As an Intended Parent, the path to selecting your ideal egg donor is exciting, challenging, fervent, and arguably the most important decision you'll make when building your precious family.
If you are fortunate enough to work with an in-house donor program through your fertility clinic, much of the donor’s requisite testing is performed in advance of her acceptance into the pool. Thus, you have a better idea if she is an appropriate option prior to the matching process. However, these programs often have a smaller selection of candidates available due geographic and pre-screening restrictions.
For those soon-to-be parents who are looking for a very specific type of egg donor: unique ethnicities, advanced degrees, certain physical characteristics, etc., you may find it necessary to cast a wider net and involve egg donor agencies in your search; ones who often boast a larger selection.
Regardless of where your journey commences, you will field an enormous amount of information coupled with the need to make comparisons in order to arrive at the best candidate for you & your family.
While fertility clinics and egg donor agencies have a range of acceptable standards when admitting donors to their pool, the following is a general list of factors for you to weigh throughout your decision-making process.
Other things to consider is the vetting process of the fertility clinic and/or egg donor agency you are choosing. Visit their websites to learn more about how they qualify their egg donors, ask questions and request as much information as necessary to feel confident in this decision. Just like fertility clinics' in-house programs, agencies should conduct medical, psychological, and genetic screening for each egg donor in their database.
Identifying the "perfect" egg donor may prove to be more zealous endeavor than initially anticipated. The best advice of all: be patient, thorough, flexible, and open to possibilities. If one donor doesn’t work out, do not be alarmed. The right donor is waiting for you – but she may not be your initial choice. Just know that whomever you choose is THE "perfect" young woman to help build your family!
Jenna Lake is co-founder of EDC Nexus, a unique registry developed to support Intended Parents, Egg Donors and Donor-Conceived Offspring — identified or de-identified — through a private online database providing medical updates and a mode of communication.
First and foremost, Jenna is the proud mother to a teenage, egg donor-conceived son. Her journey through third party reproduction directly launched a 15+ year career overseeing one of the largest clinic-led egg donor programs in the United States. After matching more than 3,000 cycles, and witnessing the ever-increasing demand for donor-conceived families to connect with their genetic and biological stories (and donors to stay informed of their contribution), Jenna helped to create a secure means of exchanging vital information and ensuring greater peace-of-mind on many fronts.
Currently, Jenna also serves as Operations Manager at Egg Donor Connect. She is a past board member of Parents via Egg Donation, former consultant for a surrogate agency, and the author of several articles focusing on Egg Donors and Intended Parents. Jenna can be reached through her LinkedIn profile, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Choosing an egg donor is a huge decision. We asked 5 industry experts who have helped match hundreds of intended parents for their top tips on selecting an egg donor.