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Anonymous vs. Open Egg Donation (and the In-Between)

Mother using donor eggs to conceive bonds with her son.

When an intended parent is choosing an egg donor, they can choose to keep the donation anonymous, semi-anonymous, open, or known. Most intended parents choose an anonymous egg donation so that no direct contact is made with the egg donor. There are a small number of intended parent(s) that want an open (or non-anonymous) egg donation because they want to have the option of staying in touch with the egg donor throughout the offspring’s life.

Anonymous, Semi-Anonymous, Open & Known Egg Donations

Throughout the past decade, many egg donation agencies have broadened their programs beyond the traditional “anonymous” vs “known” approach. 

This is good news for intended parents because this means that there is flexibility in egg donation programs, allowing the intended parent to have more control over the process.

As explained by SEEDS Ethics*, 

“In the Egg Donation industry there are typically two options to define the relationship status between an Egg donor and an Intended parent. It is defined in black and white terms. The Intended Parents are contracting with an “anonymous” Egg Donor or a “known” Egg Donor. This type of categorization may have been common in the past, but today Agencies are facilitating relationships that range in communication and expectation.” [1]

*Donor Nexus is a member of SEEDS, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ethical behavior in third party reproduction.

Below is a breakdown of the vocabulary, as defined by SEEDS.

Anonymous Egg Donation:

  • Non-Identifying information for both parties in the contract
    • (I.E. - “Intended Parent” and “Egg Donor ID XXXX”)
  • The intended parent will typically only view the donor’s profile through an online egg donor database

This is the most common kind of donation and we work with many anonymous egg and embryo donors at Donor Nexus! 

Semi-Anonymous (Restricted)

  • Non-identifying information for both parties, but communication may be facilitated by the agency or an attorney. Still, the intended parent and egg donor do not communicate directly with one another.

Semi-Anonymous (Limited/Open)

  • The intended parent(s) and egg donor see each other face-to-face, whether it be in-person or over a video call. Typically, there is still limited information exchanged and generally limited to no communication beyond this interaction. 

Getting to know your egg donor prior to confirming the match

Donor Nexus is happy to offer in-person or Skype meetings for intended parents to get to know the egg donor prior to confirming the match, as long as the egg donor agrees to the meeting. To facilitate the meeting, we will collect a non-refundable $500, which will be put toward our cycle fees if the intended parent moves forward with our agency.

 Open or Directed Egg Donation

  • Intended parent(s) and egg donor can meet via video call or in person. Typically, in an open or directed egg donation, the donor and parents will exchange some contact information and the communication beyond that point varies depending on the parties. 
  • When choosing an open, directed or semi-open egg donation, the intended parent and egg donor negotiate on the terms, whether that be contacting the egg donor for medical reasons only, the chance for the offspring to meet the egg donor if the child chooses, or to send photos of the child as they grow. 

Known Egg Donation

  • Typically, in a known egg donation, the intended parent(s) and egg donor have an existing relationship (friend, family member, etc.) 

The In-Between: Hybrid Options 

Sometimes we have intended parents who want a hybrid between anonymous and open egg donation. If the egg donor consents to the option of contact, the intended parent has a couple different options (listed below).

Donor Sibling Registry

The Donor Sibling Registry, also known as the DSR, is one way for intended parents to stay in touch with their egg donor without breaching identity. This forum was created to allow offspring who desire contact with others who are genetically related to have a platform to communicate. If the intended parent likes the idea of having the option of contacting the egg donor in the future without having to share personal contact information, the DSR is a perfect and inexpensive way to stay connected. 

Donor Sibling Registry Membership

It is the responsibility of the intended parent to pay for the egg donor’s lifetime membership fee. Once the payment has been made to DSR, a staff member will contact both parties with instructions on setting up the log-in. Each party creates a generic username. We recommend using the donors’ agency ID number somewhere in the username, such as Donor Nexus Intended Parent 1000. The donor will also create a generic username, such as Donor Nexus Egg Donor 1000. Once both have set up their log-in, each can begin posting. Postings can consist of updates on the offspring, questions about the donor’s medical history or photos of the offspring over the years. By registering with the DSR, intended parents are offering their offspring with the opportunity to get to know their genetic relatives.

Another Possible Option to Connect Donor Conceived Child with Egg Donor

For others who don’t desire direct communication but want the option for their offspring to contact the egg donor, the intended parents can request the donor to sign an addendum to her agreement. The addendum allows the offspring to contact the clinic or agency at the age of 18 in order to get in touch with the egg donor. The clinic or agency will contact the egg donor on behalf of the offspring. If the egg donor is willing to have contact with the offspring at that time, the clinic or agency will exchange contact information. 

From there on, the egg donor and offspring decide the type of relationship they desire. One thing to keep in mind about this option is that this does not bind the egg donor to having contact with the offspring. The egg donor signs the addendum at the time of donation so over the course of 18+ years, things can change for the egg donor. She may not be willing to share her contact information with the offspring at that time. However, most egg donors will not agree to sign this addendum unless they are committed to giving the option to the child to reach out at age 18.

Find Comfort in Your Wide Selection of Options

The decision to choose between an anonymous donation or an open donation is no longer black and white. With options like The Donor Sibling Registry, intended parents have comfort knowing their child has the opportunity to get to know their donor, if they choose.

What’s Next?

Register now to receive instant and free access to our online donor database and learn more about our egg donation programs.

We hope you found this information helpful! We understand that these decisions can be overwhelming; our team is here to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process. 

About Donor Nexus

Donor Nexus is an egg donation agency in Newport Beach, California. Our mission is to make assisted reproductive technology affordable and accessible to all loving families. Since our establishment in 2012, we have helped grow over 500 families with our innovative and unique programs. We look forward to helping you achieve your dreams of parenthood!

Interested in donor embryos? Learn about anonymous vs open embryo donation.

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References:[1] https://seedsethics.org/known-vs-anonymous-egg-donation

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