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I am beginning to think about the process of using a donor
egg, as I can not conceive using my own. I already have a
great child (through my own egg), and wanted to get some
thoughts from people who have gone through this particular
scenario (one child with own egg, one child with donor). I
worry that I won't feel as connected to the 2nd b/c it's
not my own egg, that there will be discord between the two
siblings as a result, that the donor egg child will feel
less part of the family, etc. I would love to have a 2nd
and would love my 1st to have a sibling, but would like to
hear from others who have gone through this. In choosing a
donor, do you feel like certain traits were more important
than others (i.e. donor looked like you?) Curious how the
choice was made. Finally, I'm wondering if you can
recommend specific donor egg sites, and/or sites that may
provide support around this issue or forums for other egg
I'm sorry you are having trouble conceiving on your own,
but donor eggs are a great way to go if you are open to
the experience. I wouldn't worry much about feeling less
connected to the donor egg child. Honestly after carrying
the baby and delivery it won't feel very different I don't
think. I love my child just like any mother of a child
who shares their biology. I would however say it is nice
to find a donor who looks like you because it's nice when
your siblings share certain traits. My child looks very
different than his cousins and I think that can be a
bummer sometimes. My child does look like other members
of my family though and every child is a crapshoot
genetically anyway. I look absolutely nothing like my
mother . I did my IVF through Alta Bates IVF unit and
they were absolutely wonderful and they have their own egg
donors on file. Good luck in the process.
Hi there - I went through exactly what you are
contemplating. My first child was born naturally, then I
wasn't able to conceive again. We used a donor egg
(complete with sperm-spinning to increase chances of
having a girl) and do now have a daughter, and I am so in
love with this little girl I can't even tell you. She's 4
now and my son is 8, and they are 100% brother and sister -
there is no issue of her being a lesser part of the
family because she's from a donor egg. While we're
totally open with the kids about that, it takes years for
them to be able to really understand it, and in the
meantime we're just a family like any other. I did choose
a donor (a friend) who looks a lot like me, and it made it
much easier because I don't have to explain the donor egg
thing when I don't want to (we're open about it with
friends and family but it's nice when a stranger in the
park tells me my daughter looks just like me, and I can
just say ''thanks!''). Before my friend offered to donate
an egg, we were about to go forward with an agency in
South Africa that another friend had used. Here is a
support forum I used back then:
http://www.network54.com/Forum/57451/ I don't think you
would regret using a donor egg, or feel any differently
about your second child, and I will also add that being
pregnant after experiencing infertility was immensely
healing. Good luck!!
happy donor egg recipient
There's a great website with a lot of info about families
with kids conceived with donor egg or sperm:
As a therapist, I see lots of families with this kind of
configuration who are doing great. I would say honesty with
your kids from the outset and finding your own comfort with
it are the biggest keys to success.
I can't help with your question re: the issue of having one
biological child and one non-biological child via donor egg.
But I can say after using donor eggs to have both our
children that I can't imagine loving any other babies the
way I love them. We used Fertility Connections in Mill
Valley and had a great experience with them. My husband and
I chose our donor based on her looks (she looked quite a bit
like me...in fact the women at Fertility Connections said we
could be sisters) and based on the answers she gave in FC's
questionnaire. Her answers were very thoughtful and
insightful and she came across as very bright and focused
and kind. We also decided to meet with our donor to make
sure this was the person we wanted to move forward with and
that was amazing. Good luck to you I wish you all the best
in expanding your family.
Experience with DE
We also have a natural child and one born from egg
dontation. We had two different donors--successful with the
second but not with the first. We used Jackie Gorton
(jackiegortonnurseattorney.com) in San Raphael as our ''donor
broker''. Fertility centers also usually recruit donors.
The first time, we tried to match the donor as closely to me
as possible. The second time, we just looked for
intelligent, light complexion (I am fair), and evidence of
compassion. Neither child knows one was a donor baby. Our
donor child (currently 10), doesn't look like me but does
share physical traits with her father. No one has ever said
any part of her looks like me. But she has lots of my
character traits. There's a lot to be said for being the
gestational mother. Since you asked, she and I NEVER had
any bonding issues.
Regarding groups that can discuss the issues with you: check
out RESOLVE (resolve.org).
I have my first with my own egg and my second with a donor egg and I cannot
tell any difference in the way I feel about my two children. I love them both the
same (immensely), although my donor egg baby (now child) is the easiest of the
two, and gives me the least grief. I went through a long process finding a donor,
and finally after a couple initial choices did not work out due to timing, I
one that the agency seemed to be advocating, and I can't help but wonder
whether her sweet, charming personality was passed on to my child. I also
selected the donor because I felt she looked a bit like my husband and first
child, and that turned out to be a good choice because they all look alike, even if
none of them look particularly like me. I am so happy that I went ahead with a
donor egg, and I hope it works out as well for you. I believe the name of the
agency I went through was Fertility Connections in Marin County.
I am interested in recommendations for Egg Donation Agencies
as well as any specific provider recommendations. We are
just starting to learn about the process so any advice would
be helpful (cost, length of process, resources etc).
Wanna be momma
I used an egg donor and a local clinic and would be very
happy to tell you about my experience. Email the moderator
for my contact information. anon
I had egg donation IVF success. My Reproductive Endocrinologist (Dr
Susan Willman) suggested 2 agencies and I went to visit both of them
and chose one.
