Selection criteria in the search for a sperm donor: Behavioural traits versus physical appearance

Whyte, Stephen & Torgler, Benno (2015) Selection criteria in the search for a sperm donor: Behavioural traits versus physical appearance. Journal of Bioeconomics, 17(2), pp. 151-171.

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Despite extensive literature on female mate choice, empirical evidence on women’s mating preferences in the search for a sperm donor is scarce, even though this search, by isolating a male’s genetic impact on offspring from other factors like paternal investment, offers a naturally ”controlled” research setting. In this paper, we work to fill this void by examining the rapidly growing online sperm donor market, which is raising new challenges by offering women novel ways to seek out donor sperm. We not only identify individual factors that influence women’s mating preferences but find strong support for the proposition that behavioural traits (inner values) are more important in these choices than physical appearance (exterior values). We also report evidence that physical factors matter more than resources or other external cues of material success, perhaps because the relevance of good character in donor selection is part of a female psychological adaptation throughout evolutionary history. The lack of evidence on a preference for material resources, on the other hand, may indicate the ability of peer socialization and better access to resources to rapidly shape the female decision process. Overall, the paper makes useful contributions to both the literature on human behaviour and that on decision-making in extreme and highly important situations.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 84971
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Online sperm donor market, Informal donation, Donation recipients mating preferences, Mate choice, Sexual selection, Evolutionary psychology
DOI: 10.1007/s10818-014-9193-9
ISSN: 1387-6996
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York
Deposited On: 24 Jun 2015 00:03
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 00:03

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