The decision to become an egg donor with Shady Grove Fertility is not one to be taken lightly. Guidelines are strict, and at Shady Grove Fertility, only 3 percent of women who apply to become an egg donor make it to the actual egg donation. Although the process at times may feel tedious and requires commitment of time and dedication, the reward of helping a family is immeasurable.

Some of the requirements for women applying to donate include: detailed family and personal health history, physical characteristics, education, dreams and aspirations, etc.; with each field eventually shared with the couple who is in need of donated eggs to conceive, who are also known as recipients. These requirements often lead women who are considering egg donation to question the motivations behind couples who are in need of donated eggs and how they make a selection.

Who needs an egg donor?

After the age of 35, a woman’s fertility begins declining more rapidly until reaching a fertility potential of nearly zero by the age of 45. Therefore, some couples are in need of donor egg to conceive due to diminished egg quality or quantity. For other couples, they have already been through several rounds of infertility treatment (IVF and/or IUI) and are emotionally exhausted from disappointment and loss, and donor egg treatment is their final option to conceive. Some women are as young as their late 20s and when they are ready to start a family, learn they have premature ovarian failure, and aren’t able to use their own eggs.

According to one of our New Patient Liaisons, Amanda Segal, “when couples find out they have to use donor egg treatment, they have to come to terms with the realization they may not be able to use their own genetics. With donor egg treatment comes some of the control they feel they have lost, providing a little piece of hope to hold on to. They want to feel like their child will be as much their own, they are looking for something to identify with.”

Is it a beauty contest?

Looks matter, but most likely not for the same reason you might assume. The Shady Grove Fertility patient population is very diverse, and therefore donor egg recipients look for an egg donor with whom they can identify with. For some, they want to find a donor who shares something in common with them. That could mean physical attributes such as hair color, eye color, ethnicity, height, etc. While someone might want to share a common interest (playing the piano, baking, athletics) or has achieved higher education (college or a secondary degree).

Each patient has his or her own reasoning to selecting a donor. If an athlete were using donor egg, they might connect with someone who plays/played a sport. If a 6’1 woman were using donor egg, she might want a donor who shares height. Some look for a genetic connection to nationality to connect with and carry on family culture and history.

Recently, a SGF donor recipient wrote a book, Dear Donor, and shared this:

“Dear Donor, We picked you! We loved what you wrote in your profile and we adored your baby pictures and the pictures of your children as well. We would be tickled pink to have healthy, beautiful children like your own. I am on top of the world knowing that we are yet one step closer to our dream of becoming parents. Thank you for making our dreams a possibility.” –Ellen Carpenter

So what do couples look for when choosing a donor? Here are what our Facebook community said:

  • “We looked for similarities, eye color, height, and complexion. But also, which was big for us was allergies and family history.
  • “Honestly, we looked for it all. Our priority was on aptitudes. But we still looked at physical features. Height was important to me because I’m tall for a female. I also liked that our donor had her own healthy children. Of course with all that in mind, our adorable son is daddy’s twin.”
  • “We looked for similarities. Eye color, hair color, height, health and family history!!”
  • “I thought we would choose a donor with similar features; however, we fell in love with her profile. Every word of her hand written profile reminded me of myself. As luck would have it, our son happens to be the spitting image of my husband mixed with many of my mannerisms.”
  • “In my experience, it varies greatly: Some couples look for a donor who has similar physical features and could ‘fit in to the family.’ Some couples look for specific characteristics that are not physical but may be a match to themselves such as athleticism, musical talent, education, or interests. Some couples just want a donor who is healthy and will literally pick her because they liked something she said in her profile no matter how random it is.”
  • “We sorted on highest level of education and blue eyes.”
  • “Family history was important to us. It also helped that the donor has traits that are very similar to mine.”
  • “I started with similarities, also that she had healthy children.”
  • “The profile is all I will ever know of the donor – so the completeness of the medical and family histories was very important. We also looked at physical traits and education background (for a sense of intelligence and drive).”

 Our Advice for Egg Donors

When filling out your Donor Profile, also called the Long Application, be thorough, be honest, be you. Everyone is unique, everyone has a story, and everyone is special. Something you enjoy, or something that makes you unique, might be exactly what a recipient is looking for. So take time to complete the application in it’s entirety, and to focus on the essay questions; this is an area where you can tell recipients more about you. No matter what recipients are looking for, they all want a donor that has taken time to complete her application in full, provided good quality pictures, and took time to answer the essay questions.

Take the Next Step

  • Apply Today to become an egg donor and help a couple become a family of their dreams.
  • Already applied? Contact Shady Grove Fertility Egg Donor Liaisons, to complete your Donor Profile or answer any questions you might have about egg donation or call (888) 312-4499.