They were pretty similar. It is all pretty emotional and you will
choose according to your criteria anyway. So, flip books of wannabe
donors profiles... you look at them, make some choices, they are
contacted to take physical and psychiatric examinations. If they pass
both (!a few didn't! whole tales in both catagories!) you make a
contract and proceed. The Dr coordinates your two cycles and hopefully,
you get pregnant.
There are as many deals as different people so,... you will do what you
do. The Nurse Coordinators have a lot to do! I just followed directions
and it worked out.
My kids are really normal after all that! Hooray!
First of all, good for you for being open to this family building
process. We have the most incredible kids because of it. We used
Diane Michelsen in Lafayette 10 years ago and were impressed with their
operation, especially after checking out 3 other egg donor
organizations and having previously gone through the adoption process
with different organizations and law firms. We were on a fast track and
because the egg donor that we selected was available we were doing the
transfer within about 4 months of meeting with Michelsen's facilitator
We were very lucky with a lot of things: Michelsen's office was so
professional to work with, the most incredible reproductive
endocrinologist Susan Wilman of Orinda (with Reproductive Science
Center), and our donor, who is still very much a part of our life.
Can't help with costs since they would not be relevent today. Have a
great journey. very blessed with all who helped us
Its a long road to travel. We tried several agencies and finally found
Jackie Gorton. See...http://www.jackiegortonnurseattorney.com/
She found us a great donor in 1998 and we are most happy with our 11
year old son.
After several IUIs and two unsuccessful IVF treatments, we
have come to a point where we must decide whether to spend
more money on another IVF or try IVF with a donor egg since
I'm 41 (or just give up the process). I'm looking for
advice on two issues - has anyone been successful with
conceiving through IVF with their own eggs after 2 or more
IVF attempts? Also, has anyone had success with donor
eggs? My only reservation with a donor egg is that I'll
feel a sense of loss that the child is not biologically
mine. My daughter is a ''mini me'' in looks and personality
and it is so wonderful when I see her do something that
reminds me of me. I'm slightly afraid if I proceed with a
donor egg, I'll always feel a sense of loss not seeing my
personality or looks in the child and this wouldn't be fair
to the child. I know my fears are not exactly rational and
I know even if I have another biological child, it doesn't
mean they are going to be like me. I know people adopt all
the time and it doesn't change how much they love their
children. I know I would love any child that came into our
lives, but I want to be sure it is the right situation
before proceeding. If anyone has done IVF with a donor egg
and can add their thoughts I would appreciate it.
Even if both children are ''your's'' it doesn't mean both will
look like you. In fact my biological brother looks nothing
like anyone in the family. Statistically the offspring of
two people can be a massive number.. something like 7
million different combinations.
I also grew up in a household of foster/adopted children.
And one of my adoptive sisters and I look almost identical.
Whereas like I said before my biological brother and I look
The sense of loss not seeing my personality or looks in the
child - could seem to be the case, or what could happen but
believe me its not the case unless you put your energy into
believing it is. However- it's not silly or wrong to think
that might happen (especially if this is a new process).
It's always a wise idea to make sure your heart, thoughts,
and energy are in balance.
Hi there - our first child (son) was conceived naturally
and I had him at age 39, then wasn't able to get pregnant
again (tried IVF but couldn't get that far, no eggs!) so we
did IVF with a donor egg. I had the exact same fears you
are having, and maybe more grief because I always wanted a
girl and now there would be no hope of the ''mini me''.
Well, we got a daughter (one benefit of IVF is the ability
to do sperm-spinning to try for a specific sex), and I
couldn't be happier. She is gorgeous and my donor looks a
lot like me, so most people would never guess (though we've
been open with friends). And whether it's nurture or
wishful thinking, her personality isn't so different that I
ever think ''wow, she's not related to me!'' Do I ever think
about the fact that we're not genetically connected?
Sure. But I love her as much as my son, and who is ''more
mine'' really never occurs to me. Love is beautifully
complex and I can almost guarantee you won't have regrets
if you choose this path.
Oh - please don't waste anymore money w/ the 41 yo eggs
unless you just have the extra money. I have a bio. child
and then a set of twins through IVF - donor egg ROCKS ! I
absolutely adore my children - and there - is NO
difference w/ the love. It just does NOT matter. They are
your sweet babies - the bonding is incredible. We - older
Mamas- really are so incredibly fortunate to have this an
an option. My mother suffered from infertility issues
during the late 60's when she had me. They had no clue how
to help my Mother. Please please don't worry too much -
wish I could hug you - donor egg is just incredible !
I did 5 IVF rounds! 3 with my crusty old eggs and the 4th
was with donor eggs & my husband's sperm. The donor looked
like me but the kids do not look like either of us. I had
a good pregnancy & birth, froze the ''leftover'' embryos and
had round 5 a couple of years later. The boys are both
perfect and normal. (Dr Willman in Orinda and Dr Sakamoto
in Berkeley) Good experiences. Donated the remaining 18
frozen embryos to 'in house training' and stem cell
research... Weird and lovely.
I recommend it!
You've brought up a lot of issues, so I will try to
address some of them without making this post too long.
