Choosing your egg donor is one of the most important milestones in the Donor Egg Treatment process. We realise it can be a complex, emotional task, so we are here to guide you through and give you peace of mind when making a decision.
Our Selective Process
There are a large number of prescreened donors in our database. As well, we also partner with Donor Egg Bank USA’s frozen database, so the choices available to you are extensive. While there are many choices, you can rest assured that we are very particular about who we select to be a donor. “We are extremely thorough in screening our egg donors. We have 800 applicants per month and accept only 3% of these applicants,” says Michael J. Levy, M.D., the Programme Director for the UK.
For a donor to be accepted onto our Donor Database, they must be between the ages of 21 and 33 and complete an in depth donor profile (which can take months) in order to be chosen. Only 3 percent of our yearly applicants are accepted into our database.
Anonymous Egg Donation
Our Egg Donation Programme, along with most other programmes in the U.S., is anonymous in both directions. This means that the family will not know identifying information about the donor and the donor will not know any identifying information about the couple. This is an important distinction from the UK system, where it is required that donors make themselves available to be found once the child turns 18.
Detailed Egg Donor Profiles
Although identifying information is not provided, the donor profiles are exceptionally transparent and extensive. They include:
- A personal medical history, along with family history dating back 2 to 3 generations
- Childhood photos and, in the majority of cases in our fresh database, adult photos. All of the profiles in our frozen egg bank have adult photos.
- Detailed demographic characteristics, such as eye colour and ethnicity
- A questionnaire and profile filled out by our donor with details about the donors’ interests, personal history, and an essay on why they chose to become a donor
Donors are required to provide a personal essay at the end of their profile so recipients can understand the donors’ identity as much as possible. In the words of a former patient, Jane, the essay showed that, ‘[the donor] obviously understood what we were going through.‘
Choosing the Right Donor
While it is up to you to decide what to look for when choosing your egg donor and what characteristics to prioritise for your child, we will be here every step of the way. The process can be overwhelming, but the level of transparency and detail available allows our patients to choose a donor according to their ideals.
For some patients, the decision is appearance based: We knew we wanted to choose someone who was as physically similar as possible to me. For others, there is a combination of other factors that drive their choice: We knew that we wanted someone who shared similar beliefs and had a good base education. For patients Jen and Sam it was a little bit of everything.
‘Besides the basics—she resembled me physically in many ways; if we had a baby who looked like her baby pictures, no one would think anything of it; and there weren’t any health-related concerns—she sounded like someone we’d like. She also had traits we’d like to encourage in our child (e.g. an interest in science). But what made the decision for us was that in her answers to the short-answer questions, she just sounded like me. Once we selected her, we became more and more comfortable with and confident about our decision—it just seemed right,’ – Jen.
All of the donors who make it to the end of this intensive process are fully aware of what being an anonymous donor means and are usually motivated by altruistic reasons. At SGF, we (our donors included) know that you need as much detail as possible to make the best and most informed decision. At the heart of our database, is the desire to help you to build your family.
If you have any questions about our Donor Database or the Donor Egg Treatment Programme in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team by calling 0208 003 0827, or email Amanda Segal our International Patient Liaison at [email protected].
Editors Note: This post was originally published in Feb 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of June 2018.