As an Intended Parent, what should I consider for matching with a donor?

June 29, 2023

When considering a potential donor family, many start with the goal to increasing probability for success, followed by fit with their family, which can take many forms. We’ll review a few of those considerations here:

Embryo quality: Learn and understand the embryos available for donation, by freeze day, expansion level, and grade, as well as the fertility journey of the donor and freeze method. Read more about embryo grading here.  It’s important to note that there is no need to match DNA or blood type for a successful pregnancy.

Donor physical traits and other characteristics: “Look like me” comes up often for some families, and not at all for others.  Other Intended Parents desire a connection from proclivity standpoint – for example, intended parents desiring donors who are like themselves in mindset or favorite activities.

Donor medical history: Understanding the donor family’s medical history in detail will help to assess the likelihood of offspring developing those conditions, and to be prepared for health management. Understand any hereditary conditions, genetic disorders, or health concerns that could impact the child’s health.  Some donors have completed genetic carrier screening, which can indicate whether the two genetic contributors are carriers of autosomal recessive conditions, which dictates the probabability of offspring being affected by the conditions.  As long as the genetic contributors don’t have matching positive carrier status of these recessive conditions, they are not likely to be affected.

Emotional connection: Feeling a sense of connection or compatibility with the donor family based on their background, values, and beliefs is not essential, but it can be important for some families, particularly related to affinities and for building relationships with one another.

Long term communication preferences: Preferred level of engagement, from Donor ID Disclosure at 18, to semi open, low engagement open, or high engagement is ideally aligned with the other family so that the families are starting from common ground regarding how they would like to interact with one another.  An open donation allows for future contact and potential relationship between the families, while ID Disclosure at 18 maintains more privacy.  It’s important to note that with direct-to-consumer genetic testing, there is NO ANONYMITY.  As you can read in our Engagements Considerations article, donor conceived offspring very much value to be aware their origin story from an early age and to be able to access their genetic medical history. Many desire connection with their genetic siblings.

With embryo donation Intended Parents are in a unique position to seek out the characteristics that are most important to them.   Some consider one or two ideas, while others consider all, and some simply want a healthy happy child.  The right level of consideration is what feels right to the Intended Parent.