There’s no one like you—and the same will be true of your baby. The human gene pool is full of endless variations for height, build, hair and skin color, intellect, personality, and more. Here’s where you get to put your imagination to work and dream of all the characteristics you hope your baby might inherit. Choosing an egg donor is a little bit like online dating. You will sift through profiles, baby pictures, and even videos made by the donors to pick out the traits you most value and hope will be passed onto your baby. After all, your egg donor is contributing 50% of your future child’s genetic makeup! Bonus: no bad dates required!
Your clinic may have their own database of pre-screened donors, or you might find independent donor agencies and databases to sift through.
But remember that there’s more than just physical characteristics to consider. Family history, hobbies, and other personality and character traits you can discern might be important to the story of your child. Your child may someday have questions about the woman who contributed their genetic materials for half of his or her existence.
There are two types of donor situations you will consider: a known donor vs. an anonymous donor.
Known/open door donor
Some donors are opened to communication before matching, usually through online video conferencing and rarely in person. This option allows you to ask your donor questions that you think your future child may want to know or that can help with medical history.
In other scenarios, dads-to-be may ask a friend or family member to be their donor. In these instances, all parties would be fully screened and counseled so they know what the process and this decision entails!
In this arrangement, you won’t know the donor's name or identifying information before matching, except for their medical and family history. For some, this level of distancing is emotionally easier. However, know that with all the popular ancestry programs and the prevalence of commercial genetic testing, the anonymity of the donor is not always in your—or your donor’s—control.
Experience and a proven track record is key for job interviews—but it may also be something of consideration when selecting an egg donor. After all, you want the best chances of egg and sperm combining to create viable embryos. A proven donor is someone who has previously donated. A first-time donor hasn’t yet contributed her eggs as a donor. Remember that all egg donors are required to offer a complete medical background and undergo comprehensive testing. However, donor history may be important if you and your partner both want to be genetically-intended fathers, as there is a natural rate of attrition during the IVF process.
Your fertility clinic should help guide you through the egg donor process and help complete this screening. Even with expert guidance, it may take up to three months to select and screen an egg donor. After egg donor selection, an IVF cycle is the next step.