How do I find the right one?
You’re unique — and so is each and every egg donor. Searching for “the one” can be overwhelming, so we recommend parents look for a donor who they like on a personal level and can picture as a part of their family.
Here are examples of specifics Tulip helps you search for:
Physical characteristics are one of the first things that intended parents look for in an egg donor, and are searchable in Tulip’s database. While it’s important to remember that no one has a doppelganger, you’ll be able to search by height, hair and eye color. Try to find a donor who you like on a personal level and can picture as a part of your family. The most important qualities for an egg donor are her willingness to donate her eggs, her availability, her physical health and the healthiness of her immediate family. While you can try to control the outcome by choosing a donor with specific characteristics, remember that individual genetics - and the unknown - play a big part who we are. We are each a unique person with our own unique DNA.
Many families are looking for egg donors with specific genetic features like height, eye color or hair color. Tulip’s searchable database helps you to narrow down donor candidates using these criteria. Here are a few tips if you’re trying to narrow down your choices and make a decision:
- Focus on the health of the donor and her immediate family. Grandparents may have health issues that are common in later life, so don’t necessarily rule someone out because her grandparent has had a health issue.
- As blood type is inherited, some intended parents look for an egg donor whose blood type would pass on the same blood type “patterns” to their child as the intended mother’s. Medically, there is no reason to choose a donor who has the same blood type as either intended mother or father.
All egg donors undergo FDA-required health screenings, which include mental health evaluations and education about the process. Women must be mentally stable and prepared to donate their eggs before they begin a cycle. While the psychological evaluation usually isn’t done until after an official match, egg donor agencies and clinics usually do a good job of screening out candidates who may not be emotionally ready to be egg donors. We recommend choosing a donor who has a good mental health history: No patterns of addiction, eating disorders, schizophrenia or other extreme mental health disorders for the donor or her immediate family.
Education is often important for intended parents using an egg donor and there are many bright, college-educated women donating their eggs. The Tulip database has the option to search by academic achievement but remember that this is only one part of what makes someone unique. Instead of seeking out narrow credentials, we recommend looking at the egg donor holistically to see if she's the best fit to help you build your family.
Women of all backgrounds become egg donors, so you have a good chance of finding the right fit for your family. If you’re looking for a donor with the same ethnic heritage as you, you can use Tulip’s search function to identify donors of a specific ethnicity. It’s important to remember that ethnicity and physical characteristics may not go hand-in-hand, so we recommend focusing on your egg donor holistically and choosing someone you believe could be part of your family. For some cultures, egg donation isn’t as common or isn’t talked about. You’ll find that with Tulip’s access to so many donor egg programs, your chances of finding someone who shares your ethnic background is higher.
Most donors share their religious background, which you can find by searching the Tulip database with the religion function. You can find a donor with your religious heritage, but we also like to remind parents that how they raise their child will determine their community and values.
An anonymous cycle means that personal details are not exchanged between the egg donor and the intended parents. In an open donation, personal details are exchanged, but the level of contact can vary. While historically, matches were anonymous, more egg donors today are willing to be part of an open donation. Each family is different, so we recommend that intended parents take time to decide which option is best for them. Just remember that access to DNA testing means that more people are discovering their heritage. There is no such thing as a truly anonymous egg donor cycle. It’s a sensitive issue, we know. Think about why you want to have an anonymous donor, and speak to a mental health specialist about it. In the future, your children may want access to the donor’s family medical history, or even meet their donor. It’s a lot to take on board at this stage and your feelings may change. There are options for semi-anonymous donation, through online registries. Ask your Tulip Fertility Coach for information!