Considering Anonymous Donors

Last week we talked through the very real fact that nearly 50% of all embryos available for adoption or donation are created with egg donors, sperm donors, or both. When thinking through your decision on whether or not to select embryos created this way, you may find yourself weighing the pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons we have put together concerning embryos created with donors.

Pros

  1. The maternal and paternal age of the donor gametes are much lower – If you receive embryos created with donor genetics, the average age donors are in their early or mid-20s. Consequentially, there is a better likelihood of achieving a pregnancy from these embryos.
  2. Health screening – The agency the donor completed their donation through required the individual to complete intense medical screening and blood work to ensure they were not passing along any unknown conditions to the embryos. The agency also required the donor to supply a detailed medical history prior to donation.
  3. Your clinic is more likely to accept the adopted embryos – This is usually due to the fact that embryos who were created via egg or sperm donation generally have a higher quality (again, due to the age of the individual).

Cons

  1. There is a possibility your child will have half siblings – Donors do not just donate to one family—it is spread out through multiple families. Be aware your child may have unknown half siblings out there in the world.
  2. It is difficult to find out the identity of the donor – If you and your child wish to know the identity of the donor, be prepared for a difficult and lengthy process. Clinics and donation agencies protect the donor information most vigorously!
  3. The health history of the donor is not updated after donation – Even though you are given a detailed health history for the donor, it has not been updated since the donation was complete. It is very difficult to find out more recent medical information about the donor.

There are many things to consider. As always, it’s important to take time and figure out what is most important to you and what is best for your family.

As you can probably imagine, many children (now adults) who were born from donor conception are interested in more information then what is normally included on the donor profile. In fact, clinics are getting contacted for information more and more nowadays. Sometimes, knowing who their anonymous donor is important to children, and other times it is not. But if your child wants more information, there are ways and resources you can use to help them search.

One way you may find information on the anonymous donor is through the Donor Sibling Registry. The DSR advocates for children born through embryo adoption, clinics, egg donation agencies, and cryo-banks. They state these individuals have the social acceptance and legal rights to their biological origins and identities. To date, the DSR has connected more than 15,625 offspring (and counting!) with their half siblings and/or donors.

Another option is DNA testing. DNA testing has become all the rage, with companies like Ancestry or 23andMe advertising mail-in kits and results at a low cost. These companies have connected countless individuals who are half siblings or even the donors themselves.

To learn more about adopting embryos created with anonymous donors, and more resources available to you and your child, watch our webinar here. To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.