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If you're facing infertility, one route to parenthood is egg donation. If you've never been through the process before, you may be wondering what the difference is between using an anonymous egg donor versus a known or directed donor.
What Is an Anonymous Egg Donor?
An anonymous egg donor is a donor not known by the intended parents. The intended parents receive information about the donor's physical characteristics and other important information, but they don't learn her identity.
Anonymous donors are generally women aged 21 to 29 with healthy young eggs.
The anonymous donor is matched through an egg donation agency or through your fertility doctor’s office as many facilities have in-house egg donor programs. Either the agency or clinic will provide information as well as additional background information on the donor. This background check includes a medical history, genetic testing, a psychological evaluation, and infectious disease testing (such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia).
All of this information is provided in the donor's profile so that you can choose an egg donor that best fits with your family building wishes.
What Is a Directed Egg Donor?
A directed or known egg donor is someone who you personally know, such as a friend or family member, who donates her eggs to you so that you can have a child.
Known donors may range in age from 21 to 40 depending on the fertility clinic's criteria; however, most clinics require donors to be younger than 35. They must also pass all infectious disease, genetic screenings, and psychological screenings to donate their eggs.
How Are These Two Types of Donors Different?
Anonymous egg donors go through similar processes of screening and retrieval as directed donors do, with a few differences. These include:
Which Donor Is Right for Me?
All in all, there no is no right or wrong answer, and neither option is more successful than the other. Every intended parent is interested in something different and while some intended parents want some connection between themselves and the donor, others feel more comfortable not knowing the donor.
If you are using a surrogate to carry the pregnancy as well, this surrogate will never be the egg donor. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate shares no DNA with the child she is carrying.
Before You Leave
Understanding the options available to you is the first step in deciding which arrangement will best meet your family's needs.
We encourage you to talk to a professional and conduct your research as well before making a decision. Good luck and happy parenting!