Finding the Right Donor
If you’ve got a surrogate lined up but they won’t be using their own eggs to conceive, you’ll need to find an egg donor.
An egg donor education program (Egg Donors Australia) is available to try to encourage more donors and assist gay men in their attempt to become parents through surrogacy.
Although this may seem like a fairly simple process, the decision to create a family using donor eggs will have a significant impact on everyone involved, including the recipient, the donor and the child who is born as a result of the donation.
Our friendly staff will provide you with guidance and support throughout the process, to enable you to make an informed decision and help you determine which is the right option for you.
To conceive through surrogacy, you need to choose an egg donor. Egg donors are classified as either “known” or “unknown” depending on the type of relationship you have with them.
- Known donation: this is where a sister, relative or friend is willing to undergo IVF procedures to provide the eggs. The advantages of having a known donor are that the genetic origin is known and the waiting time for treatment is significantly reduced. Remember, there is an increased risk of problems if a donor is over the age of 35, including miscarriage and the risk of chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down syndrome). If the surrogate consents to receiving eggs from a donor in these circumstances, treatment will be at the clinicians’ discretion.
- Clinic-recruited donation (unknown): this is where a woman generously volunteers to undergo IVF procedures to provide her eggs to another woman. In the case of clinic-recruited donation, the recipient does not know the donor and the donor’s identity may remain unknown to the recipient. However, a donor must consent to release identifying information (name, date of birth, address) to a donor-conceived child, either when they reach 18 years or have acquired sufficient maturity to appreciate the significance of the request (NHMRC 2007).
We can offer treatments involving both known and unknown egg donors, both following a thorough process of preparation. This process involves comprehensive medical assessment, detailed screening, consent forms, and counselling of all parties involved in the egg donation.
Selection Criteria for Egg Donors
All clinic-recruited egg donors are required to meet with the specialist to ensure they are medically suitable for the egg donor program. Some of the tests performed by the specialist during the medical review may include screening tests, pelvic ultrasound and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test.
Egg donors are required to undergo an IVF cycle in order to retrieve the eggs. Prior to this procedure, egg donors will be asked to attend an information session with a fertility coordinator. During this session they are informed about the type of treatment, the risks of the procedure, lifestyle recommendations and other requirements.
Who can be an Egg Donor?
Women of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds can become egg donors. This includes women of all different heights, shapes and sizes, as long as they meet the prerequisites below:
- Aged 21-32 years. No egg donor will be accepted for clinic-recruited donation over the age of 32.
- Good health with no history of hereditary disease. Donors will not be accepted if they suffer from an illness, disease or genetic condition that poses an unacceptable risk of being passed on to any child conceived from the donation.
- Women who are adopted cannot donate unless genetic family history is known.
- Marital status: If married or in a defacto relationship, the husband/partner must consent to the donation. Where a married couple is separated but not divorced, it is strongly recommended that the husband consents to the procedure.
- Unknown donors must have a permanent address and be contactable for follow-up screening. They must be able to provide three identifiers and proof of permanent address, e.g. driver’s licence, photo ID, passport.
- All donors (and their partners) must complete two counselling sessions.
Things to Consider
Some of the things you may have to think carefully about when choosing a donor are:
- Relevant laws.
- Your feelings about creating a family with a known donor or a clinic-recruited donor.
- How and why you chose the donor and the future role she may play in the child’s life.
- Who needs to know about this: family, friends, work?
- What you plan to tell the child about his or her origins. How will you handle his or her questions about meeting the surrogate/egg donor? Writing down your answers to anticipated questions will not only help you prepare for them, but may guide you in making some important decisions.
Gay men using a known donor are encouraged to discuss some of the following key issues with their donor:
- Will she be willing to donate eggs for more than one child to create genetic siblings? (Whether immediately, or at a later time.)
- How she feels about being known/unknown to the child. Whether she will be open about her role in the pregnancy to friends and family.
- If your donor has a partner, the feelings and role of the partner. It’s important to take your time considering the above. Try not to feel rushed and trust your instincts. The decisions you make now may have a big effect on the future of any child you create.
We understand that choosing a donor can be difficult. We have a dedicated and experienced donor team to provide you with guidance and support throughout the process. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.
Call: 1300 222 623