Finding an egg donor isn’t as complicated as many people think. In fact, it can be a convenient, easy endeavor if you know where to start.
We’ve talked about a few things you should know about egg donation before starting the process, but when you’re ready, the best place to begin the search is at an egg donor bank or IVF clinic.
Your IVF clinic will either provide direct access to donor eggs, or will recommend certain egg donor banks that will allow Intended Parents to search for a candidate that best meets their needs.
The surrogacy and IVF communities are full of real people with real experiences—and real families. Feel free to ask! Word of mouth from other IPs that have already gone through the surrogacy and egg donor process is a largely reliable way to learn about it firsthand.
Ask anyone you know who has used an egg donor what facilities they recommend. If acquaintances fail to steer you in the right direction, ask your surrogacy agency who they recommend, or ask for the names of egg donor banks other clients have used. You could also contact any local IVF clinics and ask if they recommend any egg donor bank(s) nearby.
Prioritize and Be Realistic
When choosing a donor egg, make sure to budget for genetic testing. It’s important to remember that most women who donate eggs undergo minimal screening.
They may have physical characteristics that appeal to you as an IP, but that’s not enough to qualify your best-fit candidate—and it’s definitely not the final deciding factor. Genetic screening can better assure—although not guarantee entirely—a quality egg with no concerning genetic abnormalities or inherited diseases.
While searching for the best donor egg to use in IVF, remember there is no such thing as perfection. You may find a donor with physical characteristics you prefer, but remember: Everyone will have some flaws, and if genetic screening reveals concerns, it may be time to reconsider what’s most important.
Genetic Counselors and Genetic Screening
As noted earlier, egg donors may not be thoroughly screened. They are often asked a series of questions, but there is no way to get detailed information just by reading their baseline answers.
Enlisting the help of a genetic counselor is a great way to better understand potential donors. The genetic counselor learns more in-depth information about the donor and her family history, allowing the counselor to flag any conditions or concerns to share with the IP(s).
Note that everyone has something. No donor will be perfect, although some donors may be a better match. After thoroughly reviewing the case, the genetic counselor may recommend further genetic testing.
It is important to send the egg for genetic screening prior to starting IVF. Before even starting the process, find out where you can get your eggs screened. Some IVF clinics do it but not all. Ask your clinic first—don’t assume they will be able to help you. While genetic screening is an additional cost upfront its ability to screen for concerns is worthwhile.
Know the Facts
If you are not well-versed in the details of genetic coding and how hereditary diseases or being a carrier of a disease impacts the egg, it’s time to learn. Contact a genetic counselor or consult your IVF doctor to learn what is important when screening your egg(s) and what to avoid.