Background: 6 IUI's with two pregancies that both ended in
miscarriage at 10 weeks. My eggs were just too old, so
we went to Donor Eggs. We had 6 eggs, so decided to
spread them out over 3 IVFs. Only the third was
successful. An important point I want to make is that the
Dr. I was working with believed, and I firmly now believe,
that the most important factor of an IVF is preparing your
womb to receieve the eggs. After two failed IVF's, I
pulled out all the stops, worked with an acupunturist
in ''preparing my womb'', drank no alcohol or caffeine,
rested, ate healthy, laid on the couch for 3 straight days
after receiving the eggs, etc. Not all Dr's will be
emphatic about the womb lining, but my Dr's philosophy was
that no matter how many eggs you put in, if it is not the
right environment, they will not take. On the second
issue, the Dr.'s office worked with me on chosing a donor
who had a similar background and looks. In honesty, I
don't think about my son being a DE very often, but I do
sometimes. He is beautiful, and smart, but I do sometime
feel a pang when someone tells me he looks like me (which
is not too often as he is the spitting image of his
father). I have never regretted making the decision. I
wish the two other IFV's had worked as I wanted more
children. So good luck with your decision, but also spend
some time thinking about increasing your odds of the IVF
working, whether it is your eggs or a donors.
AT 40, I had my first child, a boy, by IVF donor egg after
two failed IVFs with my own. I don't regret it one bit.
We also have close friends who privately adopted two
beautiful girls (domestically) a few years before us. The
way they went the cost was comparable to our IVF donor
cycle, which for us was about double the IVF cycle. We
went through an agency in SF.
There were several reasons why I chose donor egg IVF over
adoption. With my first child, I wanted the whole
experience of pregnancy, child birth, breast feeding,
etc. Also, after having 2 failed IVF cycles which is
heartbreaking itself, the donor cycle just seemed like one
more step, in which someone else does the first half. I
felt more in control. I pick the donor, rather than
waiting to be ''picked'' by an adoptive mother.
The other advantage of donor cycle is that during
pregnancy, your risk of genetic issues is more similar to
that of your donor (late 20s) rather than yours (40s).
I'm a nurture vs. nature person, and believe that my son
has alot of my characteristics and personality, even
though he doesn't have any of my genes. I did pick a
donor who looks similar to me, but I do get that he looks
alot like me.
Good luck and do what's best for you and your family!
If you decide to try to have a biological child and feel you
can only try one time, I would pull out all stops and do the
1. make an appt with CCRM in Colorado - they have by far and
away the best live birth results for older women. It sounds
daunting to go that far but it's really doable. We flew
Frontier Airlines (not sure if they're still in business)
and stayed at TownePlace Suites by Marriott (was $45 per
night for a cute room with full kitchen a couple of yaears
ago). I took a medical leave for 1.5 or 2 weeks during the
transfer but husband only there for 5 days or so.
2. join www.ivfconnections.org - go to ALL BOARDS to see
overview, this was my best source of info. Under the
Colorado section is a big group for CCRM but you'll also
find the over 40 and others important
3. start seeing an acupuncturist right away, but not just
anyone, go to one specifically focused on fertility
4. if you truly want to do everything you can, go on a
fertility diet - remove all gluten (wheat stuff), dairy,
sugar of any kind, caffeine and alcohol. Take a good
prenatal and consider co-q10.
5. Do the diet and acupuncture for at least 3 months before
you do your transfer. CCRM can have a acupuncturist come
right in the room after the transfer so that's taken care of.
6. also, save all receipts - medical expenses above a
certain amount can be deducted from your taxes. Depending
on how much a difference you & your husband earn, you may
find it beneficial to file separately - our tax person said
we were the first couple he had were it made sense to file
separately because of this large medical expense we deducted
from my taxes. Also if you do that, of course consider
doing all other medical stuff you may need that same year.
I know it's frustrating to do all this stuff when some women
get pregnant eating junk food or partying but in the end I
found it a small price to pay, I never wanted to feel 'what
That's my 2 cents...
I am 39. We have a 4 year old biological daughter and have been
trying to conceive a second without success. After almost a year
of fertility-focused acupuncture and herbs to help combat my High
FSH/Low Antral Follicle Count(4)/Diminished Ovarian Reserve, my
doctor has advised us that the only realistic way to build our
family is through adoption or having a baby with a donor egg.
We are looking into both options, while also trying to grieve the
loss of a biological child we assumed would come to our family.
We've been to both adoption agencies and fertility clinics with
egg donation programs and have done our homework. We also know
several lovely adoptive families and have been lucky enough to
hear their beautiful stories and feedback on their processes, etc.
What we don't have are real stories from families who've grown
via donor eggs. This is a lonely process for me and I am
wondering if any mothers out there who are raising children
birthed with the gift of a donor egg would be willing to share
their experiences or advice in how to navigate this? I am
especially interested in hearing from families whose first child
may be a fully biological child, with the second only genetically
connected to the father (assuming a straight family). We've read
''How to Have Your Baby Through Egg Donation,'' but some advice or
words of encouragement from real live local moms would go a long way.
We are working with Pacific Fertility Center in SF & Eldon
Schriock is our doc. We've yet to pursue any fertility treatments
as IVF with my own eggs stands a very low chance (5% vs. 60% with
Again, no need for adoption advice or encouragement as we're set
there. Advice and feedback on egg donation is so, so welcome.
