Asynchronous Email Interviewing: A Qualitative Data Collection Method


When I began my PhD in 2007, little research had been undertaken that examined egg-share donors’ experiences of giving informed consent. Egg sharing is an assisted reproduction treatment pioneered by Eric Simons and Kamal Ahuja that provides women, who are themselves undergoing assisted reproduction treatments, with the opportunity to share their eggs with up to two recipients. The donor's treatment costs are subsidised by the recipient(s). Thus, some women are able to access cheaper and quicker infertility treatment. At the time, asynchronous email interviewing was a relatively new method of data collection. I heard about the approach following a serendipitous email exchange with my PhD supervisor, who sent me an article by Judith Kerson and Toba Kerson. The article described how the researchers had conducted intensive, sensitive interviews using email – the approach I adopted after reading their article. I also conducted an online survey which ran in conjunction with the asynchronous email interviews. This case describes how I conducted asynchronous email interviews with four women to assess their motivations to share their eggs and their ability to provide informed consent.

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