Egg Donor FAQ
You have questions... We have answers!
We understand how overwhelming this is. Take a deep breath… we’re going to walk you through step by step instructions, answer frequently asked questions, and share common approaches to egg donation.
The first step is choosing a donor. Easy enough, right? OK the reality is that this step is often one of the hardest parts on your end. The good news? Once you’ve chosen a donor, we will handle the rest!
The entire process will take about three months from choosing your donor to egg retrieval. Between start and finish there will be screening of your donor (medical and psychological), legal contracts, syncing cycles, donor follicle stimulation/medications and retrieval. The only further action needed from you after selecting your donor is signing legal documents (with us, then your donor), and following payment schedules.
We will keep you updated along the way. You can be involved as much or as little as you would like. For busy parents with demanding jobs and schedules, allowing the agency to handle everything is their preference. For some parents, being involved in decision making and receiving frequent updates are paramount. Just let us know your communication style!
I didn’t find any egg donors I like in my state.
No problem. Your egg donor does not have to live in the same state as your IVF clinic. One of the many hats we wear is that of a travel agent. If your clinic is in California and you like a donor in New York we will book her travel to CA.
Typically this involves two trips – a one day trip for initial medical evaluation and a second trip that will involve a weeklong stay for the retrieval procedure.
There is no extra work on your end if you choose an out of state donor. We will handle all travel arrangements based on the IVF calendar provided by your clinic.
However, working with an out of state donor does cost a little bit more. On average, the entire added cost might approximate about $2,500.00 give or take.
For some couples compartmentalizing this added cost is worth it for the right match. For others, it is cost prohibitive and that’s OK. We just want you to know what your options are.
Relationship with your donor
Q: Will I meet my donor?
A: Most donations arranged are anonymous. This means you will not meet your donor in person, exchange contact information, or receive her demographics (and vice versa). However, you may wish to meet her in person and we’re happy to arrange that if she is open to the idea.
A few different types of relationships might include:
Anonymous with no contact - as stated above, you do not exchange contact information or meet your donor face to face (including skype or phone call). You can still communicate through the agency (gifts, emails, letters, etc).
Anonymous with contact – You do not exchange contact information or demographics, but you do choose to meet in person, over the phone, or through skype with an agency representative present.
Open – You exchange contact information with your donor. You may or may not meet her in person.
What situation is right for you? Only you can answer that question based on what is important to you. If you want to know what most recipients do, 9/10 choose anonymity. Remaining Anonymous may or may not be right for you
Q: What if I change my mind about being anonymous?
A: The relationship with your donor will be addressed in your Donor-Intended Parent agreement. If you decide years down the road that you wish to change that to ‘open’, an addendum can be made to the contract with your donor if she agrees to it. If we are unable to locate your donor or she does not agree to the change we will not be able to provide you with your donors contact information.
Q: Based on the relationship I choose to have with my donor, what does future contact look like?
A: If your relationship is anonymous you can send your donor gifts or messages through the agency. You may also opt to sign up for the Donor Sibling Registry to maintain anonymity while leaving the door open for future contact down the road. If your relationship is open, you and your donor can determine what level of future contact is comfortable. This may be sending photos or updates a few times a year for the first couple of years, then possible annual updates after that, etc.
Donor Sibling Registry
Q: What is the donor sibling registry?
A: The Donor sibling registry is a database where donors, recipients, and children can locate one another. Signing up is optional and costs money. Many donors and recipients agree to sign up in their Donor-Intended Parent legal agreement. You and your donor will use your agency assigned pseudonyms as ‘user names’. We will communicate your donors ID with you, and vice versa. As the recipient parent, it is often your financial responsibility to pay for your, and your donors membership. We are happy to arrange this. You may then communicate through the DSR under your anonymous names.
Q: Why pay for a membership on the DSR when we could contact our Donor through the agency or clinic?
A: Agencies and clinics dissolve, become insolvent, or cease operations. Moreover, most clinics and agencies only maintain records on site for a certain number of years. The DSR promises to be around for years to come.
Q: What is it?
A: Donors have the legal right to place limitations on what happens to excess embryos created using her eggs. The various options for disposition of excess embryos includes:
Donating to another family for reproductive purposes
Donating to scientific research
Q: Wait, I thought all the embryos were mine? Why does my donor get a say in what happens to them?
A: After creation, the embryos do belong to you for your own reproductive purposes. You may have as many children as you want from the available embryos and you may keep them cryopreserved for as long as you want as well. What happens to excess embryos outside your own reproductive attempts or cryopreservation is where the donor may place limitations.
A donor may wish to place limitations on the disposition of excess embryos due to personal convictions or religious reasons. A donor may feel uncomfortable with her genetic material being donated to other couples and her having no control or knowledge about the disposition of her genetic material. In this case, a donor may request that embryos not be donated to another couple at all, or that she at least be notified in writing should such a situation occur. Or, a donor may have religious views on the destruction of embryos and prefer you donate them to another couple to give them a chance at life.
