The decision to become an egg donor is not only one that offers to give an incredible gift – it’s one that can’t be taken lightly! We field many inquires from egg donors and always say that there are no silly questions. It’s important to do your research and make an informed decision that is best for you. A few of the most common questions we receive?
What about my privacy?
Overwhelmingly, most donor matches are anonymous. However there are some cases when both parties – egg donor and intended parent – choose to meet one another. We will work to maintain everyone’s privacy to the extent they wish while also working with those who are interested in a more open arrangement. Some cases even allow future contact if both parties agree.
It is ConceiveAbilities’ policy to attempt to maintain your anonymity as well as that of the intended parents. Identifying details provided by you in your application will be deleted from information shared with the intended recipients. Likewise, identifying information about the recipient couple will be deleted from what is disclosed to you. Donors who carefully research agencies feel most secure with our level of privacy and security.
Why are egg donors compensated?
Egg donor compensation covers the time, effort, inconvenience, and high level of commitment necessary to accomplish an egg donation. The program places expectations on you as an egg donor to follow through and feels that the compensation egg donors receive should mirror the importance placed on your commitment and generosity.
What are my costs?
Along with egg donor compensation, the intended recipients pay the costs of the screening and the donation process. The premium and any deductible for the supplemental short-term accidental health insurance policy will also be paid by the intended recipients. You should be aware that donors receive a 1099 tax form at the end of the year for the compensation you earn. ConceiveAbilities withholds no tax. The only cost to you is a current pap smear and your local transportation.
What are the medications I must take?
The physician will determine what medications you will take. While ConceiveAbilities does not possess medical expertise, based on experience with donors, there are three medications or hormones most donors take. The first medication, called Lupron, prevents the donor’s hormones from causing follicle (the sac surrounding the egg) production and ovulation on their own. It also allows for the next medication to be more effective in producing multiple follicles. This next medication is FSH. Pure FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) naturally occurs in a woman’s body but in a smaller quantity than the dose donors usually take. FSH is responsible for the production of follicles (the sacs surrounding the eggs). Lastly, the donor will usually be given hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) that will stimulate her body to finalize the maturation of the eggs and induce ovulation. For detailed information, please review our Egg Donor Medications page.
Are these medications safe?
These are medications commonly used for the treatment of infertility. The use of the medications for fertility treatment and egg donation is very widespread throughout the United States and the world. This widespread use in the U.S. is the result of rigorous testing for effectiveness and safety by the scientific community and the FDA. Additionally, with approximately ten thousand cases of egg donation in the United States performed every year, and with the guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine at 6 donations per egg donor, the track record on safety is excellent. As with any medicine, there can be adverse side effects. During the screening consultation with a physician, you should inquire about all of the risks and potential side effects of the medications and medical procedures. We also encourage you to talk with your gynecologist about your desire to be an egg donor, to help you feel more comfortable and confident in your decision.
Is the retrieval process painful?
Every experience is different. Some donors go out to eat or shop the day of the procedure. Others take is easy for several days particularly if they are experiencing any uncomfortable cramping and bloating following the procedure. Often Tylenol and rest are sufficient to diminish these effects. The medical personnel can discuss their experience with you regarding discomfort following egg donation.
What are some things that will prevent me from being a donor?
The professionals involved in the screening process look very carefully at motivation, health and family medical history, emotional stability, and other factors. You can learn more at our Egg Donor Requirements page. Many factors are weighed, and often, it is no one thing that disqualifies a donor candidate. However, missing scheduled appointments without informing the professionals involved is actually the leading cause of disqualifying donor candidates. Due to the time sensitive nature of the procedures, the ability to keep to a schedule is one of the most important aspects of the egg donor program. Women who have a habit of making and breaking appointments are not qualified candidates. Please consider this point before making the overture to apply.
If you feel ready to make the commitment to give one of the most incredible gifts one person can give to another, we encourage you to start an Egg Donor application with ConceiveAbilities!
ConceiveAbilities is pleased to announce the expansion of its innovative surrogacy program to include a regular support group for intended parents. With the steep trajectory of surrogacy in the already overwhelming world of infertility, this unique kind of support is paramount and has been challenging to find until now.
The support group is an unparalleled opportunity to discuss the emotional aspects of surrogacy, including excitement, fear, loss of control, and sadness – all at the same time – with others who can relate. A myriad of unique factors, such a single parenting or parenting as a same-sex couple, often come into play and can benefit from this network of support.
“A defining feature of the ConceiveAbilities program is to offer innovative solutions to clients in a burgeoning field,” says President Nazca Fontes. “This new facet provides the setting for intended parents to explore their personal situations with others going through the same pioneering journey.”
The safe, comfortable environment is led by a professional with personal experience. Group leader and ConceiveAbilities’ Director of Surrogacy Deb Levy, MA, LPC, had her own children via the help of a gestational surrogate and is able to guide intended parents as they explore all aspects – emotional and logistical – about this path to parenthood.
For more information and to register for the support group, please contact us at email@example.com.
Listen to Alicia Denefe help explain the interesting and complicated emotions associated with gestational surrogacy on National Public Radio (NPR). In this fascinating segment, you can learn more about the legal, emotional and psychological aspects of third-party parenting. We invite you to listen to the whole audio clip below:
With this headline from Newsweek and The Daily Beast splashed across the web this week, the ethics of embryo donation have been called into question. It all generated from an article that recently appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine regarding concern over a bank of cryopreserved embryos. The authors were two lawyers who determined that – legally and ethically – the practice of “selling embryos fills a need and should be viewed as acceptable.”
The author of The Daily Beast piece was alarmed by this conclusion and saw a more backhanded agenda, referring to the embryos as “not the happy leftovers from another couple’s quest to get pregnant,” but “created for the purpose of providing them to patients, who pay for the entire procedure.”
