28 Apr The Perfect Egg Donor? 7 Things To Consider
You’ve decided to use an egg donor. Big step. And you’re thinking: will my egg donor be a good match? Do I get to see photos? Is she a proven donor? Here are 7 key things to think about.
1. Check the pool.
Find out the number of egg donors on your preferred clinic’s books. Anything less than 200 is too small. The larger the pool, the better the potential match. A clinic with 500+ egg donors is generally a safer bet than a smaller one. More established fertility clinics tend to have a broader range of donors. That suggests a more streamlined egg donor recruitment process. Which is what you want.
2. Waiting list? You’re at the wrong clinic.
Avoid clinics with waiting times for egg donors. Good clinics have an immediate supply of donors, vetted, screened and ready to go. A clinic with a limited choice of egg donors often means a longer wait. The market has changed. No wait means a clinic is firing on all cylinders. Multiple egg donors are on stand-by at the best clinics.
3. Anonymous donors are the best donors.
We all know that some countries allow ‘known’ egg donors. You’ll see videos. You’ll get a glossy brochure. You’ll surf a hundred profiles. But egg donor anonymity is, globally, more the norm. Donor-conceived children in the UK can trace their egg donor at 18. But full anonymity, apart from being the law in most EU countries, promotes better donor recruitment and sounder decisions. We believe full donor anonymity is the best approach. But we accept some couples may disagree – as is their right.
4. The perfect match? Don’t obsess.
It’s easy to overthink egg donor matching. Some clinics won’t tell you how they donor-match, let alone provide donor details. Others, like ours, will match to donor-recipient photos and provide your egg donor’s main characteristics – height, weight, eye and hair colour, blood group, and so on. Don’t obsess. Good clinics make good matches. And your baby could take after your partner. Or you, if you believe the fascinating science of epigenetics.
5. Proven isn’t always best.
Many patients request a proven egg donor. But proven donors aren’t always available. They’re not necessarily the best option either. Looking at our own stats, we see little difference in success rates between proven and first-time donors. So don’t fixate on proven. A good egg donor offers more than a track record. Her fertility history (and that of her family), age, blood group and other medical factors are equally important. Our donor was a first-time donor – and she gave us two beautiful daughters.
6. Egg sharing – it’s just not right.
Be sure your clinic tells you if your egg donor shared her eggs. Egg sharing means you don’t get all your donor’s eggs. It also means your donor has been financially compensated for sharing them, perhaps by being given free or reduced IVF treatment. We think that’s unethical. And do you really want donated eggs from a patient with fertility issues? Be wary of any clinic that does egg sharing.
7. Incredible success rates are, well, incredible.
When deciding which clinic to use, check its success rates. Look for the clinical pregnancy rate (CPR) per cycle. (Live birth stats are not always accurate.) And if you see a very high success rate (over 70%), check if that’s a cumulative rate over several cycles. It probably will be – and they should have been clear. Using an egg donor will generally see a CPR of between 60 and 70%. Avoid clinics with higher or lower rates. They’re either too good to be true, or too bad to be false.
So those are 7 key things to consider when choosing an egg donor. Egg donation is a brave and very personal decision. But choose the right clinic and a good egg donor will follow.