Thanks in advance,
I would be glad to share my (happy!) story with you about having
my children through egg donation. Its been almost 9 years now,
so some of the details have faded, but the emotion and gratitude
I feel are as clear today as ever. Email me and we can set up a
time to talk on the phone.
Our second child, now 10 y.o., was conceived via egg donation,
while our first is our biological child. I was 40 when I had my
first son,44 for #2. Dr Schriock was our doctor as well. As we
went through the decision process we spoke with a therapist
specializing in these issues, Ellie Schwartzman in Oakland, to
help us with our decision to go this route. We used Women to
Women Fertility Center in Alamo to find the donor. Shelley
Tarnoff in Piedmont was the attorney who reviewed our contract.
We chose the donor based on her compassion to help in this
situation, that she already had children and didn't want more.
She is willing to meet our son if he chooses. We met her as part
of the choice process.
We harvested 18 eggs. The first try I became pregnant and
miscarried. We then tried 6 more times before I became pregnant
again. We had two more embryos left. After our son was born we
exchanged 1 or 2 letters with the donor. We have each others
addresses in case medical information is needed. Other than that
she has left us completely alone.
Our son is a wonderful child. He is completely different than his
older brother. It makes me wonder at times, what if ... My first
son is like me and my second is exactly like my husband, his
biological father. However this is no different than a lot of
families we know with very different kids.D
Do we treat him differently? No, I don't think so. Do I sometimes
tease my husband in private that they aren't my genes? Yes. The
only people we have told about the donor is my mother and sister,
she was guardian for a while and the pediatrician. We have talked
to my son about the donor, but nobody else, not even his brother.
It is up to him to tell people if he wants.
My husband and I feel blessed that he is in our lives and lucky
to have had all the medical procedures to help us.
Lucky and Blessed
I had my baby through egg donation....I was too old by the time
that I was ready to have a baby and I am lucky enough to have a
sister who is 8 years younger than I am and I am lucky enough
to have a sister that was ok with donating. I now have a
beautiful baby and he's 100% mine. I fully feel that I am his
mother and my sister feels no claims to him.
I know that I was very fortunate with my situation but, other
than that, we had a 60% chance of success compared to many IVF
situations and everything seemed to go well. I also used PFC
and was very happy. I talk to some other mothers who used egg
donation and realize that everyone has different feelings and
that using a paid donor can bring different feelings/issues in
to the mix. Recognize them and think them through so that you
are comfortable with your choice. Every day I look at my son
and am thankful for my precious gift. I am including my email
address so that you can contact me if I can be of help. Best of
luck to you.
Both of my children are from donor eggs. (sorry, I know that's
a whole avenue of thought and emotion...one egg from you & one
not...) Anyway, I was really surprised that I couldn't have a
baby. Years of trying not to get pregnant and then years of
trying to and nothing? So, we shopped for eggs. WOW what an
experience! She was nice, had decided she wasn't going to have
kids herself, was in graduate school...a genetic match with me,
pretty much...we met twice and I send her photos through our
doctor in common. She didn't want to know anything just have
the option to see photos if she wanted to some day.
I was 42 and 45 years old. The two pregnancies are from the
same donor cycle. The first fresh and the second frozen. They
are both perfect children. Really! They are 10 & 7 years old
and big tooth cute, smart, funny, really average in most ways =
perfect, right? I mean, I think they are brilliant of course
but the main thing is that there is nothing wrong with them.
OK. so how is it for me that they are my husband's sperm and
not my egg? The donor was very similar to me physically, just
14 years younger.... She felt that her genes were good. There
is a lot of insanity in my family so, I could never say that I
had good genes with a straight face! I sort of get comfort
knowing they aren't prone to senility, pack ratty ocd etc. and
they don't look that much like him either so... people always
think we are the grandparents...and that doesn't really bother
I guess I am writing to tell you that basically, it mattered a
lot when, like you are now, we were thinking it through. I felt
sad and ashamed. But now? I just fuss about and worry and want
the best for them like everyone else's mom.
I did breast feed them 2 1/2 & 3 years. So that's a bit longer
than most but not as long as some! And, we turned out to
be ''attachment parenting'' people which I never even heard of
before and was perhaps, me compensating for them not being my
eggs but I don't know, when they are born you just get so
engrossed, I think everyone surprises themselves.
One last idea is that you are sort of adopting the eggs.
Good luck to you!
I found a website: www.donorsiblingregistry.com to have very
useful information. While the site was designed to help
parents of kids born via donor eggs and sperm connect, it has
very informative discussions on topics very similar to what you
presented here. Either the current discussions on the message
boards will help you, or you can post your question and get
loads of helpful responses. Caveat: it costs $40/year to join
the group, but I have found it to be quite helpful (I have
connected with four other moms who used the donor I used).
Since I used donor sperm, my experience won't help you out, but
the website will.
Elated with my decision to use a donor.
When I was told that the only way I could conceive a child of my
own was via egg donation, it was a little weird. When I REALIZED
that it was the ONLY way, and I began moving forward with it, the
strangeness was suddenly a thing of the past. The fact that I
had a chance to carry my own child was so thrilling that I became
enthusiastically involved. In my own case, I had three rounds
with one donor, then on the advice of the doctor, changed donors
(both anonymous), and was successful on the first try. The child
who came into my life is the most beautiful, spirited child in
the world--he is the child I was meant to have and fills me with
love every minute of the day.
