A previous review of 22 studies from eight countries, conducted between 1980 and 2003, concluded that semen donors who are older, married or are fathers are less likely to be financially motivated. Despite the Assisted Human Reproduction Act coming into force in 2004, no data originating from Canada have been published on this topic. The objective of this study was to validate these findings in the Canadian population within the context of an anonymous semen donor programme in Canada. A survey of 301 donor applicants was conducted to collect demographic data including age, marital status, paternity status and occupation, in addition to information assessing donor eligibility and willingness to donate without reimbursement. Eligible candidates were screened to determine their acceptance or exclusion from the semen donor programme. The results showed that the relationships found between donor applicant demographics and their willingness to participate without reimbursement do not appear to be consistent with earlier published studies in various countries. Further screening resulted in a recruitment rate of less than 1%. Additional studies will be required to investigate the feasibility of altruistic semen donation programmes in Canada, and to determine the potential impact of these findings on Canadians who rely on donor gamete services to build their families.