Egg donation has been practiced for well over 30 years. Historically, egg donation arrangements were anonymous. The Intended Parent(s) would select a donor based on limited criteria and the donor would undergo a medicated donation cycle and egg retrieval, receiving compensation for her time and efforts. No information was shared with the donor about the family she was helping, and no updates were provided to the donor about whether her donation resulted in the birth of a child/children.
Egg donation seemed more like a business arrangement.
Donating eggs for the sake of helping to grow a family, involves so much more than a business transaction, however. It involves hopes, dreams, and commitment from all parties. It can be a beautiful experience of growth for everyone involved!
Known egg donation benefits intended parents – having the opportunity to “meet” (usually virtually) their chosen donor allows intended parents to get a better sense of her personality which may not be easily conveyed through a profile. Known donation also benefits a child born from egg donation – having the ability to connect with one’s donor may help the child to grow into a confident and self-assured adult.
But what about for donors themselves? How does engaging in a known donation benefit the egg donor?
- Known donation dispels mystery. Egg donors who donate anonymously never know who, or if, they are helping. Anonymous donations leave donors wondering if their efforts made a difference, whereas known donation provides for the donor to validate she has helped a family grow. One egg donor, who is a parent herself, reported this about why known donation is so important: “Being a Mom myself, engaging in a known relationship makes it less of a secret – when I explain to my son that he has half siblings in Europe and Boston I can show him pictures and tell him their names. It isn’t something he has to go searching for, I’ll be able to present it to him as a fact.” It also dispels the mystery for the donor of who she has helped.
- Known donation allows donors the opportunity to get to know the family they are helping. Unlike anonymous donations, donors who engage in a known donation can also feel comforted by “meeting” their matched intended parents and developing a rapport with them. They may only have the opportunity to meet virtually via video chatting, but these conversations provide so much insight for both parties. Known donation personalizes the donation process for donors. One donor describes that known donations make her feel “more connected to the process” and makes the journey more rewarding.
- Known donation builds friendships in addition to families. Often times we hear from donors and intended parents that having the opportunity to meet each other helps to grow a friendship between them. This friendship is one unintended benefit of a known egg donation. Donors who engage in known donation describe the appreciation for receiving updates and getting to celebrate milestones with the family they help.
- Known donation helps donors to know about the children who exist in the world who are biologically connected to them. When donors first consider donating their eggs, they generally don’t anticipate what it will feel like to actually have children in the world who are connected biologically to them, but whom they are not raising. With anonymous donations, donors may walk down crowded streets wondering if anyone looks like them. In known donations, donors know not only how many children were born from their eggs, but also where in the world they are being raised.
Known donation allows donors to be a resource to the families they assist. Often fears exist from intended parents on how involved a donor might be in their lives if they engage in a known donation. Donors too might worry about what is expected of them from the family they help. However, donors who have engaged in known donations feel a sense of pride in being able, if asked to do so, to provide a child with answers to their questions or to share medical information over time. One donor shared that “knowing that the children born of my donations are healthy, and that if something does arise, I know I will be one of the first to know” provides her comfort in her decision to donate her eggs in a known relationship.
Egg donation is much more than a business arrangement. It is a deliberate act by a young woman to help a family or families grow. The benefits of known donation for the egg donor outlast the compensation she receives, and the value in the relationships built through an open process cannot be measured in monetary amounts.
Are you interested in becoming an egg donor and helping a family grow? If you’re interested in learning more about the egg donation process and the benefits of egg donation, check out our website! If you’re feeling ready to apply to become an egg donor, you can apply today!