Journal of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy


Negotiating boundaries: Accessing donor gametes in India

A. Widge, J. Cleland

Centre for Population Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Correspondence at:


Infertility, India, donor, gametes, assisted reproductive technologies, ART.

Published online: Apr 11 2011


Background: This paper documents how couples and providers access donor materials for conception in the Indian context and perceptions about using them. The objective is to facilitate understanding of critical issues and relevant concerns.

Methods: A postal survey was conducted with a sample of 6000 gynaecologists and in-depth interviews were conducted with 39 gynaecologists in four cities.

Results: Donor gametes are relatively more acceptable than a few years ago, especially if confidentiality can be maintained, though lack of availability of donor materials is sometimes an impediment to infertility treatment. Donor sperms are usually accessed from in-house or commercial sperm banks, pathology laboratories, IVF centres, professional donors, relatives or friends. There is scepticism about screening procedures of sperm banks. Donor eggs are usually accessed from voluntary donors, friends, relatives, egg sharing programmes, donation from other patients, advertising and commercial donors. There are several concerns regarding informed consent for using donated gametes, using relatives and friends gametes, the unregulated use of gametes and embryos, record keeping and documentation, unethical and corrupt practices and commercialisation.

Conclusion: These issues need to be addressed by patients, providers and regulatory authorities by providing information, counselling, ensuring informed consent, addressing exploitation and commercialisation, ensuring monitoring, proper documentation and transparency.