My partner and I are both cisgender men. When we started planning a family, it was clear to us from the start we would have to find an egg donor.
When we first connected with an egg donation agency, it felt a little bit like being on a dating website. There were lots of faces, profiles, and medical information. Well- maybe not that last one.
Along the way we learned a lot of lessons that we want to share with you. Some (not all) lessons may also apply to intended parents seeking a sperm donor.
Lesson 1: Your donor is not the “parent” of your child.
When we had spoken to a counsellor before choosing an egg donor, she reminded us that since we are the intended parents, we’re not choosing a mother for our child. Our child won’t have a mother, they will have two fathers. But it’s still a big decision because this person will be giving the story of her body to create our child. This is the phrase our counsellor used.
At the end of the day, you (and your partner, if applicable) are the parent or parents of your child. While some people with more old-fashioned thinking may unintentionally refer to your donor as a parent or genetic parent, you can calmly explain to them that you are the only parent or parents, not the donor.
Lesson 2: Your clinic might have certain criteria about your donor.
While in theory the egg donor should be completely up to me and my husband, we had a complication. We had signed up for a plan called 2 Live Birth Guarantee. Because we wanted to have two children in the long run of our lives, our clinic required us to have an egg donor with a high AMH level to increase the chances that we would have enough embryos for two children from just one extraction.
When I found this out, I had to ask myself-
AMH? What’s that?
AMH stands for Anti-Mullerian Hormone. I actually still don’t totally understand it, but suffice to say we had to change donors and our clinic preferred we seek someone with a high AMH. This is something you should talk to your clinic about as they may have their own criteria that they maintain. I would suggest you talk to your clinic before going through the egg donation selection process so you can make sure you know exactly what they allow.
Lesson 3: Does it feel right?
You need to be realistic with yourself in terms of what your needs are in terms of an egg donor. If it doesn’t feel right, keep working with your agency until you feel like you found a good match. At the same time though,
Lesson 4: Don’t be too picky.
The road to having a child is a journey. You don’t want to get too hung up on the details. While your donor should feel right (see above) if it’s taking you too long you should also reflect on if you’re being too picky.
Egg donors are superheroes! It’s a big job to take the many steps required to donate eggs to someone you might never meet. Therefore the pool for egg donation is much smaller than that for sperm donation, so also it's not practical to have a laundry list of qualifications you want.
So that was our egg donor journey! I will leave you with the following tips that I wish had known:
Recognize you are your child’s only parents, and don’t get upset if people mistakenly refer to your donor as a “parent.”
Make sure you know your clinic’s criteria for your donor based on whatever package you may have with them.
Make sure the donor feels right but also
Don’t be too picky. Your donor is an awesome human donating her eggs, we are so lucky that this type of service even exists!
And that’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed this little walk through the lessons we learned about egg donation!