As technology advances and personal information becomes more readily available, questions regarding the validity of the term “anonymous egg donation” have started to arise. For egg donors and recipients alike, privacy is often a primary concern. This is why Shady Grove Fertility has designed our anonymous Egg Donor Program (for donors) and Egg Donation Program (for donor egg recipients) with a multitude of safeguards to protect our patients’ privacy.
Shady Grove Fertility’s Egg Donation Program started in 1994, with only a small pool of egg donors and recipient couples. Over the years, those numbers have grown exponentially with more than 3,000 babies born to families who used donated eggs. Today, we receive over 1,000 egg donation applications to participate in our anonymous program per month with only about 3 percent of those applicants becoming egg donors. Our experience in the field has enabled us to create a streamlined process that protects all of our patients and their anonymity.
Is Anonymous Egg Donation Possible?
Given carefully executed steps, it is possible to protect the identities of the women who pursue anonymous egg donation. The preventative measures to ensure anonymity start at the beginning of the donation process. With a multitude of consent forms that must be signed, both the egg donor and the donor egg recipient agree to respect each other’s privacy. While recipients do receive a great deal of information about their egg donor, we are very intentional about protecting the identity of the egg donor.
Egg donors on the other hand receive no information about the recipient(s), according to Egg Donor Program Director, Michele Purcell, MHA, RN. “While the recipients are given information, through a profile that the egg donor completes, the egg donor herself receives no information about the recipient(s).”
An important step for both donor and recipient is a consultation with our psychological support team. During this time, a mental health provider helps both egg donors and recipients prepare for and understand what to expect if participating in our anonymous egg donation program. This time is also used to assess if each party is mentally ready to be a part of our anonymous program.
Ways We Protect Your Anonymity
While Shady Grove Fertility can ensure there are no leaks in the identity of donor or recipient identifiable information, there are multiple databases that look to connect egg and sperm donors to recipients and children. With advancements we’ve seen in genetic testing, questions of how to protect one’s identity persist. In these cases, therefore, it is important to note that while genetic testing and DNA databases can bring long lost family members together, in order for either party to find the other, a set of DNA from both parties would have to be given to the database to find a match. In the event an egg donor or donor egg recipient were to break their contract and wish to find the other party, it would be extremely difficult to find one another.
“Our programs is designed to maintain donor and recipient anonymity. Neither the donor nor the recipients are given any personal, medical, or genetic identifying information about the other party” explains reproductive endocrinologist, Eric A. Widra, M.D., Medical Director at Shady Grove Fertility.
While it may seem like there could be ways to find loopholes in an anonymous egg donation process, the truth is that the chances of a donor and recipient finding each other on accident, or even purposefully, are extremely slim.