The fact is, these embryos are created from donated eggs and donated sperm. Egg and sperm donation is old news in the ever advancing world of infertility treatment. Informed consent on behalf of donors already exists and is not the issue, and if their consent is extended to the creation of embryos, then there is no controversy. Everyone is in agreement with what the article refers to as the “deliverables.”
An ethical debate here is unnecessary. This is a personal moral line of demarcation that everyone must determine from themselves. It may not be the the right decision for some, but as with other sensitive and very personal life decisions, it shouldn’t impact the choice for others.
As an agency enmeshed in the delicate process of alternative family building, we haven’t found this to be a common dilemma. Our experience with clients in this already challenging endeavor is that choice is paramount to the process. We doubt very much that intended parents would pursue the option of using banked embryos, as proven by the lack of traction toward already existing embryo donation programs. Intended parents would much rather be in the driver’s seat making decisions about their embryos, rather than leaving it up to scientists in lab coats to create their own subjective combinations.
Louisiana is poised to be the next state to establish the regulatory framework necessary for surrogacy. While surrogate arrangements do currently take place there, they are without clear guidelines and offer very little legal protection to the surrogate or the intended parents.
As an agency, our priority is protecting all the parties involved in a surrogacy match. We believe strongly in laws that have been enacted to protect surrogacy and help it thrive. We fully support this particular bill’s requirements that a surrogate have given birth to a child and undergo mental and physical evaluations, as well as agreeing to relinquish all rights to the child she is carrying. These laws protect both the surrogate and the family she is helping.
However, there is another very specific stipulation to this bill. It states that a surrogate is only allowed to carry for a married couple who couldn’t otherwise have a biological child.
According to Rep. Sherman Mack, “The intent of the bill is pro-family.”
But apparently only if “family” is within a limited definition. In a bill that includes so many stipulations made to truly protect the surrogate, the intended parents, and the child, why such a narrow scope on who can benefit from the process?
The beauty of surrogacy is, of course, building a family. When that option is only given to people the state has decided are worthy, we have to wonder about the politics that are behind the bill. And there are always politics involved.
There is often opposition from anti-abortion groups in any legislation involving in-vitro fertilization, and this is no different. Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative group, opposed the bill and said it destroys embryos and “radically redefines the family.”
But how? The stipulation that surrogacy as a family building option is only protected for married couples actually does very little to redefine a family. It clearly discriminates against single or same sex couples who desperately want a child, and one can argue that it diminishes the woman who’s carrying and her right to make educated choices about her role in the process. A gestational carrier is interested in helping build a family, not being a pawn for a political agenda.
We’re pleased that the state of Louisiana recognizes the rise in surrogacy and acknowledges the need for laws governing it. We can only hope that, eventually, these laws will include all hopeful parents.
Mother’s Day is a bittersweet celebration in the world of infertility. It’s a chance to honor the women who have kissed our owwies, coached us in soccer, patiently explained fractions, and taught us to be strong, self-sufficient women. For someone who is struggling to build a family, it’s a reminder of the role they so desperately want. And relying on someone else to help them get there can be especially challenging.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition for a surrogate mother – someone who has already worn the title “Mom” – to now serve in this way for someone else. Is there a more powerful gift one woman can give to another than motherhood?
Kristina, who has been a surrogate before, recognizes this. “While each pregnancy of our own is wanted, it’s even more intense when you are trying to achieve one for someone else.”
For a woman who has received hugs and cards and breakfast in bed from her own little ones, it can be difficult to imagine life any other way.
“I watched so many friends and family struggle with infertility and infant loss, which is what brought me to surrogacy and of course made me grateful for my own children,” says Holly, who is currently pregnant with twins for her Intended Parents. “I hear so many stories about people who want nothing more than they want a baby; they suffer so much loss, yet they are desperate for a child.”
The relationship she’s developed with the couple she’s carrying for has had an even more profound impact on the previous struggles she’s witnessed.
“To watch the entire IVF process, which I see as a miracle now more than ever, result in a baby or sometimes two, gives me so much perspective,” she says. “Now, I look at my boys and how wonderful and perfect they are, and to think of other parents finally getting to experience that makes me so happy.”
“I view it as an honor,” Kristina explains. Being a surrogate “brought such a sense of pride and completion to my personal views regarding motherhood.”
The gift she’s giving this Mother’s Day is not lost on Holly either, and she acknowledges how it’s impacted her own identity as a mom.
“My love for my children deeper thanks to this new-found perspective,” she explains. “My gratitude for them multiplies, along with my gratitude for the ability to give that feeling to another set of parents.I am so grateful for this experience, and I’m grateful for what I hope it will also teach my children, my family, and my friends.”
And as a woman? “I know I learn more and more about myself with each step in the process.”
Gray skies couldn’t keep Team Baby away as we gathered for the March of Dimes 2013 March for Babies. Walks were organized around the country, and ConceiveAbilities was proudly represented in both Eugene, Oregon and the Chicago suburbs. 20 walkers – including many of our gestational surrogates’ children – took part in the 3 mile walk in support of the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.
ConceiveAbilities prides itself on being “the means to a beginning.” We couldn’t do it without the commitment from the generous women who serve as surrogates and egg donors to help create these desperately wanted babies. In this spirit of giving, it only made sense to walk together to support all babies in getting the best possible start and opportunity to thrive.
As always, everyone loved having a chance to connect – some even had the opportunity to meet for the first time – and catch up while taking part in a fantastic cause. Check out the great shirts, too – talk about team spirit!
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based surrogacy and egg donation agency. Our goal is to provide information about egg donation, surrogacy and infertility as well as facilitating discussions around recent news, trends, new technologies and industry developments on those topics.