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
Julie Wiese, BSN, RN, Eos Conception Egg Donor Agency:
Our world is constantly changing, often in ways that impact our socio-economic environments. Egg donors will have, or will not have had, the same educational opportunities or backgrounds as you. Many intended parents seek an egg donor who shares a similar education background and professional aspirations, however this mindset is a pitfall that limits the search for an ideal egg donor candidate.
Your donor conceived child will be raised and nurtured within your family, where they will be exposed to your intellectual environment and have the educational opportunities that you provide them. Your influence and environment is the primary factor that will encourage the amount of formal education that a child achieves. Epigenetics is the study of how lifestyle choices, how we are raised, and external factors in our environment, can impact your DNA, while not actually changing it.
Jenny Patel, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates:
It is a great idea to make a list of traits/characteristics you are looking for in a donor; at the same time, try to keep an open mind when choosing a donor. We are all very different individuals, just like snowflakes, and instead of focusing your search based just on one or two specific characteristics, try to look at the donor as an individual who can contribute her unique characteristics. After all, blending genetics is so unpredictable and at the end you will have a child who will be unique to your family.
Natalie King, Program Director, Atlantic Shared Beginnings:
I see many recipients caught up in trying to find an egg donor that looks exactly like them, right down to height and exact hair and eye color. Remember that even if a donor has a brown eyes, the resulting child could have blue! There are heritable phenotype changes that are the result of environmental influences as well that can play a role in the look of your child.
Finding an egg donor and her family with similar phenotypes as yours is reasonable. Remember that feeling a connection is also important. When you are drawn to a donor based on her answers, her personality, and her overall message in her profile you’re on the right track! If she is not your exact height or her hair is slighly lighter, remember that your child will make their look their own.
Corby Barnes, Match Specialist, ORM Fertility:
Family history and genetics can play a very important part in your donor selection.
Every clinic and agency will provide various levels of screening and testing.
Family History assessments are common and are oral histories taken by a genetic counselor. These are an integral part in understanding the heredity of what will be your child’s medical story.
Carrier Status on the other hand is a blood test performed to determine recessive conditions the donor may carrier. Being a carrier in and of itself is common, however it is often not recommended that you match with a donor that is a carrier for the same condition as the sperm provider.
Yvonne Asciutto, Egg Donor Lead, Egg Donor Connect:
Everyone has a different experience matching with a donor, much like buying a home. Some people find the perfect house right away and feel a strong connection, while for others it can take a bit more time and they might never have that overwhelming feeling. And that's ok! Take a moment to work out how you're feeling and trust your instincts.
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.