Gamete donors (eggs, sperm, and embryos) are often the key piece in a family’s journey to have children. Are you interested in becoming an egg, sperm, or embryo donor? Here’s how to get started:
- Do your research. There is an abundance of information online. Read this site, information published by fertility centers and agencies, and social media and blogs of women and men who have already served as gamete donors. Specifically research the risks of donation as well as the benefits (including financial compensation, if it is allowed or appropriate). Payment you receive fo being an egg donor is taxable as income. See Perez v. Commissioner, 144 T.C.4 (2015). Spend at least a few weeks reading everything you can find to educate yourself about donating your genetic material. Knowledge is power!
- Find out if you have the support of your friends and family. If you are married or in a relationship, your partner will be a crucial participant in the donation process and, like you, may have to undergo medical and psychological testing - make sure you have his or her full support. If you’re comfortable sharing the decision-making process, talk to other family members and friends as well.
- Think about the experience you seek. Are you open to having future contact with the family? Do you want to work with an agency? Do you want to work directly with a local fertility clinic? If you are planning an anonymous donation, recognize that in the era of consumer DNA testing (services like 23andMe or ancestry.com), the child who results from your donation may be able to locate you or your family members even if you did not plan to have future contact. If you are considering donating to a family member or close friend, consider going to at least one session of counseling together to discuss the psychological component of known gamete donation and to protect your relationship.
- Confirm you qualify. Egg donors are usually under 34 (with possible exceptions for known donors, like family members), physically and emotionally healthy, and with no family history of diseases that may be passed genetically. The age of embryo and sperm donors varies, but usually there is the same lack of genetic disease in their families.
- Contact a lawyer. Your lawyer is your advocate and guide through the donation process. Your agency or the family you work with should pay for your lawyer, but most lawyers will consult with you early in the process for no fee or for a deferred fee. Find an experienced egg donation attorney in our Attorney Directory.