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Preference for anonymity in sperm donation for artificial insemination: an experience from low-resource settings in Nigeria

Authors Ezugwu EC, Eleje GU, Iyoke CA, Mba SG, Nnaji HC, Enechukwu CI, Nkwo PO

Received 4 October 2017

Accepted for publication 6 January 2018

Published 6 April 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 499—504


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Euzebus Chinonye Ezugwu,1,2 George U Eleje,3,4 Chukwuemeka A Iyoke,1,2 Sunday G Mba,5 Henry C Nnaji,2 Chukwunonso I Enechukwu,4 Peter O Nkwo1,2

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ittuku Ozalla Campus, Enugu State, Nigeria; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria; 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria; 4Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria; 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu State, Nigeria

Objective: Anonymous sperm donation is a common practice in Nigeria with its associated legal and ethical challenges. This study aimed to investigate infertile couples’ opinions about issues of sperm donor anonymity and to determine factors that might influence their preferences.
Methods: A cross-sectional, multicentered, questionnaire-based study was conducted among infertile couples attending infertility clinics in three tertiary hospitals in the south-eastern region of Nigeria over a period of 6 months.
Results: A total of 450 infertile couples were recruited consecutively from the three study centers. However, 450 females and 352 males (total=802) participated in the study. The level of awareness of artificial insemination using donor sperm for the management of male infertility among the respondents was 69.2%, while its acceptability rate was 62.7%. The majority of the respondents indicated their preference for secrecy and anonymity in sperm donation. Approximately 84% of the respondents indicated that the mode of conception should never be disclosed to the donor-conceived child, and ~92% of them indicated that the identity of the sperm donor should never be revealed to the donor-conceived child. Fear of adverse effect of such disclosure on the child and the possible of rejection of the father in order to seek for the donor were the major reasons for their preference for anonymity.
Conclusion: Although it has been argued that every child has a right to know their genetic parents, the reasons proffered by the respondents for their preference for anonymity cannot be totally ignored. Establishing a regulatory body and enacting laws that will address both the ethical and legal issues associated with gamete donation in the developing world will go a long way in promoting openness and honest communication with donor-conceived children.

Keywords: disclosure, anonymity, artificial insemination, donor sperm, infertile couple, Nigeria

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