He is not old enough to ask questions yet, but I'm not concerned
about my responses; there are plenty of resources out there to
help you with that.
Alternately, I have many friends who have adopted, and adopted a
second child with a biological child as the elder. They would not
have their family composed any differently.
Hopeful for you
I have straight friends who have two children conceived via egg donation who are
now teenagers They don't live locally any more but when they did, their parents
were pretty involved with RESOLVE. If you haven't made contact with them, that
might be a place to make connections.
My friends chose to use two different egg donors, one a family member and one
not. They've been a model to me -- a lesbian, co-parenting two kids with my
spouse -- of how to raise children in a new understanding of ''family.'' They have
always been open with their children about the relationships between the donors
and them and the kids. They are a wonderful family -- loving, supportive and with
all of the regular stuff of family too.
I'm the bio mom of my children and it has been a journey for my spouse to really
know in her bones that these are her children, as much as they are mine
(Something I have never doubted). And it's been completely worth all of the
challenges (and ones that are certain to come.)
Wishing you the best
We had a naturally conceived child at about the age you are now,
and then many years later had a child through egg donation. I
never thought of it as a lonely process. A close friend knew of
everything we went through. My OB was always on the sideline
rooting for me. The people at the clinic (SFCRM, now merged with
PFC) were wonderful. I guess we were too busy to feel lonely.
You didn't ask for advice, but I can't help it anyway (if it's
not too late!): choose the donor with your heart as well as your
head.We thought our first donor was perfect for us in terms of
genetics but she had some emotional issues (not enough to
disqualify her as a donor) and none of the embryos resulted in a
baby. Who knows if these two facts are related--my friend was
sure they were--but the next time we chose a donor whose reasons
for donating seemed more altruistic and I got pregnant the first
round. I couldn't be more bonded to my child (now 7). Our only
regret was that we felt too old to try for another with the
Hi - I am exactly who you are looking for, and I bet there are
lots of us out there. I had my first child naturally at age
39, and my second 4 years later via egg donation. I too went
through a grieving period when it became clear that my second
child wouldn't be genetically connected to me (she is to my
husband, as you are contemplating). But I have to say, it's
the best decision I ever made and I am extremely happy I chose
this route. There is absolutely no difference in how I feel
about both my kids, the love is the same. While I have nothing
against adoption, it was a bonus to me that both our children
could have my husband's genes, and the best part was the
healing I experienced getting to be pregnant (and then nursing)
after dealing with infertility. I am a huge advocate of using
donor eggs if it's a possibility and would be happy to talk to
We have a wonderful child though the generous help of an
anonymous egg donor. Also went to PFC and saw Schriock. It
took me years to come around to this choice, even though I was
clearly in early menopause resulting from chemotherapy, and it
was the only way to carry a pregnancy for me. There is a
wonderful online community that is very supportive of each other
through the decision making process and beyond. Some have gone
on to adopt children, particularly after this fertility
treatment failed them. You will find a number of people who had
children before turning to DE, and they are more than willing to
respond to your question, as it comes up periodically.
Pregnancy and Parenting after DE IVF:
Looking to Become a Mom Via Egg Donation:
I'd be happy to share my experiences with you if you want to
I had both my children by egg donation after two years of
infertility treatment and miscarriages. I met with the donor. I
picked a woman who looked like my mother and who came from a
similar ethnic background. Both my children resemble her
physically, and look like members of their father's family, not
necessarily my husband. They are happy, astute, beautiful
children. Very mischevious. In personality, very different from
me, and very different from eachother. Their eye and hair color
are different as well. It is great fun seeing how they unfold
as people. We so enjoy being their parents. I think egg
donation is a bit like adoption in a way--one does not
necessarily project yourself on your child, but sees him or her
as an individual. I took a year to come to terms with the idea
of using another woman's eggs but once I made the decision, it
I could have written your post three years ago. I was 42, we had
a 2.5 year old bioligical child, had miscarried twice, and had
been through a year of similar fertility treatments. We also
worked with PFC (Dr. Ryan). After considering adoption, we
decided to try egg donation with my husband's sperm. I became
pregnant with twins on the first try.
In our minds there is no difference between our eldest and the
twins, they are all 100% our kids. I only really think about how
the twins were conceived when people start talking about who
they look like (interestingly, many think our son looks much
more like my family). We have been very open with our family and
friends about how the twins were conceived and intend to tell
them as they start asking about where they came from. In fact,
as our eldest has starting asking questions, we have been
telling her that there are many ways for families to come
There is no one right answer for all families, for us egg
donation was the right way to expand our family and if I could
go back, I wouldn't do anything differently, including having
biological children. These are the kids who were meant to be
ours and we are lucky to have them.
Feel free to get my email from the moderator if you would like
to talk more offline.
Reviewed the archives, don't see anything very recent on Bay Area
donor agencies. People seem to be happy with Woman To Woman, does
anyone know anything about Ova The Rainbow, Family Fertility
Center or Family Formation (Diane Michelsen)? Answer will be much
appreciated - thank you!
