The moment you make the decision that you’d like to use donor eggs to help grow your family, you’ve got a big question on your mind: How do I find an egg donor? Or really, how do I find the very BEST egg donor out there?
The best egg donor is pretty subjective, we know. Some intended parents may feel it’s important to find a family member who shares their DNA, asking them to donate their eggs. Others may want to find an egg donor who isn’t related, but is a kind, altruistic person who may or may not look like them. Some might decide the best egg donor for them is one whose eggs are already frozen, meaning they can start the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process sooner.
So how do you choose? And how do you know who is the very best?
Finding an egg donor
First things first: There are three common paths for finding an egg donor that can help get you started on your journey to find the best egg donor for your family. It’s important to pick the right path because it can be the key to finding the best donor for you.
Options to consider are:
A donor egg bank
Donor egg banks help connect intended parents to donor eggs that have already been frozen. There are a few big differences between banks and agencies. In addition to compiling all the helpful and necessary information you’d want to know about your egg donor, donor egg banks screen for both health and genetic concerns ahead of time. So you don’t get connected with a donor, only to find out they carry something in their genes that just won’t work for you. Plus, they cover the process of egg retrieval and freezing the eggs.
That means that when you turn to a donor egg bank, you don’t need to plan how she’ll donate down the line. You’re actually reading a profile of a donor who already has eggs frozen in the bank. This process is usually the fastest path when using donor eggs, and unlike a fresh donor round, you know exactly how many eggs you are getting.
An egg donor agency
Egg donor agencies can connect you to willing egg donors, sharing a database full of information about them — the same information that you’d get from an egg bank — like family medical history and education. Check out the database, pick a few donors you like, and you’ll work with the agency to figure out which donor is the best for your family.
The difference here is that donor agencies don’t already have frozen donor eggs, meaning any donor you choose would need to then go through a medical screening and a fresh egg retrieval cycle. If you find the right donor, you’ll then move forward with her, paying the agency for making the connection. If she is an anonymous donor, the agency will continue to manage the process. In other cases, you and the donor will then hammer out your relationship directly and the donor will begin the medical processes required for egg retrieval and donation.
Remember, when you choose a fresh donor, there’s a risk that after she goes through the medical screening process, she won’t be approved for a donation cycle — meaning the process starts over again.
Ask a friend or family member
This is known as a “directed donation” — meaning the egg donor directly chooses who they want to receive their eggs. This can be a great option for intended parents who want to have a continued relationship with their donor or who want to use eggs that they themselves are tied to biologically.
But how do I find the best egg donor?
Okay, so there are different paths to finding an egg donor, but you want the best egg donor out there. After all, you’re talking about making a baby, one of the most important decisions of your life.
The best egg donor is going to be different for every single family, and you’re probably going to find your best donor isn’t the same as the donor your best friend might choose! Maybe you want a donor who is super creative, just like you. Or a donor who is outgoing. Or a donor who is really tall!
In short, things can get pretty personal when it comes to finding an egg donor.
Here are some of the things every intended parent should consider when making this important choice:
- Will your fertility clinic work with your egg bank or donor agency? It may sound obvious, but not all clinics work with all egg donation banks or agencies. A simple check can save you a lot of headaches down the line.
- What is your donor’s genetic background? Some intended parents opt to use an egg donor due to genetic concerns, and knowing your donor’s genetic background can be vital to ensure they’re not carrying the very gene you’re trying to avoid. If you use a donor egg bank, that sort of testing will likely already be done for you. Going through an egg donor agency or turning to someone you know? You may need to pay to have that testing done.
- Have your donor’s eggs resulted in a birth before? If you’re using an egg donor agency or donor egg bank, you may find that your donor’s eggs have been used before. It’s more than OK to ask about that process!
- How does your donor feel about a relationship with you or the child? This is as much about your feelings on the subject as it is the donor’s — do you want them to be involved? You’ll want to make sure you and the donor are on the same page.
To find the best donor for your family, we highly recommend doing some soul searching with your partner. What attributes are most important to your family? How important is it that the child looks like you? Think about the donor-conceived person you hope to bring into this world. This is a huge decision, and it’s better to get on the same page before you begin the search.
There is a LOT to consider when you’re looking for an egg donor, so we’ve got your back.