Having to make a decision regarding excess embryos may never come into play if recipients use all of the embryos having children of their own. We ask our donors to consider the recipients feelings regarding such personal issues and request that they not place limitation on excess embryos, however, the choice to place limitations on excess embryos is still their right. We ask donors about this at the matching stage before we proceed with medical testing to give all parties a chance to be on the same page regarding this important issue.
Q: What about my donor’s blood type?
A: Blood typing is only important If you do not plan to tell your child/ren that they were born via donated eggs. It is important to note that while a donor may list a blood type in her profile, this still needs to be verified by a medical professional if blood typing is important to you. If your donor is experienced, this has likely already been verified.
If the carrier (you or your gestational carrier) is Rh- she will need to take a shot of Rhogam between the 26th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
Telling children about egg donation
Q: Should I tell my child he or she was born from donated eggs?
A: Disclosure to donor-conceived children is strongly encouraged, however, ultimately this is a personal decision that only the recipient parents can make. There is no right or wrong answer. The ASRM ethics committee issued an opinion on this matter and states that research on families who have disclosed indicates that disclosure does not appear to injure the child, and some research suggests a positive effect on parent-child relationships in disclosing families. Research also indicates that among parents who disclose, few express regret, most report positive feelings and report no negative effect on their relationship with their child.
Q: When is the right time to tell a child?
A: from the same ASRM article, the ethics committee suggests: Some social scientists, mental health professionals, parents, and donor-conceived persons suggest that there is an advantage in disclosing during the preschool and school-age years, before puberty, so the child can absorb that information over time and the child ‘always knows’. While there is no research that identifies a specific ideal age for disclosure, the literature suggests that children who are told when they are young respond neutrally, with curiosity, or pleasure, rather than distress. Late disclosure, during adolescence or adulthood, has been associated with negative feelings of confusion, betrayal, distrust, and anger among offspring.
The Myth of Anonymity
Q: If I choose not to disclose to my child/ren that they were conceived with the help of an egg donor how can I guarantee they won’t find out?
A: The possibility of unplanned disclosure has increased with the growing frequency of genetic testing in contemporary medicine and the growing existence of DNA databases. The truth is, anonymity is never a guarantee. Should all parties choose to remain anonymous the Agency will never purposely disclose identifying information of anyone without express, written permission. However, no one, not even your IVF doctor, can guarantee anonymity.
Donor Profile information
Q: Where does the information contained in the donor’s profile come from?
A: Donors answer the questions in their in-depth profiles. The agency does not independently verify the information in a donor’s profile. When a donor completes her profile, she signs a consent form stating that everything in her profile is true and accurate to the best of her knowledge. However, we are happy to verify items like education, GPA, etc upon your request.
We do run background checks of your donors once they are in cycle, but this will only relay possible criminal history and does not verify information such as previous employment or education. A donors medical information such as genetics, mental health, drug use, ovarian health, and infectious diseases, etc will be assessed by professionals of the medical and psychological field during the cycle.
Q: Is the donors age listed in her profile current?
A: Yes. Our system updates a donors age at 12:01am on her birth date. So, the age you see in a donors profile is accurate and current based on her date of birth.
Q: What does the agency do to earn their fee?
A: At first glance, it may seem like the agency simply matches donors to intended parents then everyone else does all the work (the parents, clinic, and donor). The perception is that the agency does little work to earn the fees they charge.
The truth is the agency does a lot of work behind the scenes which may go unnoticed from donor recruitment and database management, to actual cycle coordination and so much more.
The agency reviews hundreds of donor applicants on a monthly basis, the majority of which do not pass the application stage and never go on to become cycles. Of the approximate 20% that pass the application stage only half continue on to complete their profiles and agency interview. Of those donors that make it to profile publication, approximately 85% do not get selected to participate in a cycle through the agency. Consequently, by the simple nature of the business many man hours are expended that never generate revenue.
Once a donor is chosen to participate in a cycle the agency works hard behind the scene to coordinate the cycle with your clinic over a 2-3 month period. This work includes legal referrals for recipients and donors, streamlining the legal clearance process, escrow management set up, securing short term complications insurance for the cycle, genetic consult referral, assistance for scheduling donor psychological evaluation, medical screening, and medical monitoring, etc. For donors that have to travel out of state the agency takes on the role of a travel agent to book all travel accommodations for the donor and her companion for screening and retrieval. We facilitate billing for medical screening and monitoring (for appointments not done at your clinic for out of state donors) as well as payments to all agency referred third party professionals (legal, psych, genetic counselor, legal retainers, escrow, etc).
We do post cycle follow ups for records and continue ongoing database management.
Additionally, all businesses are subject to operating expenses and egg donation agencies are no exception. We are responsible for employee wages, advertising expenses, insurance, web development and maintenance, office expenses and supplies, business travel, professional licenses and organization memberships, etc…
We are personally and emotionally invested in each cycle, and do everything in our power to ensure a successful cycle for recipients and donors both up front and behind the scenes.