In search of stool donors: a multicenter study of prior knowledge, perceptions, motivators, and deterrents among potential donors for fecal microbiota transplantation

Breanna McSweeney, Jessica R. Allegretti, Monika Fischer, Huiping Xu, Karen J. Goodman, Tanya Monaghan, Carmen McLeod, Benjamin H. Mullish, Elaine O. Petrof, Emmalee L. Phelps, Roxana Chis, Abby Edmison, Angela Juby, Ralph Ennis-Davis, Brandi Roach, Karen Wong, Dina Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a highly effective therapy for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection. Stool donors are essential, but difficult to recruit and retain. We aimed to identify factors influencing willingness to donate stool. This multi-center study with a 32-item questionnaire targeted young adults and health care workers via social media and university email lists in Edmonton and Kingston, Canada; London and Nottingham, England; and Indianapolis and Boston, USA. Items included baseline demographics and FMT knowledge and perception. Investigated motivators and deterrents included economic compensation, screening process, time commitment, and stool donation logistics. Logistic regression and linear regression models estimated associations of study variables with self-assessed willingness to donate stool. 802 respondents completed our questionnaire: 387 (48.3%) age 21-30 years, 573 (71.4%) female, 323 (40%) health care workers. Country of residence, age and occupation were not associated with willingness to donate stool. Factors increasing willingness to donate were: already a blood donor (OR 1.64), male, altruism, economic benefit, knowledge of how FMT can help patients (OR 1.32), and positive attitudes towards FMT (OR 1.39). Factors decreasing willingness to donate were: stool collection unpleasant (OR 0.92), screening process invasive (OR 0.92), higher stool donation frequency, negative social perception of stool, and logistics of collection/transporting feces. We conclude that 1) blood donors and males are more willing to consider stool donation; 2) altruism, economic compensation, and positive feedback are motivators; and 3) screening process, high donation frequency, logistics of collection/transporting feces, lack of public awareness, and negative social perception are deterrents. Considering these variables could maximize donor recruitment and retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalGut Microbes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020



  • Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI)
  • Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)
  • fecal transplant donors
  • recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (RCDI)
  • stool donors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

McSweeney, B., Allegretti, J. R., Fischer, M., Xu, H., Goodman, K. J., Monaghan, T., McLeod, C., Mullish, B. H., Petrof, E. O., Phelps, E. L., Chis, R., Edmison, A., Juby, A., Ennis-Davis, R., Roach, B., Wong, K., & Kao, D. (2020). In search of stool donors: a multicenter study of prior knowledge, perceptions, motivators, and deterrents among potential donors for fecal microbiota transplantation. Gut Microbes, 11(1), 51-62.