Intended Parent Blog

Welcome to Egg Donor Solutions Intended Parent Blog. This is a place for you to gain knowledge about Egg Donation and also talk with other intended parents who can directly relate to your experiences. Feel free to ask any questions and post comments. We want this to be a positive resource for you. We also welcome your feedback and how we can tailor the blog to meet your needs.

Jennifer’s Story: Building a relationship with her donor

For Jenn Dunn, the decision to create her family via egg donation was an easy one. After years of trying to conceive and several failed intrauterine inseminations, Jenn says she subconsciously knew that donor eggs would be her path to parenthood. She was so sure, in fact, that she picked up several brochures for egg donation agencies during her first visit to her fertility clinic in Gilbert, Arizona, before even discussing egg donation with her physician.

Jenn had begun an invitro fertilization (IVF) cycle when she decided to cancel it after learning how long it could take to be successful. “I told my doctor that I needed him to be really honest, and I asked if this was going to work for me [doing IVF with her own eggs],” Jenn shares. “He explained that it could, but it might take 10 or more tries just to get a few normal embryos. My response was ‘so then it’s donor eggs?’ All I wanted was a family; I didn’t want to waste any more time.”

Choosing her donor
While the process IPs go through to choose an egg donor and what’s most important to them varies, a common theme we hear at Egg Donor Solutions (EDS) is how IPs want to feel a connection with their donor. For Jenn, the connection happened the moment she saw her donor’s photo.

“I loved her smile and how it looked like she was also smiling with her eyes,” Jenn says. “It seemed like she would be a very kind and warm person. It’s hard to explain, but I just knew she was the one.”

Wanting to let her donor how much she was appreciated, Jenn sent flowers, a necklace and a heartfelt letter, which were given to her donor at the retrieval. 

Having her miracle baby
The first embryo transfer using her donor’s eggs was successful. However, Jenn experienced a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth with her son, Bennett, who arrived nine weeks early and spent more than 50 days in the NICU. Jenn recalls the fear she felt during that time and how hard it was not getting to hold her son right away.

“I was afraid that after all we’d been through to have Bennett, we were going to lose him,” she says. “It was a week before I was able to hold him, and my husband and I spent two months going back and forth to the hospital before we were able to bring him home.”

Thankfully, Bennett was able to thrive. Today, he is a happy, rambunctious three-year-old. He’s also incredibly smart; Jenn shares that he’s already sounding out words and knows how write his name. The pride Jenn has in Bennett and the joy she feels in knowing she was meant to be his mom is palpable as she describes the bond she shares with her son.

“Bennett is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she says. “Being a parent is so much more than genetics. If I could go back in time and be given the choice to have a baby with my own eggs or have Bennett using the donor’s eggs, I would choose Bennett every time. There’s no question.”

Connecting with her donor
Like many IPs at EDS, Jenn and her husband had the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) included in their donor agreement. The DSR provides a way for IPs to have future contact with their donor for medical updates and questions, as well as the opportunity for IPs and donors to get to know each other on a personal level, if that is of interest to both parties.

Jenn says the desire to know her donor always existed, but with the circumstances surrounding Bennett’s birth and life in general, she pursued getting herself and her donor registered with the DSR later than she planned.

“It started weighing heavily on my mind and heart about a year ago,” Jenn says. “I know it’s what is best for Bennett.”

Jenn reached out to EDS to get the process started and establish contact with her donor. “I’m so glad EDS is encouraging IPs to make the DSR part of their donor agreements and helping to facilitate connections for people who really want it,” she says. “As a parent, I think it’s the best thing you can do for your children. With the way technology is today, they are going to find out [about their conception], and this gives them the best opportunity if they want to reach out to the donor one day.”

Once the donor was registered with the DSR, Jenn sent her a letter through the site explaining who she was and asked if the donor would be open to contact. The response she received brought Jenn to tears.

“She mentioned the letter I sent her at the retrieval and that she reads it sometimes when she’s feeling down and how she thinks about our family whenever she wears the necklace,” Jenn says.

Over the past few months, Jenn and her donor have exchanged regular emails and texts as they begin to build a friendship that Jenn hopes will stand the test of time.

“Every time I hear from her, it makes my day,” Jenn says. “I hope our friendship continues to grow, and Bennett and I will get the chance to meet her in person one day. I’d love for him to meet anyone associated with how he came to be, including half-siblings. The more people that care about Bennett, the happier I am. As a mother, I think that’s what you want for your child.”

SEEDS Promotes Ethical Standards for Egg Donation

How do you know if the egg donation agency you’ve selected adheres to ethical standards and operates with your and your donor’s best interests in mind? A good barometer for this is if the agency is a member of the Society for Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy (SEEDS).

SEEDS is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to define and promote ethical behavior by all parties involved in third-party reproduction. SEEDS was founded by a group of egg donation and surrogacy agencies. Its current membership includes numerous agencies, as well as attorneys, psychologists and other industry professionals.

Egg Donor & Surrogate Solutions Executive Director Katy Encalade has been a member of SEEDS since 2018 and recently joined the Board of Directors.

