivations to donate. This option was followed by compensation for non-financial losses (41.4% of donors; 33.7% of recipients) based on gender equity. Preference for a fixed reward (22.7% of recipients; 8.6% of donors) was less frequent among younger donors and married/living with a partner or employed recipients, being based on the promotion of equality.


In the context of the search for cross-border reproductive care and gamete circulation across countries, the findings from this study claim for the need to create solutions for payment to gamete donors that take into account gender equity and are simultaneously sensitive to donor’s actual expenses and further health complications.


Donor conception Compensation Reproductive techniques, assisted Infertility 



The authors thank all donors and recipients who participated in the study, the health professionals and staff of the Portuguese Public Bank of Gametes who collaborated in the participants’ recruitment and Liliana Abreu and Sandra Pinto da Silva for their contribution in data collection.

Funding information

This work was supported by national funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology – FCT (Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education), the Operational Programmes Competitiveness and Internationalization (COMPETE 2020) and Human Capital (POCH), Portugal 2020, and the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund, under the project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016762, Ref. FCT PTDC/IVC-ESCT/6294/2014, the Unidade de Investigação em Epidemiologia - Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (EPIUnit) (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006862; Ref. FCT UID/DTP/04750/2013), the PhD grant SFRH/BD/111686/2015 (Baía I), the contract Ref. DL57/2016/CP1336/CT0001 (De Freitas C) and the FCT Investigator contract IF/01674/2015 (Silva S).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPIUnit – Instituto de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências da Saúde Pública e Forenses e Educação Médica, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade do Porto, Alameda Prof. Hernâni MonteiroPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology (CIES-IUL)University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL)LisbonPortugal
  4. 4.Communication and Society Research Centre (CECS), Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  5. 5.Centro de Procriação Medicamente Assistida / Banco Público de Gâmetas; Serviço de Ginecologia - Departamento da Mulher e da Medicina Reprodutiva, Centro Materno-Infantil do NorteCentro Hospitalar Universitário do Porto, EPEPortoPortugal

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