What Should I Look for in an Egg Donor Database?

egg donor database

Egg donor databases are a fantastic resource when you’re looking for an egg donor to help you grow your family. But let’s face it: There is a whole LOT of information out there. So if you’re staring at your computer screen thinking “what am I supposed to look for in an egg donor database?,” you might be tempted to power down and walk away. Hold on a second!

We’ve been where you are. We’re here to help you navigate that egg donor database to find just the right donor.

What information can I find in an egg donor database?

First things first. An egg donor database is stocked with a ton of information about donors. This vital data can help you decide which donor is the right one to help build your family.

You can expect to find all of this — and maybe more — about donors:

  • Physical characteristics such as height, weight, and eye color
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Family health history
  • Personal health history
  • Results of any tests for genetic diseases
  • Educational background
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Whether she’s donated eggs before

Egg donor details to look for

The details that will be most important to you will be pretty personal. After all, some intended parents are looking for a donor who looks like them. Other intended parents may have concerns about genetic diseases. It’s all individual.

But not all egg donor databases are created equal. Even with all that information, the process may feel less like family building and more like a commercial transaction. Some databases let you look through their listings of potential donors, choose superficial filters, make a choice, pay the egg donor bank a fee, and simply move on to the next step of the IVF process.

Not what you had in mind when you decided you wanted to use an egg donor? We hear you. You aren’t just choosing an egg from an egg donor database. You’re choosing half of your future child’s DNA, choosing a person who can help you along this life-changing journey. What you want to look for is an egg donor database that keeps all the human components in mind — what about the relationships? What about the human who is helping you on your fertility journey?

Three key things you can look for in your egg donor database profiles:

  • Has she donated before? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires fertility clinics to report a history of previous donations for egg donors, and that includes whether or not their donation resulted in a live birth. This is important information not only when thinking about the success of a future IVF cycle but also for considering whether or not your child might have other half-siblings out in the world.
  • Is she open to contact with your family? Not every intended parent wants to be in contact with their egg donor, but some do, and knowing where she stands from the get-go can be crucial in helping you make your decision. Keep in mind, in today’s world of genetic and ancestry testing, no donation is 100% anonymous.
  • Why is she donating? There are countless reasons why women choose to donate their eggs, but knowing her “why” can help you decide if she’s the right person to choose from the long list of candidates in an egg donor database. Because there are no federal regulations regarding how much egg donors can be paid, you may encounter donors asking for exorbitant compensation — far beyond what the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests in its ethical guidelines for egg donations. There are some concerns that many donors are so tempted by the chance to make a lot of money that they don’t thoroughly think through their decision (or worse, they report inaccurate information). Learning your donor’s “why” is a crucial means of making sure she feels safe and as good about this life-changing decision as you do.

Should I look for a donor that looks like me?

Even before starting to peruse donor profiles, you (and your partner if you have one) should get on the same page about what’s important to your family. Is it important that the egg donor looks like you? Some agencies include photos of the donor as a child, while others include adult photos. Keep in mind that having a donor who shares your features does not guarantee the child will look like you, but certainly increases your chances.

Bottom line

An egg donor database can help you find the right egg donor for your family. Knowing what to look for will help you choose not just the right donor, but the right database.