Finding the right donor, the one that allows you to stop your search and just KNOW you are making the right choice is a huge challenge for anyone. How do you know you are making the right decision? What should you be looking for? Our Founder has over 10 years of experience in matching recipient parents with egg donors and she shares some of her tips here.
1. Health - Certainly this is one of the top priorities to consider when selecting an egg donor. While most agencies will not approve egg donors with serious health conditions, every person has some family history of illness. You want to make sure that a donor's health history is compatible with your family's history. For example, if the intended father or sperm donor has a history of heart disease in the family, that may be something you want to avoid when selecting your egg donor. Keep in mind that finding a donor with all grandparents alive and well without any medical conditions is extraordinarily rare, so create a list of "deal breakers" and outside of that, try and have an open mind. During your intake with Family Match Consulting, we will discuss your family health history and make sure we are only seeking donors with a background that makes you feel completely comfortable.
2. Physical Characteristics - Our clients typically want to find an egg donor with similar characteristics to the recipient mother, or someone who looks like they would fit into their family. Hair color, eye color, height, ethnicity, etc. are some of the things to consider when reviewing profiles. We will help you fine tune your wish list so we are only presenting you with the profiles of the donors that most closely fit the criteria you seek. It is important not to place too much importance on each individual characteristic though. For example, if you are seeking a donor that is 5'7", but find a fabulous candidate with so many qualities you seek, but she happens to be 5'5", I don't recommend ruling her out. We've seen many clients discount a donor for similar reasons but later realize she's a great fit but by then she's already been selected by another recipient.
3. Education - For many clients, finding a donor with a strong academic background is important. We've worked with clients where both parents have attended Ivy League Universities so it is important for the donor to be attending or have graduated from the same. While we can certainly do a search for this, the results will be limiting. There are thousands of wonderful egg donors that have graduated from top universities, some with honors. There are also incredibly bright donors without the means or opportunities to attend some of the top schools, so they are pursuing an Associate's Degree from their local college with hopes of transferring to a four year university afterwards. Some donors skipped school entirely but launched successful careers as entrepreneurs. These are all things to consider when narrowing down candidates.
4. Location - Most donors are very willing and able to travel for a cycle, though some do have travel restrictions and therefore can only complete cycles near their hometown. Selecting a donor that lives out of the area, or out of state from your fertility clinic does increase the cost of the process, but it also opens up your search. For clients in major cities like Los Angeles, or Chicago, finding a local donor with the qualities you seek will be much easier. However for clients in more remote areas, we recommend opening up your search which will give you far more choices.
5. A gut feeling - While you may be seeking a donor that is Caucasian, brown haired, blue eyed, tall, college educated, athletic, with a healthy family history...at the end of the day, it really comes down to whether or not there is a "connection" that you feel when reading the donor's profile. I always tell clients that one final question you can ask yourself about a candidate is "would this donor sit around a family gathering of yours and look and seem as though she fits in?" Sometimes that answer will provide a lot of clarity.
While finding an egg donor is a challenge, enlisting the help of a search service can help take some of the stress away. Our experienced consultants will walk each client through the selection process and then search close to 100 agency databases to only provide you with the profiles of donors that fit the criteria you seek.
We wish everyone pursuing their dream of a family - weather it be through IVF, egg donation, surrogacy, adoption, and all things in between, all the very best of luck.
With love and copious amounts of baby dust,
The FMC team