Finding the Right Donor
This story originally appeared on the FitPregnancy.com website.
With donor-egg IVF, you have two options: Finding a donor egg you know or selecting an anonymous donor through an agency. Most friends assumed we’d prefer a familiar donor. Three even offered me their own eggs. (I thanked them profusely before explaining that they were, oh, about 15 years too old.) Several people asked whether I’d considered my younger sister as a donor. But the very idea of mating my sister’s eggs with Paul’s sperm would complicate our family dynamics in ways I didn’t even want to imagine. “At least you’d know what you were getting,” one friend said.
Comments like that drove me nuts. What DNA merger isn’t one big roll of the dice? In some respects, though, I understood the sentiment. After all, we did find it comforting to have even partial genetic input and to know that our baby would be exposed to all the right nutrients in utero. Still, we harbored no illusions that we had more control than any other couple trying to have a baby.
And so, Paul and I began our donor-egg hunt, securing the passwords to several agency websites so we could get beyond the headlines and read the complete donor profiles.
Back when I was active on Match.com, I’d been clear about my search criteria: I wanted a smart, athletic guy who could use “I feel” in a context other than “I feel like pizza tonight.” But now? What exactly were Paul and I looking for? Someone who looked like me? Someone who looked like Julia Roberts? How much weight should we give a donor’s GPA or SAT score or the disconcerting revelation that her favorite food is “anything from the Olive Garden”?
This was like Match.com all over again, only it wasn’t. I wasn’t seeking a date or a friend—just a batch of healthy eggs. Did it really matter if the donor was funny or adventurous or “cheerful, athletic and goal-oriented”?
Somehow, I came to realize, it did. I was drawn to women I could relate to, like the bike racer/schoolteacher who was lousy at math and who wanted to use her $5,000 egg-donor fee for a cycling tour of Spain. Paul, meanwhile, drifted toward women who looked like that blonde criminologist on CSI: Miami. He was particularly enamored with a pretty, green-eyed donor who appeared to be my polar opposite—an aspiring chemist in possession of her low-voltage electrician’s license. Though I was hardly aiming to clone myself—ultimately I found hair and eye color were low priorities—the idea of using her eggs didn’t exactly excite me because we were so different, and I wanted to feel excited about my choice.
Like the best of the Match.com guys, some donors clearly had put effort into their essays. Others, though, were coasting on their genes, like Sage, a 5-foot-10 volleyball player with hazel eyes and a strikingly angular face. She left blank the questions about her aspirations and fondest childhood memories, revealing little besides the fact that her brother is a 6-foot-4, blond lifeguard.
“Man, who does she think she is?” Paul said. To be continued…
RSMC is a complete fertility center under one roof. We specialize in IVF, especially difficult cases, and have an egg donation center as well as a surrogacy program. For more information please e-mail: [email protected] or call 858-436-7186.