To women looking for sperm donor, does personality trump career?

| | January 6, 2015

A study of online sperm markets shows women value more than just money when it comes to choosing a father for their children.

QUT behavioural economists Stephen Whyte and Benno Torgler surveyed 70 women shopping for sperm donors through the web, instead of traditional fertility and IVF clinics.

"We're interested in cognitive, psychological or emotional factors that are involved when people make decisions," Whyte said.

"Probably the biggest economic decision you'll make in your life is your choice of partner, and having any subsequent offspring."

He said women using online sperm markets presented a unique opportunity for study, as it took the issue of "parental investment" – the amount of time a potential partner would invest in the child's growth and welfare – out of the equation.

"This is an opportunity for women to go out and choose a donor that fits their aesthetic, the purely physical characteristics that they're after," he said.

"But the study actually shows the most important things to women when they choose a donor in this online market are behavioural traits, things like kindness, openness and reliability."

Whyte said those were traits that were taught by parents, arguably making them negligible when it came to choosing a donor, but women still rated them as most important.

He said the study also showed women didn't value a high-profile or high-earning careers as much as popular wisdom suggested.

"They're putting behavioural traits at the top, physical aspects like eye colour and hair colour next, then, at the bottom, the least important things are income and occupation," Whyte said.

Read full, original article: Sperm shopping money proves women want more than money

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