We initially imagined that our egg donor would be someone we knew. Early in our process, two very dear friends offered to donate their eggs. Having a friend or family member donate eggs is actually quite common for LGBTQ folks who are wanting to start their family. Upon consultation with our medical team at Oregon Reproductive Medicine, we had to make the tough decision to use a medically approved egg donor from the clinic’s database or to begin the process with one of our friends, both of whom are in their 30’s. This wasn’t an easy choice, but we decided to increase our success rate by selecting a medically screened donor from an online database.
“This feels like online dating in a really weird way,” Kirk said the first time we logged onto the egg donor database in late December 2016.
We were confronted with a search screen and a number of different options to search for height, weight, hair color, eye color, and a number of other physical characteristics. As we scrolled through the list, we noticed quickly that we were less concerned about specific physical characteristics. At the bottom of the page, however, was a separate section with other criteria that would narrow our search and felt more important to us: willing to meet with us, willing to work with a non-traditional family, and willing to sign up for the Donor Sibling Registry. The DSR is a website that allows children born from sperm, egg, or embryo donation to make connections to others with whom they share genetic ties, whether they are half siblings or biological parents. This means that our child(ren) will have a way to reach out to their genetic mother as well as any half siblings they may have if our egg donor chooses to donate eggs again in the future. Although there is no guarantee that either their genetic mother or half siblings will also choose to make that connection, it feels very important to us for our child(ren) to have that option.
After some brief discussion, we decided that we would look through the donor database with the only restrictions being from the second section of search options. We were given about 25 profiles to look through. After scrolling through and clicking on a few profiles together, we actually decided to search through the database on our own to see which donors we might select individually.
Each potential donor had about 8 pages of information in their profile. Things from family medical history, education, hobbies, and interests, to future goals and dreams, childhood memories, spirituality, and beliefs about the world. Each donor profile also had baby photos, grade school photos, high school photos, and more current photos.
We each ended up selecting just one donor that we felt was the right fit for us. They were two different profiles, but my selection was on Kirk’s short list and vice versa. So we considered both profiles together. At the end of that first conversation, we both felt like either woman would be a great biological mother for our child(ren). But neither of us felt strongly enough to try to persuade the other to our initial choice.
So we slept on it. And then we slept on it another night. And then another night. Part of our indecisiveness was the fact that it was in the middle of the holiday season and we had a lot going on. But I also think that part of our reluctance lay in the fact that we both knew that this was the big jumping off point in this final phase of becoming parents. Once we chose an egg donor, we would likely be on track to get pregnant by summer and have a baby sometime in the spring of 2018. Our reluctance was fueled not only in part by the magnitude of the process that we were about to set in motion, but also by the results of the 2016 election. The world felt, and still feels, like a dark, frightening, and unstable place. But, we ultimately realized that we had to continue to move forward, to move through our fear and the feelings of uncertainty. Babies are born and families grow around the world every day in far more uncertain conditions than the ones that we’re currently facing.
In the end, choosing our egg donor wasn’t an overly precise process. We weren’t so much concerned about height, looks, or athletic ability. We were more swayed by our donor’s answers to essay questions about her outlook on life, and who her heroes and heroines are. One answer that was particularly swaying for Kirk was to the question:
How would your friends describe you?
Friendships are so important in our own lives and we value our friends’ perspectives on us. Our egg donor wrote that her friends would describe her as “Driven. Hard working. Sassy.” And this feels like exactly what the moment calls for. Reflecting on our whole process of becoming dads thus far, these three words really resonate.
One of the last things we did in 2016 was reserve our egg donor.
She is currently on day 10 of her medications which include:
- Prenatal Vitamin
All of these are working to stimulate her body to produce eggs for retrieval. She has had five ultrasounds and a lot of blood work done, all of which have come back fantastic. We are set for an egg retrieval this week.
We look forward to meeting her in person after the egg retrieval. We are already so grateful to her for being willing to play a role in helping us to start our family. We’re expecting to get our first potential surrogate profile from Northwest Surrogacy Center next month, which will kick off the next stage of our process.