5 Things You May Not Know About Anonymous Egg Donation

Here are some things you might want to be thinking about as you make the decision to pursue anonymous egg donation to build your family:

The degree of anonymity

“Anonymous” does not mean you cannot have any contact with the donor.  In fact, many intended parents and donors have contact using a third-party intermediary such as the matching agency, a lawyer or the Donor Sibling Registry.  Others choose to have contact directly with the donor.  It is possible to still maintain anonymity even with such contact by using only first names or pseudonyms.  The level of contact (or non-contact) can be personalized to suit your needs through your direct legal agreement with your donor.

FDA disease testing

Anonymous egg donors are subject to different FDA rules relative to communicable diseases than known donors.

Embryo donation

Donating any remaining embryos to another couple for reproductive purposes can be more difficult if an anonymous egg donor is used.  Essentially, the egg donor’s approval is needed before the embryos can be donated.  If her approval was not obtained at the outset, such as via a direct legal agreement with the egg donor, it may be difficult to locate her several years down the road when you are making the decision to donate the embryos.

Information about the donor

The amount of information available about an anonymous donor can vary widely.  Depending on your clinic’s or matching agency’s practices, you might have access to adult photos, childhood photos, and the donor’s written answers to questions about her personality, hobbies, talents and interests.

Clinic consent forms

Clinic consent forms are not sufficient to protect your parental rights in an anonymous egg donation arrangement.  The clinic consent forms are an important part of the informed consent process, as they address issues directly related to the medical treatment such as procedures, benefits, risks and alternatives. However, they do not provide you with the same protections in regards to your relationship with your donor as a direct legal agreement.  Reliance on just clinic consent forms can result in unintended consequences impacting both parental rights for children born from the donation and the ability to use cryopreserved embryos in the future.

New Hampshire lawyer Catherine Tucker