Considering egg donation in your journey to build a family might feel like you’ve given up on your own eggs. You might even feel like you have lost any control over the process. Take heart – the good news is that egg donation is an excellent backup plan to consider. Once you (and your partner, if you have one) have discussed the options with a reproductive specialist, you can still be entirely connected to the process with these tips to help select your egg donor.

Who Should Consider Egg Donation?

Reproductive specialists often suggest an egg donor for women who cannot get pregnant using their eggs due to age, premature ovarian failure, early menopause, or damaged ovaries. Your doctor might also suggest using an egg donor because of unexplained infertility, repeated IVF failure, or miscarriages. Single men and gay couples also use egg donations to build their families.

10 Tips to Help You Select Your Egg Donor

1. Where to Get Donor Eggs

Decide whether to look for your egg donor through your infertility clinic’s egg donation program, an egg donation agency, or a frozen egg bank. CreatingaFamily has this chart to help you decide.

2. Fresh or Frozen Eggs

Choose whether it is best for you and your family to use fresh or frozen egg donation. This podcast covers these two options and other necessary information about egg donation.

3. Known or Unknown Donors

Even if you use an unknown donor, you need to decide if you want contact – and what kind – in the future.

  • Do you want your future child to have access to contact information?
  • Do you want an open relationship with an exchange of names and contact information?
  • Do you prefer a semi-open relationship where the agency holds contact information and both parties agree on certain conditions for contact, like using the agency as a mediator, only for crucial medical information, or the exchange of photos?
  • Or, do you want a totally closed donation?

Many resources on the page for Egg Donation will help you work through these questions.

When to Choose Egg Donation

4. The Donor’s Donation History

Inquire about the donor’s history. Has the donor been successful at donating in the past? How many eggs were retrieved? (Remember, quantity is not the same as quality.) Having produced eggs in the past is evidence of the ability to produce eggs when stimulated. Some intended parents like the idea of a donor that has not donated eggs to another couple. Keep in mind that she may donate to another couple in the future.

5. The Age of the Donor

How old is the donor? The generally preferred age range is between 21 and 30.

6. Your “Fit” with the Donor

Do you think you would like her when you read the donor’s essay and interests? Could she be a friend? Would she fit well in your family?

7. The Egg Donor’s Traits

What are the donor’s physical characteristics? What about her siblings’ and parents’ traits? Think about the following traits:

  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Height, weight, body type/shape
  • Interests, Talents, Educational pursuits

It will be most helpful if you can prioritize the characteristics that are most important to you. It is OK to want the donor to be tall, beautiful, athletic, thin, academically gifted, and a musical progeny. If you are doing this with a partner or spouse, consider making separate lists and decide together on a combined, prioritized list.

8. Her Medical History

Please pay attention to her personal medical history and her extended family medical history. There may be very little information on her family medical history, which is often the case with younger donors.

9. The Donor’s Health Habits

Does the egg donor smoke cigarettes or marijuana? Smoking is terrible for egg quality. Is she an active, physically fit person? Her health habits are crucial to her fertility health.

10. The Donor’s Ability to Succeed

Does this donor seem motivated enough to set herself up for success in the donation process? Is her schedule flexible to administer the needed medications consistently and successfully?

Focus on the Outcome

Though it might feel like a hard pill to swallow when your physician asks you to consider egg donation, it doesn’t have to be a defeat. As our good friend, Dr. Joe Massey said in his guest post on the topic,

This journey can be long but, once again, a sunny day is on the horizon.  A baby resulting from a donor egg is just as wonderful and loved as a baby from your own eggs. The hard part is making the decision.

Have you pursued egg donation? How did you choose your egg donor?

Image Credits: Rusiru Bhagya; Artem Podrez; Monstera