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Shopping for an egg donor: Is beauty, brains, or health most important?

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When it comes to picking an egg donor, until recent years, recipients tended to prefer someone with a similar appearance. Donor trait choices are changing, though, and which traits are now more preferable and why is the focus of "Beauty, Brains or Health: Trends in Ovum Recipient Preferences," an article published in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website.

Homero Flores, MD and coauthors from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY) reviewed the requests of ovum donor recipients over a 5-year period and assessed their preferences for donor traits, categorizing them by appearance, ethnicity, intellect, ability, and mental health. The authors documented statistically significant increases and decreases in the different categories over the years, with more "practical traits" that would improve offspring's overall quality of life tending to increase compared to "self-reflective" traits.

"As social acceptance of ovum donation has increased, and donor selection has become more sophisticated, couples are changing their preferences for what donor characteristics they value most for their future offspring," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.

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Oct 20, 2014 04:18 PM EDT

Provided By Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
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