Written by Kristin Marsoli, Marketing Director with Gina-Marie Madow, Attorney and Matching Manager and Dory Ziperstein, Egg Donation Manager at Circle Surrogacy.
Once upon a time, there was a gay couple embarking on a surrogacy journey to build their family. When they started their search for an egg donor, they discovered that they each had different priorities when it came to who their ideal woman was.
The first intended father started his search with the women he felt were the most attractive to him. The second intended father began his search with women with the highest educational degrees.
"Beauty!" the first declared.
"Smarts!" the second countered.
How did this fairy tale end? With compromise. These two dads selected a woman who attended a reputable college and had a million-dollar smile, and now have a beautiful baby who is their whole world.
Moral of the story? Selecting an egg donor is a big decision in your family building journey, and you might not necessarily have the same priorities as your partner.
Here are 3 tips for choosing your ideal woman as a egg donor:
- Be Ready (or as ready as you can be)
You're finally building your family through surrogacy – hooray! And while you've imagined the day you finally hold your baby in your arms for the first time, have you thought about who that little baby might be as a person?
If you're a gay couple, and you're both submitting biology, it's not as easy to have an image of what your child will be like. Making a decision to what the other half of your child's biology will be can be a little harder. Some gay dads base the characteristics they look for in an egg donor on those of a close friend or family member.
Education? Appearance? Ethnicity? Personality? As you start your search, it's a good idea to have some thoughts as to what's important to you in an egg donor. And remember, nature vs nurture – not every characteristic or trait is hereditary!
2. Be Flexible
What if you have NO idea of what you're looking for? That's okay, too! Some intended parents take the "I'll know it when I see it" approach and create their list of criteria as they start looking through profiles.
Gina-Marie Madow, Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation's Matching Manager, offers this advice to couples: "I encourage couples who don't have a specific idea of what they're looking for to view the egg donor database separately. Each intended parent should choose his top 5 donors, and print them out without photos, and then swap selections. You may have identified the same donor, which is great! If not, go through and rate each other's donors – it helps you figure out what you want in an egg donor."
In some instances, you've done your homework and you have a list of 10 criteria you're looking for in an egg donor…only to find that there aren't any egg donors who meet your full list. Re-evaluate your list and prioritize your top 5 criteria and restart your search. It's similar to having criteria when choosing a partner.
3. Be Open
It used to be that the only type of egg donation available was anonymous, and intended parents had no relationship or identifying details about their donor. Today, many intended parents choose 'Known Donation' and have relationships with their egg donors. We have found that it gives children a sense of who they are and where they came from.
With known donation, Intended parents and the egg donor learn each other's names and have the opportunity to get to know each other. We believe knowing where he/she came from is important for a child's sense of identity. In addition, known egg donation allows you and your children to remain updated about the genetic parent's medical history as it changes over time.
Parents and egg donors can also choose Semi-Known Donation, in which a limited amount of information is exchanged, or Anonymous donation in which there is no open contact or communication between parents and the donor.
As you search for your egg donor, remember that once you find someone you're interested in, it helps to have a conversation or video call so you can really get to know her, her personality, and why she's choosing to donate her eggs. This can help create a connection between you and your donor. Plus, it allows her to hear your story, too.
Finding your ideal woman is an important milestone on your surrogacy journey! Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation has an egg donor database of hundreds of bright, generous women who want to help you build your family. Plus, we work with partner agencies as well, giving you access to thousands of donors. As always, we're here to help should you need it!