Married infertile couples going for surrogacy, same-sex couples, and single men/women find themselves contemplating the variously available egg donors in their quest to raise their family and become parents. Similar to other elements of fertility, donation of eggs are available in various forms with different pros and cons of its own. It’s an incredibly important, and often difficult decision for intended parents to make their babies with donated eggs. So it is essential for them to understand the difference between known and anonymous egg donations before making a choice.
Basics of Egg Donation
The women, who commit going through the long process of making their eggs available for childless couples and singles are generous enough as they donate their eggs to those who have no viable eggs themselves. As a matter of fact, thousands of women apply to register themselves as egg donors and participate in this divine task. Egg donors are monetarily compensated for successfully donating healthy and responsive eggs.
Women are born with around 1 to 2 two million immature eggs in their ovaries. These eggs are known as follicles, the number of which goes around 400,000 by the time puberty begins. Those follicles are matured into eggs numbering from 10 to 20 every month, during their menstrual cycle. Most of these eggs are let go from the body or are even absorbed by the body. The dominant egg is chosen by the body for the purpose of ovulation. As a woman determines to donate eggs and begins undergoing treatment for the same, she is on fertility drugs that develop those eggs, which would otherwise have been discarded through menstrual discharge.
Once the physical screening is done, legal contracts are signed by the egg donors that mentions the terms of compensation and regime of fertility medication leading to egg retrieval. If the egg donor is aware of who her egg has been donated, it is called a known donation. On the other hand, if she is not aware of this fact, such donations are called as an anonymous donation.
Most of the egg donation cycles are anonymous, also known as closed donations. As a thumb rule, the egg donors are not made aware which family they are donating the egg to. Egg donors also do not deliberately want to know, as this might incline their sentiments towards the child born out of such donation. Although, if both the Intended Parents and Egg Donor agrees to know each other, we facilitate a conference amongst them to get acquainted.
In case the Intended Parents want to meet their Egg Donor and finalize her after the meeting, we arrange to facilitate a meeting at a neutral point, only after the consent of both the parties. Intended Parents are responsible for reimbursing every expense of the meeting arrangement, from travel tickets to food or any other expenses that have been borne by the donor for this purpose. However, it is kept under strict consideration that the meeting place is under close proximity of both the egg donor and the intended parents. We put forth our maximum effort to make sure that both the parties feel comfortable in the open or closed donation.
The definition of a known donation varies from a country to another. In Ukraine, it is solely the egg donor’s choice whether she agrees to meet the intended parent or not. The intended parent cannot demand such meetings where the egg donor has to be present to answer their questions. If the egg donor deliberately agrees to sit with the intended parents or talk to them over the phone, such arrangements can be facilitated.
Also in some cases, the egg donor intends not to disclose her identity even when she is on a phone call with the intended parents. The egg donation law of Ukraine completely respects that and intended parents also have to abide by such law.
In some cases, the surrogacy is developed through frozen eggs, which were stored back previously. If the intended parents wish to meet the egg donor, and the egg donor agrees to it, a video conference or a phone call can be arranged. In most frozen egg cases the egg donor is not physically present in the same city, as the donation have had taken place sometimes back.
Irrespective of whatever the case is, the information that is exchanged during the meeting (physical/phone call/video call) has to be controlled by the egg donor. She has to be comfortable with the questions she is asked during the session. She might not agree to answer certain questions that she feels are intruding her privacy. The intended parents should respect that and honor her freedom from interference.
It is a best practice to filter the questions that the intended parents have before they present those to the egg donor. They should be discussed first with the case manager and once she approves the set of the questionnaire they have prepared, those can be put forward to the egg donor. The case managers are experienced consultants and they have been handling such meetings from long. They can be the right help to establish a harmony between the two parties and carry out a superlative and satisfactory meeting.
Most families that we have worked with are more comfortable with anonymous egg donors. This gives them a relief of safe separation legally. Both the intended parents and the egg donor can proceed without any complications as they have chosen to agree to this anonymity. The egg donor’s identity is thus kept confidential. However, the intended parents have access to neutral information like the donor’s age, medical history, ethnicity, and sometimes, even photographs.
It is an utmost personal decision of the intended parents whether to meet the egg donor or not before accepting her eggs. The case manager responsible for the particular surrogacy program arranges the egg donor after matching the wish list of the intended parents. Some intended parents have reservations in regard to religion, nationality or another ethnicity of the egg donor. In case they have any such considerations, they should disclose it with the case manager before selecting an egg donor. They cannot ask questions related to this conservatism to the egg donor during the meeting, and make her uncomfortable.
In almost every case, the intended parents are found to be extremely respectful and grateful at the same time to the egg donor, and refrain themselves from making the meeting even slightly uncomfortable for her.
Meeting Your Egg Donor Right for the Intended Parent or Not?
This is a relative question and should be answered differently based on practical situations. Generally, there is no such definite need of meeting the egg donor. Her job is accomplished as she donates a healthy and receptive egg to the intended parents. However, certain conservative parents desire to know more about the egg donor and hence wish to meet her.
In particular cases, there arise certain situations that require calling for a meeting between the two parties for the sake of successful surrogacy. Egg donors also respect the sentiments of intended parents and agree to meet them to satisfy their queries related to health or medication.
The divine job of surrogacy is performed between beatific souls that feel for one another. Hence, there is no controversy or complications from any of the side and both the parties put their efforts for the success of the program.