If you’re applying for our Split program, where you’ll give a portion of your eggs to a family that cannot conceive otherwise, you may be wondering how much the intended parents (IPs) and any donor-conceived children will know about you—and vice versa. We know this is a big deal and we want to give you as much information as possible to help you make the best decision for you.
Disclosed vs. undisclosed relationships
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.
In an undisclosed relationship, you do not exchange contact information and only communicate through Cofertility. With an undisclosed donation, you and the family can choose to allow the donor-conceived child to receive your contact information when they turn a certain age (usually 18). This is called Open ID, an increasingly popular option.
Does undisclosed mean anonymous?
To put it bluntly, it is impossible to guarantee true anonymity in egg donation. With widely available genetic tests and more state laws giving donor-conceived children access to information about their donors, it’s increasingly likely that identity and shared genetics may be discovered.
At Freeze by Co, we want to honor the perspectives of all parties involved in the family-building process. This includes Split members, intended parents, and especially any future donor-conceived children. Given research on the benefits of parents being open with their children about being donor-conceived, we encourage intended parents (through our Family by Co platform) to be open to their children about their conception story.
If the eggs you give lead to a child (and we hope that they do!), that donor-conceived child may eventually want to reach out with their own questions. We want to be upfront that this could happen, even if you opt for an undisclosed match.
What do these relationships look like in practice?
Every relationship is unique and depends on the desires of the Split member, intended parents, and what’s best for any future donor-conceived children. They can range from regular communication to a single notification when the donor-conceived child is born. While this list is by no means exhaustive, we wanted to paint a picture of how these relationships may play out:
Disclosed relationships may include:
- Receiving an annual holiday card from the intended family
- Communicating with either the parents and/or donor conceived children around milestone events, like first steps up to graduations
- Speaking directly with the donor conceived child once he/she reaches a particular age
- Simply keeping communication lines open if an issue or need arises.
Conversely, an undisclosed relationship may include:
- Receiving a photo of the baby when he/she is born
- Communicating via Cofertility to share a meaningful update like first words
Note that if a donor-conceived child experiences a serious medical condition, you may be asked to provide supplemental medical information to help the family navigate the situation. Also, if new information comes up about your own medical history, we ask you to let us know so that any relevant information can be shared with the family. This is the case regardless of your relationship status.
If I have kids now or in the future, do I have to share this with them?
If you have children in the future, we encourage you to share this information with them. You may decide to wait until your children reach a particular age or you may ask the IPs to let you know when they share their own child’s conception story so that you can do the same.
As mentioned earlier, with the advent of consumer-facing genetic testing companies like 23andMe, it is also possible that your children could be contacted by donor-conceived children in the future. As such, you may prefer to share this information on your own terms. Whether that is five, ten, or fifteen years from now — we’ll provide you with resources to support that conversation.
Egg donation is a beautiful way to build a family and not something anyone involved should be ashamed of. Research shows that normalizing egg donation with children at an early age is best. This is true for parents who raise the child, as well as the egg donor who made it possible.
What are my options with Split?
As part of the Split program application, you’ll be given the opportunity to indicate your preference for a disclosed or undisclosed relationship. You can also indicate openness to both. This information will also be shared on your profile so that you will only be matched with IPs who are aligned on the desired relationship type.
If you still have questions about the spectrum of relationship options, reach out! We’re here to help you navigate it all, and we find that Split members are often open to a wide range of options after getting to know the family they are helping.
If you’re applying for our Split program, we know you have a lot to consider. Our goal is to build families, but we aim to do so in a way that honors all parties involved. If you have any questions about our policies or thoughts around disclosure or want to talk through your personal situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out.