How to Choose an Egg Donor
For some intended parents, choosing an egg donor can be a complex and emotional process. For others, it’s an exciting journey. And for everyone, choosing an egg donor is a personal decision that requires careful consideration, and a clear understanding of the process.
In this article, we will guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting an egg donor to help you make the best decision for your family. From evaluating the medical history, personality, to considering the level of privacy and disclosure status, we will cover all the important elements to help you find the perfect match for your family.
Whether you are just beginning your journey or are well on your way, this comprehensive guide will provide you with the information you need to make informed and confident choices.
Factors when selecting an egg donor
When you work with Cofertility, you start by making a free account and browsing the profiles of hundreds of pre-qualified donors. Once you have your account, you can sort by a number of factors:
- Jewish ancestry
- Hair color
- Eye color
- Level of education
- School (if it’s Top 100, Top 50, Ivy League)
- Hair’s natural state (e.g. straight, curly)
- Personality (introvert, extrovert, ambivert)
- Thinker (left brain, right brain)
- And disclosure preference (see more on that below)
Once you go into the profile, you’ll be able to really get to know the member. Additional information included in the profile include:
- Photos from childhood and current day
- Dominant hand
- If they have dimples
- If they have freckles
- Degree earned and major
- Job/career details
- Languages spoken
- Musical instruments played
- Aptitudes in math, science, athletics, music, and art
- What school subjects they enjoyed the most and least
- Hobbies, interests, talents
- Short-term and long-term goals in life
- Greatest strengths
- Favorite book, movie, and food
- Detailed health record including blood type, allergies, medications, and health history for the donor and their family
We’ve made these profiles to really share the human-side of each donor. We are so fortunate to have an amazing group of women as part of our Split Program, where donors get to freeze their eggs for free in exchange for donating half to your family.
The donor egg selection process
The first step is to review profiles and favorite any donors that really resonate with your family. Here are some things you’ll want to spend time reviewing:
- Medical history: Review the egg donor's medical history to ensure your comfortable with their health history. Our donors have already been pre-qualified, going above and beyond FDA and ASRM-recommended screening guidelines. But that doesn’t mean they won’t have some health history (e.g. allergies, glasses, surgeries) for you to learn about.
- Physical characteristics: If you’re hoping for a donor that looks like you, you’ll want to learn more about the donor's physical characteristics, such as eye and hair color.
- Personality: Some people also consider the donor's personality, field of study/work, and hobbies to find a match that aligns with their values and interests.
- Privacy and disclosure status: Consider the level of disclosure and openness you prefer in your donor relationship. Some families prefer to have a more open relationship with their donor, while others prefer to keep things more private. Learn more about disclosure here.
Once you find a donor, you can place a hold so no one else can match with that donor while your doctor reviews her profile. Once you move forward with a match, the donor will undergo a physical examination, psychological evaluation, and full genetic screen. Your doctor will review these results and give us the green light to move forward. We will also ensure that donors are screened for background and education checks.
Does blood type matter?
It’s helpful to know the blood type of the donor, but blood type doesn’t need to be a reason to choose a donor, and most parents have other attributes that are more important to them. Read more about blood types in this article.
How to find an egg donor that looks like you
If you want to increase the chances that the donor-conceived child looks like your family, then you may want to find a donor with similar physical features. Keep in mind – even genetic relatives can look wildly different. And picking a donor that looks like you in no way guarantees the child will look like you or the donor!
To find an egg donor that looks like you, you will want to use the physical trait filters like hair color, hair type, height, race, and eye color. Simply create a free account to begin searching today.
Disclosed or undisclosed?
One thing that’s important to think through is the type of relationship you want with the donor.
In a disclosed relationship, you exchange contact information and can communicate directly. The scope and degree of communication (both during and post-match) is what both parties make of it.
While we don’t offer anonymous donations, in an undisclosed relationship, you do not exchange contact information and only communicate through Cofertility.
We also ask the donors to consider which type of relationship they prefer, and you can find this info in their profile. Regardless of the relationship you both choose, if both parties are interested, we can facilitate a phone or video meeting between you and the donor during the matching period. This can be done with or without sharing contact information.
What’s the most important thing when choosing an egg donor?
There are so many variables to consider when choosing an egg donor. And with so many factors to consider, it can be overwhelming to determine what is most important. Ultimately, this is a deeply personal decision. We have some families that tell us the most important thing is that the donor looks just like the intended mother, while others tell us having a donor who is brilliant and went to an ivy league school is what matters most, and others find it crucial that the donor is of the same religion.
When parents ask me what they should be thinking about in choosing a donor beyond physical attributes, I tell them to think about whether or not this is someone they would want to be friends with, or if they could imagine the donor as a younger cousin or sister.
I would suggest starting with the list of attributes shared above, and determine what are your “must haves” vs “nice to haves”. This will help you shorten the list of potential donors, and find the best match for your family. Most intended parents tell me they felt an immediate connection when they read a profile, and that helped make the decision.
Here are some things that you don’t need to worry about:
- The donor’s location. We work with donors across the US and can either coordinate the donor’s travel, or help get eggs and embryos safely transported between the donor’s location and your clinic.
- If she’s psychologically prepared. You don’t have to worry about this because psychological screening is part of our process at Cofertility, and we coordinate the screening of each donor.
- If the donor is likely to have enough eggs. As part of the medical screen, the fertility doctor will evaluate her ovarian reserve and antral follicle count to determine if an egg retrieval is likely to be successful.
If you work with Cofertility, we take all the logistics and coordination off your plate to ensure the entire process runs as smoothly as possible.
Summing it up
When you work with Family by Co, you’ll have access to view our donors for free. All women on our platform are incredibly impressive, if we do say so ourselves.
Once you’ve created an account, you can filter and evaluate egg donor options based on criteria you’ve set forth. Our goal is to be as human-centered, transparent, and ethical as possible — giving you a real glimpse into who all of our donors are as true humans, including their personalities, values, and backgrounds. Of course, this is in addition to their medical profile, genetic history, and more.
When you select a match, the donor has the opportunity to learn more about you and accept the match, ensuring the matching is the right fit for all before moving forward. And we’ll walk with you every step of the way. You can read more about our matching platform here.
Lauren is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cofertility. She previously founded Uber Health, where under her leadership, the business helped millions of patients get the care they need. Her own fertility journey gave her immediate clarity that she wanted to build something meaningful in reproductive health.
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