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Sperm donors versus long-term mates: a comparison of preferences of heterosexual and lesbian women
The present study aimed to explore whether lesbian women’s preferences for a sperm donor or a long-term mate show a pattern similar to those of heterosexual women. Three hundred and eighty-three donor insemination patients, of whom 278 were heterosexual and 105 were lesbian, completed a questionnaire comprising a series of 35 traits and rated the importance of each trait in a sperm donor and again in a long term mate. Results showed that traits relating to socioeconomic status, genetic background and general health, physical appearance, and personality were rated by lesbian women as more important in a long-term mate than in a sperm donor. It was further found that both heterosexual and lesbian women attached higher importance to the socioeconomic status, personality and physical appearance of the long-term mate than of the sperm donor; heterosexual women attached similar importance to the genes and health of a long-term mate and a sperm donor, while lesbian women attached greater importance to the genetic background and general health of the sperm donor than those of a long-term mate. The implications and interpretations of the findings are discussed in light of Trivers’ parental investment theory.