This is not a question that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” – however, the majority of egg donors are extremely open about sharing family history information in intricate detail. Does this mean some of them are rejected by agencies or intended parents? Yes. Are they often disappointed? Yes. But it takes a measure of altruism for most donors to go from the first step of exploring what’s involved in the egg donation process to actually signing on to become a donor. After all, taking multiple injections, making multiple doctors visits, postponing one’s sex life, putting down the wine glass and otherwise committing yourself to several weeks (or in some cases months) of restrictions is enough to scare the majority of the otherwise-motivated donors away.
What I find as an agency owner is that most donors are not only open, but willing to contact their family to get more detailed information on their medical history. Not only because they want to be helpful, but also because many of them start to become curious about their own genetics and how it will affect their current and/or future offspring.
There are inevitable cases where a donor may not be able to get more information from certain family members. For instance, a donor may have an estranged relative that no one in the family speaks to or knows how to reach. In those cases, it’s understandable that the donor might not be able to complete that portion of her family’s medical history.
There may also be occasions where a donor simply doesn’t know about a medical issue. We can only expect a donor to share information she is aware of. The reason a good agency or clinic uses a licensed geneticist to go over a very detailed family medical history counseling session is so that all relevant questions, to the best of the donors knowledge, are answered. Geneticists understand the right questions to ask to fill in the blanks so intended parents have the most complete set of information possible.Two other situations where there is a concern that donors might be dishonest are with regards to college transcripts, college attended, degrees held, GPA/ACT/SAT scores, and grade point average. Most agencies request this information with a disclaimer that they will require a copy of any of the above prior to matching them with any of their intended parents.Similarly to obtaining transcripts, criminal history is also easily confirmed with a background check. Again, most agencies will put a disclaimer that they can do a criminal background check on the donor prior to her being chosen. There will also be information that is 100% verifiable and always information that we are trusting is accurate. One of the things I share with all of my intended parents is that, while we can share with them all of the information we obtain to the best of the donors knowledge, verifying those things which can be verified, there is also a leap of faith that goes with this journey. When someone comes to me who wants a complete and extensive background check, all transcripts from high school through college, all test scores, the donor’s and her immediate family’s medical records and medical screenings above and beyond industry standard – then I suggest that this isn’t the right path for them. There is no guarantee or absolute no matter how stringent the pre-screening of a donor is. Sticking to thorough, well thought-out industry standards is the most any agency or clinic can offer any intended parent.When intended parents take into consideration all of the pieces of information that go into a donor’s profile, what’s most important to remember is that the vast majority of egg donors want to be helpful and honest. Most donors are emotionally invested in the egg donation process and want to see the cycle result in a pregnancy and a healthy baby. Relying on your agency to be diligent in verifying what they can, your clinic to test what they are able to test for, your gut to tell you it’s the right donor, and a leap of faith can make this journey one based on trust and hope as opposed to fear of the unknown – those are the acts that will make egg donation the most memorable journey possible.Bio of Wendie Wilson:In my early 20’s I donated my eggs to an amazing young woman who was in remission from breast cancer. After seeing the opportunity that was given to her by the technological advancement of reproductive medicine, it occurred to me that this was the single most amazing experience of my life to date. Ever since, I have committed myself to the field of assisted reproduction still going strong nearly a decade later. I graduated from the University of Washington in 1998 w/ a degree in Speech Communication, spending several years doing competitive speech and debate at the national level. I’ve used my public speaking skills at many assisted reproduction evens and symposiums to speak with intended parents and potential donors about family building opportunities.With the support of several IVF clinics, doctors and staff members that I had become close to throughout the years, I was encouraged to start my own egg donation agency. From this support, Gifted Journeys was born. I plan to continue spreading the word about Egg Donation and the opportunities that are out there for both recipients and donors. Implementing my belief that all loving people who want a chance to start or grow their family, without judgment or bias, and with equal opportunity and support, should have that option.To contact Wendie with questions about her agency or her article email here: firstname.lastname@example.org