Video: Choosing Your Egg Donor

One of the advantages of seeking egg donation in the U.S. through the Shady Grove Fertility’s UK Egg Donation Programme is the amount of information patients receive about their donors.

Video Transcription (Show)

Amanda Segal, International Patient Liaison: I think the advantages of coming out to America is giving you that autonomy of picking your own donor.

Michael J. Levy, M.D.: And in the US, they’re paid a lot. We pay our donors $8,000, so we have a lot more applicants.

Gail Felperin, RN: We do 105 genetic tests on these donors.

Michael J. Levy, M.D.: We only accept 1 in 40 applicants.

Olaf: In the United States, you are from the very outside, very clear legally.

Michael J. Levy, M.D.: But there is a great deal of comfort for most patients that they know it’s anonymous both ways. So from the donor’s point of view, they don’t want to be identified, and from the recipient’s point of view, likewise.

Sandra: From the Spanish clinic, we were just assigned a donor who had the same hair color, eye color, we knew nothing else about that person. It was quite enlightening from a conversation with Shady Grove that it was all about the donor.

Amanda Segal, International Patient Liaison: You get access to a donor database, you’re able to find characteristics that make you feel comfortable about selecting this person.

Catherine: I’m very musical so it was quite nice for me to find someone that had a creative side to them.

Ian: There is an enormous amount of information made available about your egg donor.

Michael J. Levy, M.D.: You know, looking at their ethnic background, physical characteristics, medical history, their strengths, weaknesses, all of the things that the donor will share with us.

Gavin: You get to see photos of the donor as a child, maybe as teenager, maybe as an adult.

Michael: It is a very emotional thing to go through and read their story and why they are giving you the opportunity to start a family.

Gail Felperin, RN: When you see they have the same passion together and the personalities click, and I’m like you guys have such a good fit and you don’t even know it. It’s so heartwarming for the nurses to feel that.

Catherine: I felt I had a lot of advice. I did feel that they did care.

Sarah: I initially approached the process of looking for a donor like I was looking for an absolute doppelganger of myself in the most ludacris, unrealistic way. And Michael Levy said to me, you can go to an external agency in New York or somewhere else and pay extra money and get someone who has an arts degree, who looks exactly like you, who has the same eye color, who has the same height, who has the same views, but they might take after their two foot, ginger grandfather who can’t spell the word “dog.” So you cannot play god and you cannot control genetics. And I found that really empowering in terms of relinquishing some control over that choice.

Ian: We had the same egg donor for both boys.

Gail Felperin, RN: We have lots of lesbian couples and gay couples as well and it’s great that we can offer this service to them.

Olaf: They make you feel very welcomed. I’m a clinician myself and I really liked the proper organization of Shady Grove.

Michael J. Levy, M.D.: In IVF programs the most important fact of dictating success rate is the embryology laboratory. We have been able to put an enormous amount of resources in to that.

Gail Felperin, RN: Everything is double checked and triple checked along the way so that reassurance is there.

Sarah Esdaile, UK Liaison: I would certainly advocate anyone considering donor egg treatment to do the work psychologically about what their issues are.

Catherine: There are times, like when we were at the counseling, when I did feel very upset that they wouldn’t be my eggs.

Gail Felperin, RN: No one ever has to know that that is not your genetics, and I think the fact that that baby grows in their body, they feel the movement, they deliver the baby, that’s where the bonding occurs.

Catherine: I look after them every day, they want me, I am their mommy.

Sandra: I don’t think I’ve ever doubted that he’s my baby and I’m his mommy. We will be telling Alfie about this incredible gift we’ve been given.

Sarah Esdaile, UK Liaison: And people who haven’t been through this process used to say to me well you’ll never think about the donor ever again, and that hasn’t been true. I think about her every day of my life and I hope that she knows what she has done for this stranger over the other side of the world.

Catherine: We do feel that we really owe it to Shady Grove.

Sandra: Give Amanda a call, they’re amazing.

Ian: In my experience, they’re the people to do it with.

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