Choosing an egg donor

The criteria with which recipient parents select a donor is as varied as the recipients that we meet and deal with daily. It is also completely natural to have anxiety over and during the selection process. Couples often express a “sense of relief and relaxation” once this important decision has been made.

It is important to remember that there is no rush in choosing a donor.  It may take time to find the right match or it may be almost immediate – there are no rules.  Whatever you are looking for as intended parents; try to get as much information as possible from your egg donation agency regarding the donor, while also trying not to ‘over-control’ the situation.

After consideration of race, In our experience, recipients tend to select their donor based on one or more of the following criterion:

–          Physical:  physical match looking at eye colour, hair colour, skin tone, height, body frame and adult facial features.

–          Intelligence: final school year grades and tertiary education. Bear I mind that some egg donors may have the aptitude to have studied further but not the financial means.

–          Baby pictures: looking at the similarity of baby pictures. Given the South African legislation, only childhood, and not adult, pictures are permitted to be shared with recipients.

–          Personality: Some recipients are interested in the personality that comes through in a donor’s profile.

–          Reason for donating: Recipients may be interested in the reasons a donor wants to donate and ask whether altruistic or financial motivations have motivated her decision.

–          Gut feeling: Some recipients start out looking at some or all of the above factors and end up selecting a donor saying “she just felt like the right one when I read her profile.”

A note for Jewish recipients: After consultation with Rabbi’s we have been advised that the status of a child born is based on whether or not the birth mother is Jewish. The religious orientation of the egg donor is of no consequence in determining whether the child is Jewish.

Once a donor is selected the challenge needs to shift to “letting go” and allowing the medical team and egg donor agency to drive the process forward.

There are no guarantees in life, all of us who are parents usually begrudgingly learn that a lot more of life is out of our control than we would like.  Parenting is about being able to handle all the imperfections that come with a child, whether you have your child through an egg donor or not.  When couples do have difficulty containing their anxiety during this process therapy can help.

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