This was a bit of a tangled garden. Once we decided DE was the next step for us, we then needed to find a donor. We first had a discussion with our FS, and they advised us to consider two key things:
1) AGE – our donor should be under 27 years ideally; and
2) PROVEN DONOR – our donor should have had a previous donor cycle which was successful for the recipient.
There are lots of other characteristics to consider, but for our FS the above was his professional advice. So with these two criteria in place, we ventured out to find our donor. We engaged with two DE agencies and received load of info on potential donors. Honestly…..overwhelming. I spent about a week obsessing, comparing, reading, comparing, googling, comparing, ranking, rating……it was ridiculous. There is so much information given to you about potential donors, so you really need to decide your own criteria, then ignore the rest. This was hard. My husband and I had a very frank discussion about what was important to us. We ended up with the following criteria which we based on the advice of our FS, my personal characteristics and a few things that were important to us….however, this was the first draft.
FIRST DRAFT CRITERIA
1) Age – they should be under 27 years
2) Proven donor – they had been a donor prior and it was successful
3) Eye colour – they should have light eyes like me
4) Hair colour – they should have similar hair colour to me
5) Height – they should be tall….I am tall
6) Education – they should have a university degree
7) Medical History – they should not have any family history of mental illness, serious chronic illnesses or addiction
8) Location – they should live in our city, or close by. Or else you have to transport and accomodate your donor, and that just gets so expensive!
9) No children – we decided we did not want a donor who had their own children. I kept thinking it would be easier for a woman without children to emotionally manage being a donor…..but I am not sure where I though up this one. I think maybe it was easier for me to cope with the idea of DE knowing that our donor had never been pregnant themselves….this was obviously some kind of internalized psychology at work, so I can’t really explain it.
Ok…so we started going through the profiles. We quickly realized that we had too many criteria. It was so hard to find someone who fit all of them. So we had to go back to the drawing board and eliminate some criteria.
SECOND DRAFT CRITERIA
1) Age – We kept this, because we had a higher chance of success with a younger donor.
2) Proven donor – We scrapped this one. There were not enough who met our other criteria who were proven donors. We discussed this with our FS, and they agreed. A proven donor is ideal, but they do all of the obvious biological screening, so our FS felt comfortable to relax this criteria as long as the donor was young enough.
3) Eye colour – My husband has brown eyes and so does all of his family. So the chances of us having a child with light eyes (even unassisted) is very low. So we scrapped this one.
4) Hair colour – My husband and all of his family have dark hair. Mine is lighter. So this one was not that important.
5) Height – This one was important to me. We kept this. My husband and I are both tall.
6) Education – We relaxed this one. We looked for donors who had some kind of education beyond high school and that they were career oriented, whatever that career may be. I think we were looking for a donor who could demonstrate motivation and some kind of life plan for themselves.
7) Medical History – This was a deal-breaker. We did not budge on this one. You would be surprised how many donors did not qualify for us because of this one.
8) Location – This was also a deal-breaker. We just could not afford a donor who required additional expenses.
9) No children – We relaxed this one. In reality, most donors we reviewed under 27 years did not have children, so it was not really an issue.
FINAL DRAFT CRITERIA
1) Age – Under 27 years
2) Height – Tall like me
3) Medical History – No family history of mental illness, serious chronic illness or addiction
4) Location – they should live in our city, or close by.
You really need to go through these steps of whittling down your criteria. It is an important process to really find a donor that you feel good about. In the end, we had the choice of two donors. Both fulfilled our primary criteria and a few of our additional ones. We did not have a clear choice. So….I gave the choice to the nurse at our FS office. Only because, she knows us, we trust her, and she knew both of our two donor choices. So she decided for us! Which was great, because it is a very difficult decision. She also took into consideration the compliance and commitment level of both donors, as they had both donated prior. So we were very fortunate to have her insights.
Not an easy decision, but involve your FS and their team in the decision if possible. It really helps.