Linda Applegarth, director of psychological services at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at the New York Presbyterian Hospital--Weill Medical College of Cornell University, described the study as "very useful," but expressed little surprise with the findings.
"I actually routinely meet with donors a year post donation, particularly with donors who want to donate again," she said, noting that about 65 percent of her center's donors choose to repeat the process. "And I would say anecdotally that my experience matches the study findings," she added.
"Many do choose to donate again because they have had a very positive experience," Applegarth explained. "And in addition to whatever had motivated them to donate in the first place, after they've donated, the experience often takes on new meaning for them, in a positive way. So their motivation becomes more multi-faceted, because they really do know that they've made a difference."
Donors don't obsess about the experience, Applegarth said. "They move on with their lives. And this, I think, speaks well to the fact that there are any number of us who work with donors and try to be very sensitive to them and what they're doing, and want to make sure that they have a good experience with the donation," she said.
"We consider the donors as patients, and in that respect they're as important as anyone involved in the experience," Applegarth added.
Touching on the issue of egg donation from a different perspective, a second study to be presented at the conference found that women who serve as donors have a significantly different psychological profile than women who actually provide the service of carrying a baby to term.
Compared with egg donors, the so-called "gestational carriers," or surrogate mothers, were found
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