How do you choose an egg donor? This decision can be incredibly difficult. Learn more about the crucial factors that might help you with your choice.
How to Select an Egg Donor
Planning a family requires an enormous amount of planning, regardless of your circumstances. This is especially true for families who require Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) services (like egg donation or surrogacy).
Choosing an egg donor is a significant decision that takes time and careful consideration. Your child will be genetically related to the donor, which is why our donor profiles and requirements are so comprehensive.
Here are 10 factors intended parents could consider when choosing an egg donor.
What Are The Things You Should Consider When Choosing An Egg Donor?
1. Medical History
There are several medical requirements to be considered an egg donor. All potential egg donors will undergo testing and screening to confirm their eligibility. Once accepted onto our database, donors’ medical history will be viewable by Intended Parents. This helps to ensure that all of our donors have a clean bill of health and no significant genetic concerns, diseases or reproductive health issues.
Younger donors generally have a higher chance of successful pregnancies. This is why all of our donors are between 18 and 29.
Not all egg donors have been pregnant before, but many have been. This can indicate the donor’s reproductive health and the viability of her eggs. For this reason, proven fertility is a priority for Intended Parents when choosing an egg donor.
Regardless of her reproductive history, your egg donor will be required to take fertility medications ahead of her retrieval procedure.
4. Genetic Compatibility
Your egg donor will be biologically related to your child, so it’s crucial to consider genetic compatibility. This can help to minimize the risk of inherited diseases or conditions.
5. Physical Characteristics
Many Intended Parents hope to physically resemble their child, so they look for an egg donor with similar characteristics to their own. We make this easy: Our egg donors include several childhood photographs of themselves on their profiles, including current photos. Profiles will also have physical characteristics like height, weight, eye color and hair color.
6. Education and Intelligence
Some Intended Parents prioritize donors with higher education or specific intellectual qualities. If this is a priority for your family, you can find information on your donor’s educational background in their database profile.
7. Personality and Values
It’s essential to have a sense of the donor’s personality and values. While this can be challenging to assess fully, interviews or questionnaires may help gauge compatibility. Your donor’s profile is a safe and comprehensive space to learn more about her, who she is, and what her personality is like.
8. Donor’s Motivation
In the US, egg donors are paid for their important contribution—but most choose this role because they want to help another family, not just receive a paycheck. We find that it’s helpful to understand the donor’s motivation for participating in egg donation. A donor who genuinely wants to help others build a family may be a better fit overall.
9. Screening and Testing
Screening helps minimize potential risks and ensures a donor’s suitability before entering an agreement. This is why we recommend all Intended Parents work with a reputable agency instead of finding an egg donor themselves.
Not only will an agency help you navigate the many steps necessary for this process, but it will also help ensure that your egg donor is qualified for this role. This includes a comprehensive screening of all egg donors before proceeding with any ART agreement.
10. Legal and Ethical Considerations
Your agency will also make sure that your agreement is legally and ethically sound: At Extraordinary Conceptions, we guarantee that your donor has legal representation and there is a clear agreement regarding parental rights and responsibilities.
Other Considerations When Finding an Egg Donor
Once you’ve chosen an egg donor (or shortlisted a few potentials), there are other essential elements to consider before moving forward. These considerations are less about your donor and more about you and your family’s unique needs, like:
- Your Finances
Working with an egg donor is a financial investment. If you are choosing the recommended route of using an egg donor through an agency, it’s important to recognize that the costs associated are separate from those of your fertility clinic. Don’t worry, though; your clinic will stay in close communication with the agency so that none of the costs are duplicated.
- Your Timeline
The egg donation process is not like buying a car. While it’s an important investment, the entire egg donation process, from selection through retrieval, is typically around 12 to 16 weeks—but everybody’s journey is different. Timelines can vary due to the medical and legal requirements that fertility clinics and agencies must adhere to. The results from medical screening tests can take up to two to four weeks to get back, and legal contracts can take several weeks to get signed and completed.
When planning your egg donor agreement timeline, also consider other scheduling basics. Your donor’s menstrual calendar will play a significant role, and you may not be able to start until she reaches a particular point in her cycle. Your doctor’s schedule or the availability of the laboratory may also affect your timeline.
- Type of Agreement
The majority of their donor agreements are anonymous, meaning that donors never meet their Intended Parents and don’t know their names or location. However, open donations are starting to become more common. This choice is entirely up to your family if it aligns with your preferences.
- Your Other ART Needs
Some families require both an egg donor and a surrogate to bring the baby home! This will entail two separate agreements: legally, your egg donor cannot also be your surrogate. In the US, only “gestational” surrogacy is allowed, which means that surrogates cannot be biologically related to the baby she carries.
If you need both a surrogate and an egg donor, select your egg donor first. There are a few reasons for this. Surrogates are usually eager to get started, and there may be a holding fee if there is a delay in finding an egg donor or completing the cycle. There is also a risk that the surrogate may get matched with a set of Intended Parents who are ready to get started immediately.
Even if there is a delay in finding a surrogate, the cycle can still move forward with the egg donor. All embryos can be frozen until the surrogate is ready to proceed.
- Your Emotions, Questions and Concerns
Any and all emotions that you are feeling right now are valid and natural. We promise. Many women actually go through a grieving process when they learn they won’t have a genetic link with their child. If you are experiencing this type of grief, allow yourself to feel these emotions; we highly recommend speaking with a counselor or therapist. We are happy to provide a referral to someone who specializes in reproductive or family therapy if needed.
This process may also evoke feelings of overwhelm, confusion, or stress. Please do not hesitate to contact our team whenever you need us. Our staff has lived experience with ART treatments and egg donation. We’ve been in your shoes, and we are here to support you as you walk through this journey.
We’ve made finding an egg donor straightforward to navigate. You can register to become an Intended Parent with us at your convenience. You’ll have immediate access to our egg donor database, available 24/7 online to our Intended Parents.
Reach out and get in touch with our Egg Donor team to learn more about our egg donation program!