Should You Use an Egg Donor to Get Pregnant?

What do you do when you want a baby more than anything in the world but your body just won’t cooperate? Borrow someone else’s! In the case of an egg donor, you really only need to borrow a very small piece.

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Okay, so it isn’t really “borrowing” since you won’t be giving it back, but you get the drift. Chances are, you are pretty familiar with the concept of an egg donor. If not, basically one woman donates her eggs to help another woman get pregnant. Not too complicated, right? Well, if you’re not careful in choosing your egg donor, it can be. You basically have three options: use eggs from a family member, get a friend to donate or go through an “egg bank.” Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Egg Donor Options: Which One Should You Choose?

Using a family member as an egg donor

Perhaps you have a sister, cousin or young aunt who is willing to donate her eggs to help you finally get those two lines on that pregnancy test. Before you jump on her offer, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Medical History: The greatest “pro” of using a relative (especially a sister) is that you already have complete access to your child’s family medical history, because it’s pretty much your own medical history as well. Of course, this can have a negative side too if certain diseases run in your family.
  • Emotional Bond: Emotionally, you may feel more “biologically” attached to your baby because you still share some of the same DNA. Maybe you’re thinking “that’s crazy, I’ll love my baby no matter who she comes from,” and you’re right, you most likely will. But for some women, that biological bond does matter. There is no shame in admitting it.
  • Too close for comfort: On the flip side, using an egg donor from a family member means that the biological mom will always be close by. It can be incredibly difficult for her to watch “her” baby grow up. It can also be difficult on you to see them together at family functions and constantly be reminded that she is your baby’s biological mother. Again, not all women will feel this way. You need to examine your feelings as well as those of your egg donor before making a decision.

Egg donation from a friend

Many women receive egg donations from friends. I had an amazing friend who offered to do it for me when I was having difficulty conceiving. I eventually conceived on my own (with help from Clomid) but I appreciated the offer and would have taken her up on it if it came down to it. Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of using a friend’s eggs.

  • Medical history: While you may not have complete access to your friend’s medical history, at least you know where to go to get answers should questions arise.
  • Emotional impact: While you won’t feel that same “DNA’ bond as you would with a family egg donor, there is still a deep bond between friends. It may help you feel like you “know” your baby a little better.
  • Impact on friendship: Just like a family egg donor can be a little too close for comfort, so can a friend. While family is family for life, your friendship could become strained by the process. Again, it’s important to know where both of you stands on the subject.

Anonymous egg donations

Honestly, this may be the best way to go for many people.

  • Medical history: The anonymous egg donor is vigorously screened by the facility that accepts the donations. This typically includes both medical and psychological exams. When you choose your donor, you can see her vital statistics like age, weight, height, ethnicity and so on. The downside is that not every medical condition can be discovered through a questionnaire or cursory exam. Should something come up later in your child’s life, it can be incredibly difficult-if not impossible-to get in touch with the donor for more information.
  • Emotional impact: The database also includes some information about the potential donor’s interests, hobbies and education. This allows you to choose someone with a similar background to your own. While interests and hobbies really aren’t passed down genetically, it can help you feel more bonded to your baby.
  • Fear of the unknown One major downside to using an anonymous donor is dealing with the complete unknown. I am a “worst case scenario” person, so my mind automatically goes to the bizarre. What if your baby grows up and falls in love with a great guy who turns out to be her brother! You have no way of knowing how many siblings your baby has out there! Yes, it’s a highly unlikely scenario. If you’re a “worst case scenario” type of person too, though, these are things you have to consider, because there may come a time when they really start to bother you.

The bottom line in all three egg donor scenarios is to know yourself and know your donor (or not know your donor!). Really examine your own feelings on each potential donor. If you choose to go with the known, you also really need to factor in their feelings. See, it’s really not quite as simple as borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor, is it?

Would you consider using an egg donor if you couldn’t use your own eggs? Have you used an egg donor? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! If you have used a donor and feel comfortable talking to us about it, contact us through “share your story” and we’ll share it with your fellow readers.

8 thoughts on “Should You Use an Egg Donor to Get Pregnant?”

  1. I tried for 6 years to have a child. All of my tests came back normal but every fertility treatment resulted in the same results no baby. My only options were adoption or egg donation. Both options were OK but I really wanted to be pregnant. I chose an anonymous donor. Now I have a 15 month old daughter who is the light of my life. She is heathly, smart, and beautiful. Most people do not know my story and lots of people say she looks just like me. My only regret is not using a donor earlier in my journey.

  2. I actually used donor eggs, which gave me Anna and Ethan. After having my oldest I was devastated to find out I had immediately gone into menopause. I was in denial for a few years trying all sorts of things to jump start those ovaries again and nothing worked. I finally let it go since I was losing precious time with my daughter while being way too focused on my lack of egg producing ovaries. During those years I was presented with donor egg information every time I saw a new fertility specialist. I would come home and promptly throw it into the garbage.

    After many months of not focusing on it a news clip came on about donor eggs and my husband asked if I would consider it. By this time I was all for it, without even a second thought. We did use anonymous donor eggs. I carried the babies and gave birth to them. I do not even think about them being anything but my own.

    I have not kept any secrets about having to use donor eggs. Although they do not know what that means! I do dumb it down.

    At the time, my medical coverage had wonderful coverage for infertility and paid for everything for me and the donor. The only thing we paid for was the agency fee.

    When we were choosing our donor we had a full medical history, down to great great grandparents! Not only does the agency require a full physical exam, but my doctor did a full exam too before accepting the donor. It was actually quite the process. I had to go through a test run first to see how much hormones I would need to create a good environment (lining) for the eggs. Then I had to have a biopsy done on my lining (awake). 🙁 We had all the stats on our donor too as far as height, weight, eye color, etc. We chose someone with similar traits as me.

    For us everything worked out perfectly. The twins were extremely healthy (and still are). It brings me so much joy to see how close Megan is with Anna and Ethan and vise versa. We had always wanted more children, and wanted Megan to have a brother or sister…she ended up with one of each! I am so lucky to have them and really thank God for the miracle. Without me going into early menopause, there would be no Anna and Ethan…that would be a true lose.

    I would definitely recommend donor egg, if it is a viable option.

    Wow, that was really long!!

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