Introduction: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing provides a way for genetically linked persons to connect, threatening the anonymity promised by sperm banks to past sperm donors. This study will assess whether these testing resources have changed attitudes of previous donors on donation and their likelihood to donate again.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed to sperm donors between 1980 and 2020 at Fairfax Cryobank, measuring variables including demographics and donor attitudes on DTC testing. The Qualtrics survey platform aggregated responses and descriptive statistics were used to report outcomes.
Results: Of the 364 responses, 72.8% of donors had not participated in DTC genetic testing, only 13.4% of which responded was due to not wanting themselves identifiable to potential donor conceived offspring. Of the donors who were contacted by offspring, 56.3% were identified via DTC testing databases. Despite this fact, a majority of respondents (31.3%) reported being neither comfortable nor uncomfortable with testing companies sharing the identity of genetically related persons, with only 19.9% being extremely comfortable and 12.1% being extremely uncomfortable. Notably, 62.1% of donors would donate sperm again knowing their anonymity is no longer guaranteed.
Discussion: Results suggest that the prevalence of DTC genetic testing has not significantly impacted attitudes towards donation, and that most donors would likely donate again. The inquiry question was answered but the hypothesis was disproven, as a more negative response to testing was expected. While some respondents did feel strongly against donation without guaranteed anonymity, sperm banks can rest assured that donor numbers will not significantly decrease with this resource.
Wodoslawsky, Sascha; Fatunbi, MD, Joy; and Braverman, MD, Andrea, "Sperm donor attitudes and experiences on direct-to-consumer genetic testing" (2021). Phase 1. Paper 14.