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Learn how the egg donor matching process works, from initial registration to treatment.
The matter of matching egg donors and egg recipients is of great interest to many involved in the field of egg donation. There seems to be a wide spectrum of opinions about how much information should be available to egg recipients and how specific their requests can, or should be, met in terms of finding a close match with either physical or psychological characteristics.
There is also much confusion over the extent to which certain traits can be predicted on genetic criteria. For instance, although eye colour is governed by genes, the process is very complex, and it is not simply the case that blue-eyed parents will produce blue-eyed children.
We understand that for some people, an important part of coming to terms with egg donation is feeling that care has been taken to match you with the right egg donor – one with whom you would feel comfortable and would like if you knew her. Given that you won't meet or know her, it is even more important for us to do the best for both you and your donor.
However, over and above this, when we match you with a donor we are doing so with the future child in mind. We are not just trying to meet certain standard criteria. We aim to ensure, as much as we can, that a future child will fit comfortably into your family. We would like him or her to have characteristics in common with you, not just physically but in personality and character as he or she grows up in your family.
Apricity’s child and family-centred approach to donor egg IVF is one of the factors that sets us apart in the field of egg donation and particularly appeals to those recipients who have a similar longer-term vision. Our intention is that should your child, or you, and the donor have any contact in the future, then none of you need have any concerns about this. In this article, we explain our egg donor matching process from initially registering your interest through to the commencement of treatment.
The first step in any egg donor matching process is registering your interest. If you are considering becoming an egg recipient, speak with one of our trusted advisors at Apricity. We can discuss the process in depth with you, provide information about how using an egg donor can increase success rates, and signpost you to resources that share the experiences of egg donors and recipients so that you can decide whether the treatment would be the right fit for you as an individual or as a couple.
If, after speaking to us, you feel that using an egg donor is the right step in your family planning journey, you’ll need to complete a formal registration form. On this form, you will be asked to give details about your physical characteristics, as well as your background, interests, and hobbies. Additionally, we will ask you for a photograph of yourself on your own, and one of you together if you are a couple. We will do the same with the egg donor as we use these as an extra guide when matching. The information that we use in our egg donor matching process is based on what you and the egg donor provide. We understand that you are unique, and we will do our best to find someone who fits really well with you.
Even before you register interest, the altruistic women who are donating eggs will have already been assessed and screened for suitability. We ensure that every donor understands exactly what is involved, and the level of commitment that is expected throughout the process of donation. Because of the thoroughness of our initial assessments, it is unlikely that a donor will withdraw from the donation cycle for anything other than serious reasons.
Once we have received all of your information, we get to work on finding you the perfect egg donor. Our average waiting time for an egg donor is just 40 days, from you registering your interest to being matched to your ideal donor. Our priority is always to get egg donation right for you, your donor, and any children that you might have. Because of this, it is difficult to accurately predict exactly how long each case takes, but we aim to have your exclusive 1:1 match within a few weeks.
Firstly, we believe that 1:1 egg donation gives recipients the very best chances of growing a family. Because there is no egg sharing or splitting of the donation, all a donor's eggs go to the intended parents. While there are no guarantees in fertility, the average number of eggs we get from each donor is 16. That means a recipient (or their surrogate) often has multiple chances for pregnancy, granting a great chance of success alongside the possibility of genetically related siblings.
Secondly, there is the bespoke aspect – and this is where matching is really important. Deciding to use an egg donor can be a very difficult one. And even though egg donation is anonymous in the UK, many recipients want to feel a connection to their donor, and at Apricity, we have the unique opportunity to facilitate this. We get to know both the egg donor and intended parents as much as possible, taking into account physical characteristics as well as qualities, values and personalities when we make our match. We match people who we think would really like each other if they were to meet.
As ours is a bespoke service, the way we match and go through the process varies from recipient to recipient, and donor to donor.
For many, egg donation is a really difficult and emotional choice, especially at the beginning of the journey. Some have just been told that IVF with donor eggs is the only option left for pregnancy, and thinking about what to look for in a donor can be really overwhelming. We are here to offer information, point to resources, answer questions, and remind our clients that these things can take time. Others have had egg donation on their mind for some time, and are keen for us to start looking for a donor straight away.
