How to select an egg donor: tips from people who've been there
Choosing an egg donor is a personal and emotional decision, dependent on the circumstances that have brought you to this point.
Common advice is to use the information available to choose a donor whom you feel you could be friends with, someone you would like as a person. Consider what’s most important to you and your partner, if you have one.
You get to choose the appearance and characteristics of the donor based on the information we make available in our database. You might at first feel overwhelmed by the idea of making this decision, so taking time to think before you start will help you decide on a suitable match.
It might help to make a list of what you are looking for, and to narrow down the search based on what is essential and what is simply a nice-to-have; as you go through the process you might find your priorities changing from when you started. This is all part of the decision-making process and will help to ensure you find the best match for you.
To get you started, here are some areas to consider, along with comments from some of our families who have already been through the process.
This is a starting point for many people, who want to find a donor with a similar appearance to them. Height and weight, eye and hair colour, and skin tone may be the criteria that starts your search. Our online database allows you to filter your search on physical characteristics to narrow down the possible candidates.
Much as with any baby, while you might hope based on information about the donor that a child will inherit certain physical characteristics, there’s no guarantee that those characteristics will be prominent.
“We were keen to find someone with similar physical characteristics, but also a donor who appeared to have a similar personality, outlook on life, and range of interests to us. Fortunately, there was a good selection at the clinic and we were lucky enough to find a donor who not only managed to match well but also genuinely appeared to want to help couples in our situation.”
You may still be wondering ‘will the baby look like me?’ when using donor eggs. Women who conceive naturally wonder this too! In the end, there is no way to determine what exactly your child will look like, but you do have some control over how the baby develops after conception.
Your uterine environment influences your baby’s development in many ways. Taking care of yourself before you get pregnant, and continuing to do so as your baby develops inside you, allows you to pass on health benefits to your child, and sets them up for the best possible future.
A similar personality, outlook on life, education levels, interests and hobbies are other routes to finding the right donor.
While some people look for the similarities, others consciously choose a donor that is not "like themselves" but on the contrary is a different person, with their own hobbies or a different nationality, preferring that the egg donor be clearly distinct from themselves.
Those patients may choose a donor from a different country (one they have some links to or are attracted to), for example, and will make that choice part of the narrative for the child to form their own identity.
Each entry in our database has a statement about the type of person the donor is, based on what the donor has shared with us and what our impression is of them as we get to know them through the donor process.
“The more like me [the donor] was, I figured that my future baby would also be more like me. The more we looked it helped me to realise what we really wanted.
Finding the right donor can only be described as a ‘feeling’ - you just get a good feel for someone. When we found our donor she stood out to us, not only did she have the same build as me but everything else just fitted with what I was hoping to find in a donor.”
At London Egg Bank our donors have all been screened in line with strict HFEA compliance requirements and have been through medical, psychological and genetic assessments.
“I wanted the child to look like me but if it didn't, I didn't mind. All I wanted was a happy, healthy child. I looked for donors matching my hair colour and eyes but what was more important was their interests! It told me more about the kind of people they were. Being half-adopted myself, I know it's about nurture rather than nature and this also helped process the idea of donor eggs.”
Making the choice
We give you access to the full database and we support you through the choosing process. We can help and advise you as much or as little as you need, but ultimately the decision is yours to make.
Whereas some clinics will run a matching service and present you with selected donors to use, we are transparent with our donor availability and all available donors are displayed in our online database. At London Egg Bank we also believe you will be more comfortable with your donor if you have made the decision yourself.
Once you have a shortlist of candidates that interest you, we may be able to share the donor’s personal statement, if there is one, to help finalise your decision.
“We started narrowing down based on physical and other characteristics such as education, then had a shortlist of 4 or 5. We received some info from the Egg Bank on those including a couple of personal letters. It was this that made our choice easy as I resonated so much with our donor and what she shared in her heartfelt, personal letter. I felt we were similar in many ways and she sounded so lovely. It was very clear she was the right choice. Her letter made me cry - in a good way.”
Do your research, ask questions, and follow your intuition, and with the choice made you’ll be in a good position to take the next step on the journey to creating or completing your family.
As the UK largest egg bank, we provide a large selection of frozen donor eggs, searchable 24/7 on our online database and available immediately