Egg donation as part of surrogacy in the US
Many parents conceiving through US surrogacy conceive with help from an egg donor. This includes same-sex male parents and single dads, as well as single women and different-sex couples whose age or medical/fertility issues mean they need the help of a donor as well as a surrogate. US surrogacy arrangements are gestational surrogacy arrangements (where the surrogate is not a genetically the parent of the child she carries), which means that if the intended parents are not able to provide an egg they will need the help of a separate egg donor.
There are a number of ways to find an egg donor in the US, and typically a lot of choice. Many US fertility clinics have their own egg donor databases. Alternatively surrogacy agencies often have egg donor matching services as well, or there are egg donation agencies which can be engaged separately.
US egg donor screening and requirements
US egg donors follow a thorough screening process, including an in-depth questionnaire/application form to gather a full medical history, an interview with a donor coordinator, counselling, a psychological assessment, blood tests for infectious diseases, genetic testing, a vaginal ultrasound and a physical examination. This sometimes happens prior to the donor being available for matching, but some agencies will screen after match. The main requirements typically include:
- Being in good physical and psychological health
- Having a healthy family medical history
- Being age 20 to 30
- Having a healthy BMI, being a non-smoker and not using any drugs
- Being reliable and able to make appointments, and willing to take injections
What information is available about US egg donors?
The information available to intended parents about US egg donors is extensive, helping intended parents to select their donor carefully and giving them detailed information to provide to their child as they grow up. Egg donor profiles typically include:
- Age and location
- Education history and occupation
- Family, including details of the donor’s own children
- Medical background, including detailed genetic and family history
- Lifestyle, diet, hobbies and interests
- The outcome of previous donations
- Photos of the donor now and as a child (and sometimes video or audio footage)
- Information about the donor’s personality and motivations
- In some cases, genetic heritage
- In some cases, the donor’s full identity and contact information
Can intended parents or donor-conceived children meet their US egg donor?
When the donor puts her profile together, she will record whether she wishes to remain unknown or is willing to be contacted. Most donors now at least agree to being contacted in the future if the child wishes to meet them or needs medical information, and it is sensible for intended parents to avoid a donor who says she wishes to remain entirely anonymous since in practice consumer DNA testing now means that this is unlikely to be realistic. Some donors are willing to meet the intended parents before donating, which can be arranged via a video call, either on a no-names basis or with full disclosure of identity.
Research has consistently shown that children born as the result of donation benefit from information being shared with them by their parents openly and honestly from an early age. The Donor Conception Network offers support and information to parents, anyone considering donor conception and donor-conceived people.
Can same-sex male couples fertilise eggs from the same US egg donor?
It is very common for same–sex male couples to have eggs from their donor fertilised with sperm from each of them, with a view to them conceiving two or more children who are genetically linked with each other while also giving the parents each the opportunity to become a biological father.
Will a donor cycle more than once for the same parent/s?
Intended parents can ask for a donor willing to cycle more than once for them, particularly if they want to create enough embryos to plan for more than one child.
How many other families can a US egg donor donate to?
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that egg donors donate up to a maximum of six times. Information relating to a donor’s previous donations is shown within her profile and repeat donors often receive higher compensation.
What is the US legal process for egg donation in the USA?
US attorneys can put agreements in place to ensure that an egg donor is not the legal parent of any child she helps to conceive, as well as securing the agreement for contact or future sharing of information. Alternatively, some clinics will put a consent between the donor and the fertility clinic. A US attorney can advise on the best way forward.
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