On the donor side, we’re also there to provide as much information and support as possible, so that women can make an informed decision. Some of these incredibly generous women have already donated and come back informed and ready to donate again. Others have just heard that donating eggs is something that they can do, and need time to absorb the information, understand what’s involved, and decide if it’s for them.
For both sides, we build a profile that takes into account characteristics, jobs, hobbies, interests, values, humour and education. Once we have a good understanding, we go out and look for a donor that matches the criteria. Once we've been given the go-ahead from the recipient, we actively start looking for a donor. This includes advertising on various channels, working with our team of donor ambassadors and hosting events and webinars to engage with potential egg donors. We get to know our egg donors incredibly well, building comprehensive profiles to share.
In addition to matching physical attributes, we also want to provide the opportunity to get a feel of the donor as a person. We provide donors with a lengthy questionnaire to complete called the Personal Profile. After the answers are checked for identifying information, they are shared with the recipients.
Questions donors may see on the profile include: ‘What made you donate?’, ‘What is your career?’, ‘What are your likes and dislikes?’, ‘What makes you angry?’ and, ‘If you had unlimited time and money, how would you spend them?’
The Personal Profile is an incredibly meaningful tool. For recipients, it’s a window into the donor’s mind, and for the donor, an opportunity to share it. And for us, it’s supplementary information to help us get the match right.
On top of general information, medical history, and a Personal Profile, we ask donors to share a non-identifying photo of themselves as a baby or a toddler, which is then shared with the recipient, if they wish. Donors are under no obligation to do this, but many choose to.
We also have photos of the donors as adults, and use these to help us match on the physical side. However, because they are identifying, we cannot share these with recipients.
At Apricity, because of the way that we work, we can give recipients more information about their donor than anyone else in the UK. Currently, in the UK as a whole, little information is given to recipient couples about their egg donors, and we suspect that this is because most egg donation is, in fact, egg sharing carried out at busy clinics. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and reassurance to gather this information from a donor, as it is asking them to offer a significant degree of personal information upon which they may possibly be judged, assessed and either accepted or rejected by a couple. So, it is no small thing to expect a donor to provide such intimate insights. Recipients in the US have access to detailed information, but only because donors are paid significant amounts of money to donate eggs. It is felt justified, therefore, to ask for such information without stepping over the mark on the basis that if you are paying someone so much, they in turn should be prepared to offer this extra detail.
Once we have found you the perfect donor match, we will provide you with as much non-identifying information as we can, which is significantly more than other providers. The profile we give you will contain the egg donor’s physical characteristics, information about her background, whether she has children and as previously mentioned, a photograph of the donor as a child if they have provided one. A Personal Profile written by the donor herself which reveals her personal character and reasoning for donation, will also be provided to you.
Some recipients love as much donor information as possible and come back with lots of questions. Others don’t feel comfortable with too much. There is no right or wrong way, and we’ll tailor our approach according to your wishes.
If the recipient or recipient couple agree with the match, we can proceed with the next step. If, for some reason, the recipient doesn't agree, we try to understand the reasoning and set out to look for a replacement.
Once the recipient agrees, we can let the donor know that we've made a match. This can be a very emotional and wonderful moment for the egg donor, and we've had these amazing ladies shed tears of happiness as a result before. We have the unique privilege of getting to know these wonderful women, who are driven, above all, by the desire to help someone else.
If you are happy with your match and wish to proceed, our experts at Apricity will then plan your donor egg IVF or surrogacy treatment. We understand that each recipient individual or couple’s case is unique, with your bespoke treatment plan always reflecting this.
Apricity offers accessible, personalised fertility treatment that prioritises your wellbeing. Our all-inclusive packages offer transparent pricing and utilise at-home services, our cutting-edge clinic and fertility experts to give you the best chance possible of expanding your family. It’s not just our outstanding success rate that means a lot to our patients – it’s the support and reassurance we offer throughout the process and beyond. For more information or to register your interest, get in touch with us about egg donation.
Written by our group of fertility experts and doctors consultants
Written by our group of fertility experts and doctors consultants
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