If you’re considering using an egg donor, you might be wondering, “just how exactly can I find one?” There are so many different things to think about, like what qualities or attributes you care most about. With all of these new thoughts swirling around your head, you might be wondering where to even begin. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out what you need to do to begin your hunt for an egg donor.
Here’s how you find an egg donor
Sometimes, the fertility clinic that’s helping you through your in vitro fertilization (IVF) will have a selection of approved and vetted donors for you to choose from. Other times, you may opt to contract with an outside agency or donor egg bank, or a matching platform like ours, to find your perfect match.
You may even already have a donor in mind, especially if you have a close friend, sister, or cousin who has already volunteered for the position.
1. Working with Family by Co
Finding your egg donor match on the Family by Co platform has its advantages. Not only will you know that all women on our platform aren’t doing it for cash (rather, to help another family while freezing their own eggs for free), you can also rest assured that all donors on our platform have undergone a rigorous screening process and are all-around incredible. We’d love to help build your family.
2. Using your clinic
If you’re using your fertility clinic, you may need to go through their pre-approved registry to find a donor. This might mean going on a waiting list, since your clinic is likely to have other hopeful parents interested in donor eggs.
3. Using an outside agency
For those who are able to pick a donor outside of their clinic’s network, there are egg donor agencies that help to match potential donors with hopeful parents. While they may have a larger pool to choose from than your clinic, you may also find yourself vying for the same donor eggs as several other families. Additionally, there may be additional fees involved in going through an agency.
4. Using a frozen donor egg bank
There are also frozen donor egg banks available for hopeful parents looking to secure eggs from a larger pool of donors.
If you’re considering a donor egg bank, you’ll just want to confirm that your clinic will allow you to make the transfer from an outside source.
5. Sourcing your own donor
There are two very different scenarios when it comes to finding your own egg donor:
- Using the eggs of someone you know: When you do this, it’s very important that you are both on the same page about what will take place and how you’ll handle everything, from medical payments to potential emotional conflicts down the road. You’ll also need a clear and concise legal contract drawn up by a lawyer spelling out the terms of your arrangement. Some clinics will even require both parties to undergo a psychological evaluation.
- Asking around: Intended parents might post on social media about what they’re looking for, or take out an ad in the paper.
There’s really no wrong way to find an egg donor, but some ways are certainly more complicated than others. For instance, when you’re sourcing your own donor you’ll likely need to take care of all of the legal, psychological, and medical screenings yourself. Additionally, you’ll need to help coordinate pieces of the retrieval process.
Considerations when trying to find an egg donor
It can be overwhelming when you sit down and start reviewing possible egg donor candidates, but some things should definitely be top priorities when it comes to selecting the best potential donor.
If you’re hoping to find an egg donor, first and foremost, you’ll want to make sure any candidates you look at are healthy and have no major medical problems. Our matching platform adheres to all industry guidelines when it comes to donor screening. And, for the most part, most donor matching services or fertility clinics will have screened donors in advance. However, you should still give any health records you receive a thorough review.
You’ll want to not only check for any obvious issues, but also be mindful of how your genetic makeup or that of the person whose sperm you’ll be using, could potentially cause problems. For example, make sure your egg donor does not carry the same recessive genetic disease as the fertilizing male partner.
You will also want to see if they have any family history of any major medical issues that might be genetic. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor about specific concerns.
While this can seem superficial, appearance can be important, especially if you’re hoping to use donor eggs from someone that is a close match to your own personal appearance. For example, if you’re petite, you may prefer to use eggs from a petite donor as well. Our platform provides photos of the donor, both as a child and also as an adult as well. This can give you an idea of the donor’s physical traits.
Donor values, personality, and education
Similarly, if you enjoyed your time at college so much you went back for your Masters degree, you may want to find a donor that shares your passion for learning. It’s okay to want to have certain things in common with your donor — and sharing values is important! When you find your donor match with Family by Co, we’ll conduct a background check to verify education and employment.
Beginning your quest for the perfect egg donor can feel overwhelming, but it’s also the beginning of an exciting and hopeful time. Choosing a donor can be a special time in your life because it’s the beginning of a new part of your journey. One that we hope will end with you holding a beautiful baby. We’re here to help make that happen.
Meera Shah, MD, FACOG, is a double board-certified OBGYN and reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California. She is a Founding Medical Advisor at Cofertility. Dr. Shah has authored numerous research articles on topics ranging from fertility preservation, pregnancy loss, reproductive genetics, and ethnic differences in IVF outcomes. Her medical practice incorporates the highest level of evidence-based medicine and the most cutting edge technologies to optimize outcomes for her patients. Dr. Shah applies this approach to her work with Cofertility, ensuring that Cofertility remains up-to-date on latest medical advancements and research in third-party reproduction and reproductive endocrinology in general. When Dr. Shah isn’t busy working with her patients at NOVA IVF, she enjoys playing pretty much any sport, learning new piano pieces on YouTube, and spending quality time with her husband and three boys. You can find her on Instagram providing fertility-related advice and education at @dr_meerashah.
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