“I’m excited to serve SEEDS in a leadership capacity and to be part of an organization that is shaping the future of our industry to ensure that intended parents (IPs) and donors are guided well and ethically,” Katy says. “For our IPs at Egg Donor Solutions, our affiliation with SEEDS means they take comfort in knowing that our agency is committed to ethical practices in all areas of our business – from how we recruit and vet egg donors to how we educate and care for both IPs and donors throughout the process.”

Creating ethical standards
Third-party reproduction (or donor conception) is an ever-evolving industry. SEEDS is working to create a unified voice for its members and has made great progress in establishing a set of standards that the organization recommends all agencies follow.

Some of these standards include:

  • Storing information – agencies should keep ongoing records of the names and contact information for all parties as the agency is often the only entity that possesses this information for both IPs and donors.
  • Protecting confidential information agencies should take proper security measures to protect sensitive information such as social security numbers, donors’ medical records and legal contracts.
  • Disclosure of information – agencies should disclose important information to both IPs and egg donors. For IPs, this may include any life-changing events that could cause the donor stress (job loss, move, etc.), the donor’s perceived enthusiasm and understanding of her obligations as an egg donor, and confirmation that there is no known criminal record or history of drug or physical abuse for donor.
  • Genetic evaluations for gamete donors – a genetic consultation with a licensed and board-certified genetic counselor should be provided for all donors.
  • Gauging the emotional readiness of donors – in addition to a psychological evaluation of the egg donor, agencies should ask specific questions to gauge the emotional maturity and readiness of the donor to move forward with the donation to the best of her ability. Agencies should ask about the donor’s support system; her ability to take time off from work, school or family obligations to commit to the cycle; if she’s willing to meet the IPs and any future children; and her understanding of the requirements to be an egg donor (daily injections, medical appointments, etc.).
  • Agency agreements in an egg donation arrangement, three contracts should be executed: a contract between the egg donor and agency (egg donor understanding agreement), a contract between the IPs and agency (agency agreement), and a contract between the IPs and egg donor (legal agreement).

“I support SEEDS’ initiative to develop industry standards that apply not only to current agencies but new ones as well,” Katy says. “As the industry grows and new agencies enter the market, we need to ensure we are all operating ethically so that egg donation continues to be an option for IPs to build their families.”

Educating members
In addition to establishing standards and best practices, SEEDS focuses on educating its members about various industry topics through monthly virtual meetings. SEEDS collaborates with others in the industry to provide education on the many aspects of third-party reproduction and those who are impacted by it. One example is a recent guest speaker from the organization We Are Donor Conceived.

“SEEDS is doing a great job of starting conversations and sharing the perspectives of people who are affected by the decisions we make as an industry,” Katy explains. “As things continue to evolve, SEEDS is going to be a great resource and will be a leader in discussions that impact the future of the fertility industry.”

As an agency owner and founder, Katy understands the importance of keeping things in perspective as she works with SEEDS to advocate for standards that serve the best interests of IPs, donors and the donor-conceived people who are born as a result of egg donation.

“The best of what we do is the tiny humans who are created,” Katy says. “We’re not just facilitating the process of egg donation; we’re creating happy families.”

For more information about SEEDS, please visit www.seedsethics.org. You can read SEEDS’ full list of recommended agency standards at www.seedsethics.org/standards

Happy Father’s Day to Our Intended & Recipient Dads

Our team at Egg Donor Solutions would like to wish our intended and recipient fathers a very happy Father’s Day! We are honored that you chose our agency to help you create your family. In honor of Father’s Day, we are highlighting a few of our recipient dads: Joseph Tang, Jared Charles and Alastair Power. Read below to learn more about them.

Joseph Tang and son, Aaron (23 months)

What is your ideal way to spend Father’s Day? At home playing with Aaron.

What are you most proud of as a father? Helping to bring a new life into this world and guiding and shaping Aaron for his future.

Describe your family in three words. Definitely not traditional.

How do you feel about the egg donor who helped you your family? What would you want to say to her? I am deeply grateful for your role in creating this wonderful boy named Aaron. He is beyond anything I imagined: smart, kind, handsome, strong, playful, funny and happy.

Jared Charles and daughter, Corinne (age 6)

What is your ideal way to spend Father’s Day? My ideal Father’s Day would be spent doing any activity that involves sustained relaxation.

What are you most proud of as a father? I am proud of how kind, strong and funny she has grown to become. She surprises me every day with her sharp wit and ingenuity, and with those qualities, I have no doubt that she will have much success in the future.

Describe your family in three words. Awesome, happy and weird (in the best way).

How do you feel about the egg donor who helped you create your family? What would you want to say to her? She has changed our lives for the better, and I am thankful for that every day. I would want her to know that her gift to us has brought so much joy to our lives and the gratitude I have for her is immeasurable.

Alastair Power and son, Bennett (age 3)

What is your ideal way to spend Father’s Day? A nice quiet day surrounded by family.

What are you most proud of as a father? My son – I’m proud of who he is and everything he does. I love watching him develop every day.

Describe your family in three words. Happy, loving and chaotic.

How do you feel about the egg donor who helped you create your family? What would you want to say to her? Thank you for helping us achieve our family. You really have given us the best gift. We are very grateful to you. We can never tell you how much.

Happy Father’s Day to you all & thank you for sharing your stories.