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Is Anonymity in Egg Donation Dead?

Posted on: 8 May, 2018

Written By: Julia French, General Manager, The Donor Solution

IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or insemination of female egg with microscope. Digital illustration.

In this day and age of social media, 23andMe, and technology booming is there really such a thing as privacy anymore? As a society the notion is certainly going away, but what about when it comes to fertility? From the start, fertility has always been behind closed doors with couples and donors sharing little about their journeys except to a select few. Sure, there was a wave in the 90s when all the sperm donors came out of the woodwork, but what about when it comes to egg donation, will there be a similar wave? Are we in the wave?

I would argue that the wave has passed and we are now in a time of autonomy. Society these days seems to know what they want and demands nothing less. Maybe it has something to do with those millennials, but more and more patients are dictating the type of care they want and will simply not settle. This passes down to anonymity too. Some people want it and some don’t. Some fight for it and some are more easy-going. It’s a time of catering to the people and who are we to tell them what is right?

A Personalized Approach to Anonymity

We have always strived to set a standard of care that was truly personal and the same goes when it comes to anonymity. If a couple wants to know their egg donor and the egg donor wants to know the couple, we arrange a known donation. If the couple wants their potential future offspring to know the egg donor and the egg donor wants to know the future offspring, we arrange an identity release donation. If the couple and/or the egg donor wants to keep things anonymous, then we always default to anonymity and ask the other party to respect the wishes of the first. We have found that matches really work best this way and everyone is happier having the care and level of contact they want.

family recipient of donor eggs

Over the years, we have actually found that intended parents are more concerned about anonymity than our egg donors. Many of our egg donors are open to known or identity release donations, but ultimately say they are most comfortable with whatever the intended parents are comfortable with. These women feel they are giving a gift to help grow a loving family. Fertility is an individual journey, and while the world is ever-changing and more and more people are coming out to share their journey, they aren’t necessarily looking for a lifelong relationship with their donor. And the donors feel that at times the parents give her “more credit than she deserves” for simply assisting them with the start of their family.

So, it is not the “end of Anonymity” but rather the dawning of the age of “Autonomy” for all parties in Donor Egg Arrangement.