What to Look for in an Egg Donor Agency
The entire process of creating a family when you are doing it the old fashioned way can be overwhelming – but when a couple or an individual needs help it can be incredibly time consuming, overwhelming, and often really stressful. There are so many different kinds of decisions you have to think about. For instance many fertility practices offer small donor pools – and while this is a great service these donor pools don’t always meet the needs of intended parents. Because of that intended parents look to egg donation agencies to help them select the right donor for their family and that decision in itself can be daunting.
We live in a time where there is no regulation regarding egg donation – it’s the wild wild west and there’s no Sheriff. Intended parents are virtually on their own, we rely upon friends, chat rooms, support groups, our clinics, and word of mouth to help us select the right agency that will not only fit our budget, but operate in an ethical manner, and offer healthy well screened egg donors.
“Anyone can hang a shingle outside their door and open an egg donation agency. In fact, it’s harder to open a food cart on the streets of Portland, or any other major city for that matter than it is to open an egg donation agency.” – Marna Gatlin, Founder, Parents Via Egg Donation
Because this process can scramble the great minds of many, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when selecting an egg donation agency.
Okay where to begin – well, let’s begin with the basics. Egg donor agencies are small, large, and in-between. Some are well established, meaning they have been around a very long time, and others are small, new to the egg donation industry and operated by inexperienced individuals.
Parents Via Egg Donation, a non-profit educational organization based in Oregon has a mantra and it goes something like this:
“Regardless of what egg donor agency you end up selecting, we at PVED want you to be educated, savvy, and informed. Above all, egg donor agencies are service providers, meaning you are in the driver’s seat. They may have the egg donor you need to grow your family, but in the end, you are writing the check, and they need your business to stay in business.”
With that in mind, The Donor Source feels strongly that you need to ask the following questions before you commit to any egg donor agency.
How long has the agency been in business? Are they an LLC? Has the egg donor agency ever been in business under a different name?
How many donors has the agency matched with recipients in the last year? Does the egg donor agency have references from recipient parents?
How many donors are available at any one time?
How many pregnancies and live births have resulted from cycles with the agency’s donors?
What is the agency’s fee for their services? What exactly do the fees cover?
What do you have to pay up front and what do you pay once you have selected a donor?
Is the fee refundable if you change your mind about a donor or decide not to proceed with any donors in that agency?
Does the agency provide a service agreement between the egg donor agency and recipient/intended parents?
How much is the donor compensated, and when is the compensation given to the donor?
Can the egg donor set her own level of compensation?
Does the egg donor undergo psychological screening before being placed on the prospective donor list? Who performs this screening (i.e., the agency or another third party)?
Does the agency facilitate a meeting between you and the egg donor if you desire to meet her?
Does the agency provide anonymous donors, identified donors, or both?
How long are records kept on anonymous donors?
How does the egg donor agency manage its information and records regarding its donors? Where does the agency keep its information?
How long does the agency keep its information? In the event that the agency were to go out of business, who would be responsible for keeping its egg donor information in case a need may arise to contact an anonymous egg donor? Where are these records maintained?
Does the agency adhere to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Guidelines for Oocyte Donation?
What is included in the legal contract that the donor signs?
What is included in the legal contract that the intended parent(s) signs?
What kind of medical insurance coverage for the donor does the agency provide, and what are the terms?
Does the egg donor agency help the uninsured donor find medical coverage, or is that the recipient parent’s responsibility?
How is the recipient parent protected in the event the egg donor doesn’t take her medication as agreed?
How is the recipient parent protected in the event the egg donor chooses to discontinue the process halfway through a cycle?
Does the agency provide a fair refund policy?
Does the donor program require that the recipient work only with their agency?
Is the donor required to work only with that program for any specific period of time?
Has the donor worked with other programs?
How long and how much effort will the agency put into finding a donor with specific characteristics?
Does the egg donation agency and/or broker charge differently if you pay cash, check or credit card?
Does the program charge the same price for every donor, or is there a higher charge for certain donors (e.g. for donors with successful previous cycles)?
If the recipient pays the donor’s expenses, does the agency provide an itemized list of expenses?
Now granted these are a lot of questions to be asking but we’ll leave it to the intended parent to pick and choose those questions that are important to them – we just want to make sure you have all your bases covered as you begin your path to parenthood!
Fertility Source Companies case managers are here to guide you through your egg donation cycle!