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Thread: What to look for in a donor agency?

  1. #1
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    Default What to look for in a donor agency?

    I'm in the early stages of considering an egg donor. Can anyone who has been through the process recommend good questions to ask and things to look for in selecting an agency? Also, what are the trade-offs in deciding between a clinic with its own donor program and an independent agency?

  2. #2
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    Can you tell us a little more about how you got to this point?

    I used an agency for my donor that was recommended by the clinic. It was an agency that they had worked with a fair bit. It cost about $5000 more to do this than if we had gone with the clinic's donor pool. The reason why we went this route was so that we would have the opportunity to meet our donor, something we never could have done with the clinic's pool. We have met her 3 times and then swapped email addys.

    A good read is the book, Having your Baby Through Egg donation.

    I went to 2 clinics before I chose the one we went with. My choice was based on recommendation from my local doctor, their stats and their attitude towards meeting our donor as well as my general feeling of comfort in the clinic.

    Cordelia

  3. #3
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    Thanks Cordelia - that is really helpful. How's it working out for you so far? What stage in the process are you? I hope you're at the point where you can start getting excited about the prospects of motherhood. I'm afraid that people in our situation spend too much time stifling their hopes and dreams because we're afraid to get excited.

    I just finished my fourth IVF cycle. The first two yielded three embroys, which are frozen. The next two cycles produced only one follicle each that in both cases were "egg-less". Our next option might be a frozen embryo transfer, but if that doesn't work, or for baby #2, we will probably want to learn more about egg donors.

    I'm so much smarter now about what to look for in an IVF clinic, and that made me think that I'm probably pretty ignorant when it comes to selecting a donor agency or clinic, and eventually selecting a donor. The book sounds like a good read. I would agree with you that meeting the donor would be a very important part of our decision making process.

  4. #4
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    We are all done with the egg donor process. Anna was from a FET as our fresh cycle failed. We have 2 more frozen embies so maybe in a couple of years we might get lucky again. It would be nice, but I'm not counting on it. I sort of feel that all of our luck may have been used up.

    We have met our donor 3 times and her DH twice. They now have a 6mo DD who looks a little like Anna.

    It took us a long time to work our way from our last failed IVF to DE, then it was a year from the time we first went to the clinic to the time we started our cycle, and another 4 months before we were pregnant. Had Anna not been so late, she could have been born on her conception day, not everyone can say that.

    You may decide to travel out of state to do your cycle depending on how your clinics stats are. We went to Seattle as we couldn't do DE anonymously in Canada and the clinics don't have nearly as much experience with it either. I was able to have most of my monitoring done locally and only had to travel for the retrieval and transfer.

    CCRM in Colorado and PCRM in Portland have good reputations.

    Cordelia

  5. #5
    Troy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Hi, I am also all done, but IMHO, the two most important things to look for in a donor are reliability and age (younger = better, so long as it's not younger than 21). Other things, like similarity in appearance or other traits, and decent genetic background are things that you have to weigh against each other, but the first two are non-negotiable.

    You have to decide whether you want to go through a clinic or an agency. Agency probably offers more diversity and opportunity to meet the donor, but clinic offers less stress in the selection process (they do all the work for you, you just have to read the profiles).

    Good luck.

  6. #6
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    The first clinic I went to, discouraged us from using an agency.... their donors weren't any better .....and they would only send me a few profiles of prospective donors at a time. The doc there also saw no point in telling the child of their beginnings. Little to say, we didn't go there.

  7. #7
    Troy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    There is a huge difference between both clinics and agencies in how they deal with the prospective donors and the prospective parents. These differences are often geographic -- where I live, all the clinics run their own donor programs and get high quality donors and do all the leg work AND let you browse all of their donors. But they also typically run anonymous only programs. I know that in New York, there is such high demand for donors the programs basically send you two or three profiles at a time and you are expected to say yes or no, and then wait some more if you say no. On the other hand, those clinics have such high reputations that their clients will put up with just about anything.

    So it depends a lot on what you are looking for and your comfort level with how the clinic or agency runs their program.

  8. #8
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    If you are permitted to meet the donor, can you expect to maintain some minimal level of lifelong contact with her in case she ever has a health issue that might be genetic?

    I have mixed thoughts about my child wanting to meet or know about the donor. It's a little different than an adopted child wanting to find his or her natural birth mother.

    Thanks everyone for these ideas. There's so much to consider.

  9. #9
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    We wrote into our contract that our child can meet the donor once she is 19 years old, if she wants. We also have allowed for contact for medical problems. I think too (but would have to check) that we asked that she contact us through the agency if there were any medical conditions that developed that we should know about.

    We met her just after our cycle was underway. I made a gift for her that once my agency saw a photo of, she asked that we give it to our donor in person. We met her again, on our own the morning of retrieval, we also met her husband at this time too. We decided that after Anna's birth that we wanted our donor to meet her. We had been sharing photos through the agency to this point and it was suggested that we swap emails. Our donor and her husband took a short vacation to our city and we met for lunch when they were in town. I think that her being pregnant at the time also has impacted on us being more in contact. Her daughter is 6 months younger than Anna.

    Our donor had donated once prior to us and she had no contact with the couple that she helped. I think that she has found our relationship to be a little more satisfying.

    I think that you can have whatever sort of relationship that you want and that will be one of the deciding factors in how you choose your donor. We didn't consider any donors who were not wanting to meet us. I do admit that we have had more contact with our donor, that I thought we would have. Its been a good thing.

    Cordelia

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