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J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc. 2019 Nov 28;20(4):236-242. doi: 10.4274/jtgga.galenos.2018.2018.0110. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Oocyte donors’ awareness on donation procedure and risks: A call for developing guidelines for health tourism in oocyte donation programmes

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Department of Medical Genetics, Near East University Faculty of Medicine, Nicosia, Cyprus
Near East University, Research Centre of Experimental Health Sciences, Nicosia, Cyprus
Department of Medical Biology and Genetics, Near East University Institute of Health Sciences, Nicosia, Cyprus



In the recent years, oocyte donation programmes have widely spread worldwide becoming the drive of health tourism. In some countries, donation programmes are tightly regulated, whereas in others, the guidelines or regulations are not well defined. To evaluate donors’ awareness of the donation programmes and the ethical consequences in enrolling these programmes.

Material and Methods:

A detailed questionnaire-based survey was conducted to evaluate the donors’ main drive to get involved in the donation programme and the donor’s knowledge and awareness of risk factors.


The majority of the donors (70%) were undergoing donation programmes for financial gains through compensation. The donors were especially not aware of the long-term medical risks and the possibility of identity exposure through genetic screening.


The main duty of health professionals is to counsel donors about the basic procedures and any possible problems they may face during the donation programmes. Reimbursement of oocyte donors is a slippery slope in oocyte donation programmes. High compensation may make women think that donation is a profession without considering possible risks. Furthermore, with the wider use of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and genetic anonymity may be at risk, thus the donors have to be counselled properly. Therefore, in this era of health tourism, it is crucial to set up well-defined counselling bodies in all oocyte donation centres and enable donors to make an informed choice in becoming oocyte donors.


Oocyte donation; donor programme; donors; ethics

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