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Considering Future Contact With Your Egg Donor

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by Richard B. Vaughn, Esq., National Fertility Law Center, July 14, 2010

Choosing an egg donor is an exciting process and one that deserves a considerable amount of thought. Beyond the genetic traits, however, it is crucial to consider from the beginning whether you want an anonymous or known egg donor. This choice is one that will greatly impact the life of you and your future child(ren) and one that should be reflected in your Egg Donation Agreement.

A significant part of choosing an egg donor is deciding whether you will be using an anonymous or known donor. When making this decision, consider the following:

  • whether you want to meet with or speak to your donor,
  • whether you wish to have or reserve the possibility of future contact with your donor, and
  • whether you want your child(ren) to have the option of meeting your donor in the future.

Known donors are usually a friend or family member, but they can also be someone you will get to know through the egg donation process. In known donor situations, you often have the freedom to choose what type of contact or relationship you and your child(ren) will have with your donor. In fact, present contact between you and a known donor usually has already taken place, or will at some point in the process, and future contact between you, the donor and the resulting child(ren) is either assumed or factored into the arrangement.

In contrast, the vast majority of egg donation arrangements are anonymous. In an anonymous egg donation arrangement, typically there is no future contact between you, the donor, and your future child(ren). Most donors wish to be anonymous and don’t expect or want future contact, nor do they want to be part of your child(ren)’s future. However, intended parents sometimes choose donors who are open to some level of future contact.

If you decide you want to have future contact with your donor, the next thing to consider is what type of relationship you would like to have. It is important to select a donor who is open to the same type of relationship you are hoping for. You may only want to meet your donor or speak with her on the phone, or you may wish to establish a longer relationship leaving open the opportunity for your child(ren) to get to know the donor in the future.

Many agencies include in the donor’s profiles whether or not they are open to future contact. If you want to reserve the option of future contact with your donor, make sure to narrow your search to donors who are also open to the same type of relationship.

Your Egg Donation Agreement will need to be drafted to include both you and your donor’s intentions for how and in what capacity this relationship will be formed. It is important to remember that the Agreement can outline the parties’ intentions when it comes to future contact; but the Agreement cannot force a donor to have future contact with you and your child(ren).

Also keep in mind that if you decide to use a known donor and you are also using a surrogate, you may want to include your donor in the court process confirming your parental rights. In surrogacy cases, you need to obtain a judgment from a court confirming your status as the legal parent(s). A judgment is generally not required in an egg donation case, but if your child is going to be born through surrogacy, adding the known donor to the parental establishment case will serve as an additional safeguard to protect your parental rights.

And as always, seek the advice of legal counsel experienced in these issues as they pertain to your particular situation.