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What Does “Anonymous” Egg Donation/Embryo Donation Look Like in 2021?

Due to the increasing accessibility of commercial genetic testing, such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com, Donor Nexus would like to acknowledge the uncertainty in maintaining permanent anonymity for individuals involved in an anonymous egg or embryo donation cycle. 

Although we give our best efforts in keeping the identity of each individual anonymous, there may be a connection established in the future if either party decides to independently pursue genetic testing.

It is our responsibility as an agency to counsel our egg donors and intended parents so they understand that although the cycle may be called “anonymous”, we can not guarantee permanent anonymity.

What This Means for Egg Donors, Embryo Donors, and Intended Parents

Although we will continue to maintain donor and recipient confidentiality within our anonymous egg and embryo donation programs, the child(ren) born as a result of the arrangement may independently pursue genetic testing in the future. 

This may lead to the direct discovery of the donor’s identity or indirect discovery by establishing connections with other genetic relatives of the donor. For instance, the connection might not be directly between the offspring and the egg donor, it could be a genetic relative of the donor, such as a cousin or an aunt, that the offspring would match with. Other possible scenarios include the offspring connecting with a genetic half sibling from a previous donation from the egg donor, or the offspring connecting with a full genetic sibling in the case of embryo donation. 

This is an important consideration for intended parents in making the decision of whether or not to tell their child they are donor conceived. It can be emotionally and psychologically beneficial for donor conceived people to learn about these connections because it provides them with a deeper understanding of their genetic makeup. If you are interested in reading the perspectives of donor conceived adults, the Donor Conception Network has a page dedicated to personal stories which is a great resource.

Another consideration for intended parents is that if the egg donor or embryo donors independently pursue genetic testing in the future, it may lead them to discovering the identity of offspring conceived using their contributed eggs or embryos. 

Understanding Anonymous Donations

With the rise of genetic testing technologies and accessibility through commercial products, it is not possible to guarantee permanent anonymity for individuals participating in anonymous egg or embryo donation cycles or their offspring.

At Donor Nexus, we aim to provide our donors and intended parents with an understanding of this to ensure that they are aware of all possible implications when deciding to pursue an anonymous egg donation or embryo donation cycle.

We will continue to offer anonymous egg donation and embryo donation cycles, which offer more confidentiality than an open donation and generally establishes that there will be no direct contact between the donor and the recipients. To learn more about the options available, please visit our resources listed below.

Additional Resources

 

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