Wanna Be A Mommy... BAD
Congratulations to you for making the decision to use an ovum donor to conceive
youe child. I have a 2 year old son conceived using a donor ovum and am extremely
I used Ova the Rainbow. Kendis is a warm person with a huge heart who herself has
been a surrogate mother for several families (including 2 sets of twins!). She
can seem a little unorganized, but I could put up with that. I used her agency
after a terrible experience with another agency. So I can highly recommend Ova
the Rainbow. There is another woman in Marin who has an agency, Jacqueline Norton
(if I remember correctly) - a former nurse, that you might what to checkout.
Best wishes for you on your journey!
My husband's brother recently found out that he is unable to
produce children. He and his wife really want to have a baby
and have asked my husband if he would be willing to donate his
sperm so that they can get pregnant. Since this isn't the case
of an anonymous donor (my husband and his brother are very
close) what, if anything should they tell their child (if they
do end up getting pregnant)? I'd love to hear from people who
have been through something similar (i.e. family member or
friend who donated either egg or sperm). Thanks
I am about to go through Egg Donor IVF with my sister's egg.
Although I don't know if it will be successful, we are both
fully prepared to discuss the situation with any resulting
children at the appropriate age. My sister and I have never
been extremely close, but this entire process has brought us
very much together. It is an incredible thing she is doing for
me and I will never be able to thank her enough. She says she
won't feel strange when she sees ''herself'' in my child, but only
time will tell. We look so alike anyway, I see myself in her
children already. I never asked her to do this, by the way. She
offered when she found out I couldn't have children of my own.
What gift could be greater?
11 years ago, I was an egg donor to my sister so that she could
conceive. After multiple surgeries and attempts at IVF over
many years, she was able to successfully give birth to twins
with the help of my eggs. Now, the boys are 10 years old, and
know that their aunt (me) had a part to play in their birth,
though I don't know how specific their knowledge is at this
point. My sister would often tell them that they were created
from mommy, daddy, ''and a little bit of Aunt Amy''. It has never
been a secret, and I have a special place in their lives, and
them in mine. While during the early years, the issues about the
egg donation are more present (i.e. people commenting on the
kids resemblances, etc) after years go by, we rarely even
remember that there was egg donation. I think honesty
(appropriate to development) and good relationships amongst
donor and donee and spouses is important.
I am pregnant with eggs donated by my sister. It has been a
sometimes difficult but ultimately wonderful experience. First,
I strongly recommend that your husband and his brother get
counseling-- separately and together-- from someone specializing
in fertility issues. (We were happy with therapist Kim Kluger-
Bell on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, 510/524-1475.) It's crucial
for them to realize that they're embarking on a lifelong project
together, and that nobody can predict all the feelings and
issues that may arise as they go through this process. The
important thing is for both of them to commit to doing the
emotional work and getting outside help when necessary. Second,
to answer your specific question, there are so many nuances--
when, how, etc! But in general, I believe in ''keep it simple
and keep it honest.'' Secrecy only breeds shame, and this is
something to be proud of! The message the child should be given
is that his parents wanted him soooo much that they asked the
brother to do this for them and that the donor loved his brother
sooo much that he was willing to give them this incredible gift!
A lot of love goes into creating a child this way, and that
should be a source of joy and celebration, not secrecy or
confusion. As to the question of who is the ''real'' father...
while not denying that the child may feel a special connection
to the genetic father, it is the day-to-day parenting that makes
someone a father. I would be happy to talk/write with you about
this more, if you'd like. Best of luck.
I am about to embark on an egg donation cycle after struggling
with infertility for 4 years. I would like to get some advice
from someone who has undergone egg donation and who is willing to
share their experience with me. Also, I am happy to share my
experiences thus far with others who may be experiencing
fertility issues and comtemplating egg donation.
Please consider contacting Resolve of Northern California
(http://www.resolvenc.org/) and joining a focus group for
couples considering egg donation. This was a tremendous help
for us in deciding to use an egg donor and then receiving
support throughout the process from other couples going through
it at same time.
A Happy Mom!
I'm thinking about becoming an egg donor, for a couple of
reasons. Of course the money would be helpful, but I also feel
a wee bit guilty for choosing to have just one child, when one
of my friends has been struggling with infertility for several
years and is still unable to have her first child. (I don't
mean to donate directly to her - It won't help - I just want to
contribute to the process in general.) I'd like to hear from
other women who have donated eggs. I have read the facts about
the process, but would like to hear about someone's personal
experience. How were you chosen? How time-consuming or
uncomfortable is the process? What are parents looking for in
a donor? (I'm not exactly supermodel material ;-) but I have a
beautiful little girl! I'm healthy and well-educated and don't
have any bad habits that would ''spoil'' an egg. Would I be
chosen? Or would I put myself out there emotionally and then
be rejected?) I guess I'd just like some details and opinions
before I do something like this! Thanks!
I can only answer your question as a recipient of donated eggs
as to what we looked for in a donor. We used an agency, which I
highly recommend using. The most important factors for us was
age (our donor was 28), health (and family health history),
education and the reason they choose to be a donor. We choose
someone of Northern European decent, since it was the closest
match to my heritage, but that was not nearly as important. I
personally wanted someone tall, since that was the one trait I
wanted to pass on to our child, but again that was secondary to
the other factors.
Donating your eggs can be a wonderful experience. We stay in
touch with our donor, and she has met our child. She is a
wonderful person, who without I would not be a Mom today. She
will always hold a special place in my heart for what she has
When I was in graduate school, broke and looking for ways to
make a nice chunk of money in a short amount of time, I
considered donating eggs. I thought about it long and hard, did
some research into what it really entails, and then decided
against it. Here's why:
The procedure is invasive and intense. They shoot you full of
many hormones and other things, none of which they can promise
won't lead to cancer 30 years down the line.
Those eggs have the potential to become children - MY children,
at bottom, with half my genetic patterning, my quirks, my
family history, maybe even my hair. I won't sell my own kids,
even the ones who aren't fertilized into being.
In the end, I decided that $3,000 wasn't very much money after
all, especially considering what's at stake.
Good luck in whatever you decide.
Thought about it once
I am not a donor, but am the recipient of a wonderful woman's
generosity. How did we decide on this woman as our egg donor?
We went through Woman to Woman in Alamo, 925-820-9495. We
looked through the different donors' applications paying
particular attention to their medical histories ann likelihood
of them producing lots of eggs. We read their essays. We
didn't care that the donor had a PhD or a GED. We did care that
she showed compassion and caring to this process and to her own
children. Our donor was not a super-model but was an okay
looking woman. We made sure that the woman was open to meeting
our child in the future if the child so chose. We did meet her
over coffee to get a feel of her personality, ambitions in life
and motives for donating. We were very nervous going to that
coffee hoping she would like ! us. If I remember correctly the
selection process went fairly quickly on our end, perhaps 2-3
weeks; I don't know how long she waited to be chosen.
Our 4.5 y.o. son is healthy, sweet, more than smart enough and
gorgeous (I'm a bit biased). We have kept in contact with the
donor via notes every 18 months to 2 years and exchanged
pictures of all our children. I think about her all the time
and how blessed we are that she is our donor.
Happy egg recipient
I worked in an Egg Donor Agency for 5 years. Many people are
quick to judge doing IVF because usually they do not have an
infertility problem. I will tell you my opinion from the
employee side (I do not have an infertility problem and am a mom
of a 6 month old baby). I no longer work.
The agency I worked for helps people from all over the world
(IVF/Egg donors isn't available in many countries so people come
to the USA). Intended parents select a donor based on opinions
from their doctor, then usually the same race as intended
mother, then same coloring/same build as intended mother (eyes,
hair, etc.), then others who don't even want to see photos, but
select by what the donor has to say in her application. I'll
tell you that the process will take some time and not everyone
is looking for a supermodel. Because of the world factor, all
types of egg donors are needed. The application is lengthy but
it is the information that will be for a life of a child so be
I've seen donors selected in 2 hours and some that took over a
year. Once you are selected, the process will take about 8-10
weeks. Some donors have complaints of headaches, tenderness,
cramps and some with nothing at all. You are allowed to donate 6
times and some woman will do the total 6 cycles and some will
only do it once.
Now for the bottom line... The clients that are selecting an egg
donor really, really want a baby. They have usually tried
the ''natural way'', clomid, IUI cycles, IVF on their own and now
need the help of an egg donor. Some will even need a
Gestational Carrier to help them realize their dream of becoming
a parent. Or they are a same sex couple and need an egg donor.
Over the 5 years, I was able to see so many happy people that I
will never forget the experience as long as I live and it was
all due to a woman willing to give something of herself to a
That said... good luck with your decision and congratualtions
for even being open minded enough to think about it.
Does anyone know of any donor egg agencies which will not charge
an arm and a leg! Thanx in advance for any help anyone can
Donor egg agencies cost $10K plus in Northern California. There
are donors who will charge two or three times this amount. If you
go outside the state you might find cheaper agencies, but then
you're stuck with paying for the donor's airfares, hotel
accommodation as well as that of whomever she wants to accompany her.
The best way of reducing costs is to ''share'' a donor with another
couple. That way your costs are reduced although you still have
to pay for your costs of meds, which can be in excess of $3K. Few
agencies do share cycles, but one that does is Dr. Chetkowski at
I've heard of Genesis Family Services. You can look them up on
Five years ago we used Woman to Woman Fertility Center in Alamo,
(925) 820-9495. Their website is
http://www.womantowomanfertilitycenter.com/. They were very
kind and sensitive. The director, Marlene Kaminsky, was
wonderful. I can't remember how much it cost. We picked a donor
and met with her before the contract was finalized. We did have
an attorney, Shelley Tarnoff in Piedmont, check on the contract
before we signed it. We were very lucky that we had lots of
eggs and good embryos to freeze. And we needed them. I got
pregnant with the first transfer, but then miscarried. After
that we transferred 5 times (2 embryos each) before one
implanted. From that we have a wonderful 3 year old son. We
have kept in contact with the donor maybe every 1.5 years so far.
Good luck. It is a hard process, but the results can be
We found our donor through the clinic that performed our IVF
- Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. We selected the
clinic because they had the best statistics for successful
treatments when it came to donor cycles in the Bay Area,
even though we're in the East Bay and hate commuting to
San Francisco. We were lucky enough to conceive on the
first try and now have beautiful one year old twins. Our
doctors were Dr. Givens and Dr. Schriock. I know one other
couple who went through PFC and they also conceived on
their first try.
