Learning that you and your partner cannot conceive a child through natural means isn’t an easy thing for hopeful parents. Even when you understand the reasons why, or have seen it coming. It’s like being faced with your worst nightmare. Dreams of parenthood and children suddenly seem far off or cut short. Fortunately, prospective intended parents can pursue other options and methods of having a family.One such method is through finding an egg donor. It is a path that your doctor has recommended for you. But with this suggestion comes a slew of decisions. There are many aspects to think about. What qualities and characteristics mean the most to you and your life-partner? Who will you select to be your egg donor? Where do you begin? How does the process work?
Definition of Terms
To begin, what is an egg donor? Put simply, an egg donor is a woman who donates her eggs to help another woman conceive. To donate her eggs, a fertile woman must have a procedure in which her doctor removes one or more eggs. After this, the doctor fertilizes the eggs in a lab, then implants the resulting embryos into another woman’s uterus. The placement procedure is known as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Sometimes, the embryos are frozen for later use.Finding an egg donor is a pretty big decision, and it can be overwhelming. The good news is that you’re not in this alone. You won’t be left stranded when weighing all the different options and combing through all the factors. There are several good resources available to help you determine the best ways to find an egg donor.
Best Ways to Find an Egg Donor
Your fertility doctor will be your greatest resource when looking for the best ways to find an egg donor. As he or she is already in the field, they may have some recommendations via a donor database, which will save you the stress of blindly tackling the hundreds of options on the Internet. Not to mention the insurance headache of potentially paying for something out of network.Another benefit of going through your fertility doctor is that you’re already part of their system. It’s not uncommon for clinics to disqualify patients who haven’t established with them or their affiliated agencies. If you find that the pool of donors is too limited at your fertility clinic, however, there are additional options for finding an egg donor.
Someone you already know -- there is the option of using someone that you already know as a way to find an egg donor. You can ask a trusted friend or family member to donate their eggs for you to use. They would just need to pass medical and psychological screenings before they do. This is something that all egg donors require. Intended parents who want that strong genetic connection will often choose a family member. However, choosing a family member, may involve legal complications. Technically, that family member would be the child’s parent, so there would need to be an agreement made beforehand as to what kind of relationship the donor could have after the child was born. Similar with a friend as well, especially if you had a close relationship with the friend and saw them a lot.
An egg bank -- a relatively new way to find an egg donor in the surrogacy world, yet a good one nonetheless. Egg banks can offer intended parents a more affordable option, as it includes retrieving the donor’s eggs, which have been cryopreserved. In other words, the donor has already gone through the process and donated her eggs for intended parents to use. The biggest drawback to this option is that egg banks, currently, are not required to publish their success rates. So, the quality of the eggs -- being frozen so far in advance -- and the bank itself may vary widely.
An egg donor agency -- will provide a focused pool of donors for them to use. Agencies specialize in finding potential matches for intended parents, so the available database will most often be larger than going another route. Intended parents have a higher chance of finding a donor with specific traits through an agency as well. However, going through an egg donor agency is typically the more expensive option for intended parents.
Another infertile couple -- similar to using someone you already know, intended parents can have another infertile couple as their egg donor. In order for this to work, the couple would need to be going through IVF treatments at the same fertility clinic, with no additional ovarian fertility factors. The chosen couple could receive a slight discount for their own IVF treatments through this method, because they are doing what’s known as “egg sharing.” However, sharing between the two couples could be there’s not enough eggs to go around. If this happens, the infertile couple, of course, would get first priority. Success rates through egg sharing vary.
Before making a final decision, make sure that you thoroughly discuss all your options with your doctor, lawyer and chosen surrogacy agency caseworker. They will all help you define the choice that is right for you and your partner.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.