How I Chose My Egg Donor
#1 Decide Which Characteristics Matter Most to You
Other than deciding to be a parent in the first place, choosing an egg donor was probably one of the hardest choices my husband and I made in our path to parenthood. There is so many options to consider---do you want your kids to be beautiful, smart, healthy, tall, not to tall, personable, serious, determined, funny, great nose, great hair? Do you want your kids to be smarter than you, a different skin color, do they need to be your self-image?
I still remember that first moment we were presented with egg donor profiles. We were given a username and password that opened a portal full of potential donors that fit our criteria, and us theirs. Once you unlock that door and start imagining your future children and family, that's it---you have reached the "no turning back" moment.
In a traditional pregnancy, you don’t have to think as hard. But when you get to choose who you're creating a new life with, the options can be overwhelming. You think about family health history, SAT scores, athletic or musical ability, mental stability, and a million other criteria that most men never ask the women they impregnate---either intentionally or by accident.
#2 Be Prepared: Your First Choice Might Not Work Out
My husband and I both looked at profiles, talked about them a bit, and then decided to narrow it down to the ones that neither of us had ruled out. We also agreed to only look at "proven" anonymous donors. Proven donors are those who have either donated successfully or already have had children of their own using their own eggs. This helped the selection process go much easier than either of us expected. As we narrowed down our choices, we both settled on the same few choices. In making our final selection, we ultimately decided on a donor that was cute, smart, and seemed like the most genuinely sweet from her profile. So, the first time around, personality was the deciding factor.
But our first time around didn’t work out. Our Egg Donor didn’t respond well to the meds and the Dr. told us we were basically out of luck and weren’t going to have many, if any, usable eggs. We felt horrible for her and sorry for ourselves.
We were now anxious and feeling worried. The agency was great in keeping us calm and working with us to match with a new donor. This time we decided to go with a young and unproven donor. She was stunning, smart, came from a tall family, athletic, and had a clean family health history. We scheduled for a fresh cycle with our surrogate and crossed our fingers and toes. The retrieval went fantastic and she produced some awesome grade A eggs. They fertilized great and we were ready for transfer. The timing for a fresh transfer worked out great.
Our choice must have been the perfect one because there is nothing we would change about our children. The characteristics that drive us the craziest, in fact, are the ones they inherited from our genes. Everything in the DNA pool mixed well because we don’t have any known defects and they are both cute as can be and smart. We also got pregnant first try with twins.
#3: It's Stressful, but Have Fun with the Process
It can be an overwhelming process. But my main piece of advice when picking your egg donor? Have fun with the process. It’s a big first step in building your family.
Illustration by Joshua Kreais
More for gay men considering surrogacy: