How To Choose an Egg Donor
Sometimes fertility issues make it impossible to achieve pregnancy without the help of a donor. In fact, more than 10% of all couples undergoing ART procedures use donated sperm or eggs to increase their chances of conception. If you are unable to produce viable eggs of your own, you may be considering using an egg donor in order to conceive. But how exactly do you choose the right egg donor? This article will help give you some helpful tips on choosing the appropriate egg donor for you.
What is an Egg Donor?
An egg donor is any woman who donates one of her own eggs to help another woman conceive. Egg donors are usually young women with no past history of infertility. They are often sisters, cousins, or friends of women undergoing fertility treatments.
Types of Egg Donors
There are usually two main types of egg donors that you can choose from:
- Known Donor: Also known as a designated donor, a known donor is someone whom you know on a personal level. Typical known donors include sisters and other female relatives, friends, or agency donors whom you have met.
- Anonymous Donors: Anonymous donors are women who donate their eggs without revealing their identity to you. Anonymous donors do share information about their physical appearance, medical background, and education level, but do not relinquish their name, address, or other personal information.
It is usually recommended that couples pursue a known donor if at all possible. Most couples prefer using a known donor because there is more information available about their medical and personal histories. By using a known donor it is sometimes also possible to ensure that your child is related to you in some way. Anonymous donors do have their advantages though. Couples often feel more secure in knowing that their egg donor will not be involved in the pregnancy and will remain unknown to both themselves and their child.
Finding an Egg Donor
There are typically two ways in which you can find an egg donor:
- Private Egg Donation: A large percentage of egg donors are found by the infertile couple out of their circle of family members or friends. You can also advertise in newspapers and magazines, or online, for a suitable egg donor.
- Agency Egg Donation: Some couples decide to use an agency in order to find an egg donor. Egg donation agencies locate and screen hundreds of egg donors. For a fee, you can look through an agency's profiles in order to find a donor that is suitable for you. Agencies usually offer anonymous egg donation, although it is possible for you to meet the egg donor in some cases.
Health of the Egg Donor
Before choosing a donor, it is important that you find out as much as possible about their medical history. Most egg donors need to be non-smokers between the ages of 18 and 35. You want to be sure that your egg donor has no past history of infertility, STDs, or other serious illnesses. You also want to make sure that your egg donor is not carrying any genetic diseases that could be passed on to your baby. All egg donation agencies rigorously screen their donors, and you should be sure to have your reproductive endocrinologist screen any known donors that you are considering.
Characteristics of the Egg Donor
One of the most important parts of choosing an egg donor is often considering their physical and emotional characteristics. When choosing an egg donor, whether it's someone that you know or an anonymous donor, be sure to consider the following things:
- body height and build
- eye and hair color
- blood type
- ethnic background
- religious background
- level of education
- special interests
If you are using an egg donation agency, the agency will provide you with a detailed profile that describes each of these characteristics. You may also consider looking at childhood pictures of your egg donor, if at all possible.