In Depth: Egg Donor Matching Process
If you are considering donating your eggs, you may want to know a little more about the process of being matched with prospective parents.
Much care is taken to respect your privacy and needs as well as create the right environment for interested parties to find your information. People seek egg donors for a variety of reasons, but there are commonalities among those who are looking for a donor. Also, the matching process tends to be similar across agencies.
Here’s a rundown of the matching process plus a little about why egg donors are needed.
Who Needs Donor Eggs and Why?
Sometimes it’s obvious why donor eggs are necessary, such as when a male same-sex couple wishes to use surrogacy to create a family. However, there is also great need for donor eggs because of age related reasons, or if someone has been diagnosed as infertile and treatments running up to in vitro fertilization have failed.
Women over the age of 40 face naturally shrinking chances of becoming pregnant. The number and quality of eggs continue to decrease, and those left may be of poor quality. For some women, infertility is the result of illness or disease such as cancer. In any case, they still want to bear a child, and so they turn to egg donation.
The decision to seek donor eggs is highly personal and is often the culmination of an emotional journey for a single person, or a couple, unable to conceive.
What Are Prospective Parents Looking for in a Donor?
The application to donate eggs is pretty long and for a good reason. The clinic handling the in vitro fertilization (IVF) requires information for its screening process. Other information is used to match donors to parents.
Clinics may encourage a reciprocal matching process where both parents and donor agree to work together, where others may only consider the parental needs and desires and attempt to find a match without the input of the donor.
Prospective parents consider a variety of characteristics when selecting an egg donor.
- Physical appearance
- Level of education
- Talents and interests
- Religious background
- Cultural background
Parents may be seeking someone who has physical traits similar to their own, such as light blond hair or very dark skin. They use questions about education to gain insight into the donor’s ambitions and lifestyle. Your profile may include a picture of you, and a wealth of information to help parents make an educated decision.
As a donor, you can expect to travel to the location of the clinic to coordinate with the match and work with the parents. If you prefer to stay local, the matching process may take longer.
The Steps of the Matching Process
Once your application is made and accepted, you create a profile for prospective parents. Often, before the profile is made open to parents, you have a phone consultation with the clinic to get any lingering questions about the donation process answered.
Before the matching officially begins, you will sign some documents, provide photos, and verify both your identity and your educational level. Depending on the agency, other questions such as nicotine use, birth control use, and monthly cycle information may be requested.
Answer the essay portion of the profile as clearly and completely as you can. Give thought to your answers because you are showing someone who does not know anything about you insight into why you would be a good match for them and their family. Also, proofread the profile before finalizing it. Typos and other errors may cause the process to extend.
The moment your profile goes live, the matching process begins. Prospective parents receive a notification of a new donor profile. Now the waiting begins. It can take as little as a few days to several weeks or months for a match.
Most parents are looking for specific traits and are apt to be very selective. A long wait does not signal anything wrong. Donors can go about their lives until a match occurs. There is no need to plan, when the perfect person finds you, you will be the first to know!
Your donor profile is selected, and you receive notification from the agency. Upon notification, the agency will confirm the cycle timeline that will work best for you. You may not receive information about the prospective parents who chose you, but you can ask about family type and if they live in the U.S. or outside it. Alternatively, some clinics provide a profile of the prospective parents for you to review. Depending on the person and the agency, the parents may request to “meet” you via a call.
Respond promptly to the notification from the clinic so you can plan and schedule a screening and egg retrieval. Once all the dates are lined up, you may be given a case specialist or someone else to usher you through the donation process.
The screening is both physical and psychological. Once the results are reviewed and accepted by the parents, you will receive a medical screening, often completed at the clinic where the retrieval takes place.
If you pass all screenings and everything is acceptable to the intended parents, some legal forms are drawn up and signed. Then you are considered matched and can move on to the medical procedures for egg induction and retrieval.
All fees and expenses are paid for, from traveling to the clinic, to legal paperwork, testing, and all of the egg donation process.
How Long Will You Wait?
It really depends. As we mentioned earlier, intended parents can be picky about the person they choose as their egg donor. Also, it depends on how many parents are reviewing the database looking for a donor.
A couple may have been searching for a long time, and when your profile was added to the database, you were exactly what they were looking for. You could get a call within a few days. On the other hand, if there are just a few parents seeking a donor from that clinic, it could take a few months before you are matched.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having a long wait period. It just means that when you are matched, you know you are exactly what someone was looking for.
Being an egg donor enables others to build a family where previously they could not. It also provides you with a little nest egg to add to your savings or pay off debts. Be patient once you decide to go through this. You will be amply rewarded in more ways than one.