By: Kelly Rummelhart
In honor of Easter, I thought I’d do a quick blog post about the importance of Egg Donation in the Surrogacy process. When I think about it, I really wish I could go back in time and donate my own eggs. (Where’s my Delorean?) I had a sorority sister in college who donated her eggs and I thought it was awesome but never thought about it for myself . . . I don’t know why. My guess: too young and selfish. The only time I ever thought about it seriously was when my first Intended Parents were searching for their egg donor. By then, I was already 34 years old, which was already “too old” for most egg donation agencies, not to mention a gestational surrogate can’t carry an embryo that was made with her own eggs.
Regardless of my age, once I had my own children, I think I may have had some issues regarding donating my eggs. I know myself very well and know that if I ever passed a baby/child on the street that looked remotely like any of my kids, my imagination would be going wild. Don’t even get me started on what I’d do if any of my children brought home a boyfriend/girlfriend from college that looked similar to them. Just thinking of it now has me writing a future episode of Law and Order Los Angeles.
I think that egg donation is a somewhat thankless experience. As the woman donating her eggs I’m sure she’s excited to know that someone has picked her –liked her physically, biologically, emotionally, etc –to want to have their child created from her eggs. Of course she is compensated, pretty well if you think of the time obligation for the process. By “thankless” I’m thinking of anonymous donors. The women who don’t know who picked them and may never hear more than if a child/children was/were born from her donation. Of course a known donor may get updates on the pregnancy and child/children, if they have that kind of relationship with the Intended Parents. As a surrogate, whenever the parents send me pictures of their children, I take it as “thank you”, as in, “look at this amazing family you helped us create.”
Speaking of “anonymous” donors, sure the Intended Parents will not know their true identity, but they will know and have access to virtually all other aspects about the donor: photos over the years, photos of their children (if any), medical history, education, etc. Nowadays with Google, I wonder how anonymous it could truly be?
There are several similarities and differences among egg donors and surrogates. My lists below are typical (of course there are other circumstances) and I’m comparing those who chose to go through legitimate agencies, not independent.
Egg donation is different than surrogacy in many ways:
- Egg donors don’t need to have had a child in order to apply; whereas a surrogate must have had a complication-free pregnancy and birth.
- Egg donors typically “age out” around 31 years old, a surrogate around 35 (up to 40 if she was a previous surrogate before 35).
- An egg donor’s part of the process is several weeks –the surrogate’s about a year.
- Egg donors don’t typically know exactly where their eggs went.
- Egg donors do not complete psychological/medical screening until they are chosen. Surrogates complete screening before becoming an option for IPs.
- An egg donor could do several donations in a year, but a surrogate could not.
However, there are also a few similarities:
- Both usually have other reasons besides financial to take part.
- Both had to go through injections, although surrogates have many more.
- With each completion, the fee for the next donation/journey goes up.
- Both seem to be sympathetic to infertile couples.
- Both helped create a family.
I will continue to blog about egg donation next week. Until then, if you want to know more about egg donation, feel free to visit Growing Generations’ page Growing Generations’ page about the process. There are several egg donation places out there; I’m just sharing this one since it was the agency that my own surrogacy was through, so I know they are well respected.
Kelly Rummelhart writes about her experiences as a two-time gestational surrogate for gay couples. She calls herself a “Uterine Activist” and will be the first to tell you that her uterus is an ally. Kelly also writes at Just The Stork