This article explores what motivated participants to volunteer for a qualitative social work research project as well as the co-construction of the researcher-participant relationship. In social work research methodology literature, much attention has been given to the importance of engaging participants in democratised research relationships, but less attention has been given to the process from participants' perspectives. Often, little is known about the meanings attributed by participants to the process. Based on information from participants in a doctoral research project on psychosocial support needs in relation to assisted reproductive service use, this article considers participants' motivations to volunteer for research. Twenty-eight women were interviewed and all were asked about their motivations to volunteer; their responses highlight the mutuality of exchange and the complexity of the researcher-participant relationship. The need for social work researchers to carefully negotiate this relationship and to acknowledge and actively respond to participants' motivations is reinforced.