By: Temeka Zore, MD 

Making the decision to move forward with using donor gametes (donor eggs and/or sperm) can be a difficult process for many individuals or couples.

There are many instances where one may choose to use donor eggs and/or sperm:

  • same sex couples 
  • a medical condition that prevents a man or woman from conceiving their own child
  • an individual man or woman hoping to have a child on their own
  • advanced female age
  • a prior cancer history where radiation or chemotherapy has destroyed the eggs or sperm

 

The process of selecting and using donor sperm or eggs may sound daunting but there are numerous resources available to patients. 

First, it is important to know that the process of donating eggs/sperm and using them is a highly regulated FDA process. The first step typically involves being seen by a fertility specialist. After a full work-up, they will be able to direct you to different companies that have donor eggs and/or sperm available for purchase. Prior to undergoing any treatment with donor egg or donor sperm a patient or couple must undergo FDA required infectious disease testing such as HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, etc. Next, you will select a donor amongst the many options provided that you feel best represents what you are looking for in a donor. At the same time, an individual or couple seeking to use donor gametes will need to meet with a psychologist so they understand what suing donor gametes may entail mentally. It also allows you to explore topics such as using known or anonymous donor gametes, the pros and cons of each and how/when to disclose this information to a future child. 

The idea of what a family is or isn’t may be challenged by the process. But, being a parent does not require you to share your child’s DNA, it requires you to love that child as your own regardless of how it came to be.