Their donor agency is in the same building as their clinic.
We ended up going into the donor facility twice to look at
donor's photos and their applications. In the meantime they
sent us photocopies and descriptions of maybe 12 possible
donors. When we finally saw the woman we thought was a
good match for us (it took two or three months of looking),
we went in to look at her photos in color and to talk about
her with the agency. They knew her because she had
successfully donated two times before. We never met her
but we exchanged cards and I hope to send her some
photos of our babies (through the agency) when I get a
We paid $5,000 - $6,000 for the donor part of our treatment,
which I think is a fair fee. The donor got $4500 of that which
is fair, considering what she has to go through to produce
the eggs. All of their donors are compensated the same. We
selected her because of her coloring, height, and because
she seemed like a really happy person. She didn't have a
fancy job or a college degree or a high IQ (that we know of)
but she had two beautiful children and we liked what she
said on her application. I preferred using the local agency to
the bigger ones in Southern California for many reasons
and am glad we did. They did all the pre-screening and had
a history with our particular donor. They were easy to work
with and quite responsive.
Good luck with your selection process and a successful
pregnancy and birth!
Check out: http://www.infertilitydoctor.com
Using a donor from an agency is a much more expensive way to go than using
a donor from a fertility clinic. I'd suggest, based on my own experience,
that you talk to Sharon, the donor coordinator at Dr. Weckstein's clinic in
San Ramon (I don't remember their phone number, but he's in the phone
book). I liked him. I also went to Dr. Chetkowski for one visit, and found
his exam needlessly painful, his manner abrupt (when I asked him what a
particular procedure would feel like he said ''Like this!'' and performed
the (painful) procedure right then. Weckstein, by contrast, was unfailingly
gentle and thoughtful.
In any event, his coordinator can tell you what donor options are available
and what they cost. Sharing a donor is less expensive; adopting an embryo
is a whole lot less expensive. Weckstein's office is somewhat unusual in
that they offer a great deal of information about the donor, including many
photos. I felt very comfortable with our donor, and very close to this
stranger whom we'd never know. Resolve (in the phone book in San Francisco,
when I joined them eight years ago) is also a very supportive way to meet
other people dealing with the same questions. Best of luck. My twins (seven
years old) tell me how grateful they are that we the parents tried so hard
to have them. They're very touched that we wanted them so much.
We used the doctors at PFC and Woman to Woman Fertility Center
in Danville to assist us in finding our donor
(www.womantowomanfertilitycenter.com). I highly recommend
both. As I'm sure you already know, this is very expensive
process. We personally helped justify the cost by comparing it
to the cost of private adoption. One thing that helped us
through the whole process was joining a Resolve
(www.resolvenc.org) focus group that included only couples
interested in using egg donation. Two members of our group
advertised and selected a donor without the help of an agency.
It's a lot of work, but they saved a LOT of money.
Bottom line - egg donation is the best decision I ever made! We
had a wonderful experience with our donor, and today I am the
proud mom of a beautiful toddler. We are currently trying for
our second child with the leftover frozen embryos (this is a
good reason to NOT share a donor with another couple!) I hope
you have as much success as we had with egg donation.
I am an ovum donor recipient and am now 6.5 months pregnant. We found
our donor through Woman to Woman. It took a lot of thought and a few
hours of conseling to make the decision to use a donor egg.
We met our donor prior to signing the contract. If you get asked to
do that please don't be offended. We just wanted to see what her
demeanor was and ask her a few qwuestions that could give indications
of what our child may be like. We also wanted to get assurances from
her that we could always contact each other for medical reasons, not
for her to have an ongoing relationship with the child. (Our adopted
nephew died of athlete's heart when he was 17 and, because it was a
closed adoption, there was no way of warning his birth parents or
siblings.) Lastly, we wanted her to look us in the eye and say it
would be okay for our child to meet her if he chose whe he got older.
She couldn't have been more understanding and nicer.
We will be blessed with our second son soon and we will always be
grateful to this wonderful woman who gave us this chance.
To the woman thinking about being an ovum/donor surrogate:
I worked at an egg donation/surrogacy agency for a while and have done
quite a bit of research on the topic, I'm a graduate student in
anthropology. What I have to say about participating in either type of
program is pretty lengthy so if you want to reply to me directly feel free.
I will say though, that in my experience most women who are selected to be
surrogates are usually pleased with their experience, but it is quite a bit
more of an investment of time and emotion than being an egg donor. And the
egg donors who usually make it though selection by the agency and who are
then selected by a couple are usually younger then you. You don't mention
if you have children, which definitely matters if you want to be a
surrogate, and if you go the egg donation route usually they want you to
have been pregnant at least once before. Take care.
I would also like to add that both of my two children were conceived via
IVF using donor eggs . We used the Reproductive Science Center for both
pregnancies and both times had a very positive experience. I highly
recommend Dr. Louis Weckstein at this clinic. He is extremely experienced
and a warm and very friendly human being. And we have two beautiful and
healthy children as a result of this process and we are very grateful to
the women who were our donors and the staff at the Reproductive Science
Center. I also recommend contacting Resolve
for more information about
clinics that are using egg donors and surrogate birth mothers.
this page was last updated: Jul 24, 2012
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