Researchers Look for the Best Way to Recruit Stool Donors

Published Online: Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Donating one's poop for medicine does not seem glamorous.

But with the proper incentive, donors may be more willing to participate once they realize that their donation can be used to treat a life-threatening intestinal infection. 

Appealing to a concern for others is the best way to recruit most people to donate their stool for medicine, while cash rewards may be an additional motivator for some potential donors, according to research scheduled for presentation at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) 2018.

“There’s an urgent medical need for stool donation, but many people have trouble getting over the ‘ick factor,’” said Breanna McSweeney, a medical student at University of Alberta, Canada, and lead author of the study, in a press release. Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is regarded as the most effective treatment for a dangerous intestinal infection known as Clostridium difficile (C. diff). “To make this life-saving therapy readily available, it is vital to have a large bank of healthy stool donors,” McSweeney added. In addition to the treatment of C. diff, FMT is also being investigated as a treatment for other common digestive illnesses, so the need for stool donations is likely to grow.

Researchers at University of Alberta, Canada, surveyed 802 people in the U.S., Canada, and England to find out what would motivate people to become stool donors. Participants completed a 32-question online survey and were asked to respond to open-ended questions about stool donation.

Respondents said altrusim was the most common appeal for being a donor. Nearly 42% of all respondents cited a desire to help others as the main reason to donate. More than 35% of respondents indicated economic compensation as an additional motivator. Researchers also said that respondents were more likely to donate if they knew how the stool donations helped patients, had a positive attitude about fecal transplants, or were already blood donors.

The research showed that the time commitment, logistics, and unpleasantness of collecting and transporting stool were the major deterrents for donation. “While the concept of stool donation may seem strange, it’s important to remember that is has the potential to save someone’s life,” McSweeney said

Reference:

Breanna M. Potential motivators and deterrents for stool donors: A multicenter study. Astract Tu1894. Presented at Digestive Disease Week. June 2-5, 2017. Washington, DC.



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