Finding the Perfect Embryo Donor: What do Intended Parents Seek?

June 29, 2023

The Top 8 Criteria Potential Donors Should Know About How Intended Parents Select Donors

Embryo donation offers Intended Parents a sense of control in their path to parenthood, and they value the opportunity to select donors that are a good fit for them and their future family.  Every Intended Parent is different, so there is no one answer to what Intended Parents seek, but common motifs influence their choices:

  1. Success confidence: Above all, Intended Parents seek embryos that offer the best chance for a successful pregnancy(ies) and a healthy child(ren).
    • Number of embryos: Not every embryo results in a pregnancy or live birth, so extra embryos are valued, and for those who want multiple children, they desire enough embryos to support both bio siblings and failure
    • Age of the egg contributor at egg retrieval
    • Embryo quality
    • A donor’s historical success rates may be a indicator of possible success, but it is also worth recognizing that the donor used the highest potential embryos, so one should expect that the next set may be a bit less successful.
    • Pre-implantation chromosomal testing
  2. Physical Characteristics: Physical attributes are significant considerations for some Intended Parents because many want their offspring to feel like they “fit” with their family. These may include factors such as hair and eye color, height, ethnicity, and other distinguishing features.  In choosing a donor, these Intended Parents consider how the child will identify with the family in the future. A physical resemblance to the recipients can help dispel potential questions or curiosity from outsiders, ensuring a sense of belonging and acceptance for the child within the family unit.
  3. Lifestyle and Interests: Similarly, Intended Parents may seek families with similar lifestyle and interests to increase the likelihood that they will connect with their future child(ren).
  4. Values: Values and cultural background similarities can enhance the emotional connection a recipient feels for the donor.
  5. Interaction Alignment: While embryo donation can be relatively closed if mutally desired (recognizing that anonymous is NOT an option), most Intended Parents appreciate the possibility of at least limited contact with the donor, for medical and informational purposes. This allows the child to access vital medical information as they grow older, fostering a sense of medical continuity and security.  Many also wish to connect for the sake of the offering the offspring an opportunity to know genetic siblings.  Given the spectrum of interaction, it’s important that the Donor and Intended Parent have aligned on their future interaction expectations, and recongnize that life and the offspring may impact the level of openness as they develop their own sense of self and interest in their genetic connections.
  6. Medical history: Embryo donors do NOT need a perfect health history. Intended Parents recognize that all families have some health issues. They just want to be comfortable with the history, and give their offspring the best chance at a healthy, happy, long life. Importantly, donors should be transparent about their extended family medical history and the health status of their offspring for the sake of the offspring born of the embryos. Donors should pre-emptively share this information to establish a fit and build Intended Parent confidence.
  7. Genetic Carrier Screening: Carrier screening has become a routine practice to mitigate the potential risk of genetic conditions that could be passed on to the child.  If this screening was completed, it’s very valuable to pass that along!
  8. EMOTIONAL CONNECTION: Intended Parents are looking for the feeling that the donor is “right” for them.

There is an Intended Parent for most Donors!!  If you are questioning whether your profile will be interesting to an Intended Parent, reach out to experts and agencies to help you explore the idea.

Becoming an embryo donor is an extraordinary act of generosity that can change the lives of Intended Parents forever. Understanding the criteria that matter most to Intended Parents can help to facilitate a swift and successful match. Transparency, openness, and communication are paramount as donors strive to provide recipients with the confidence they seek to say YES.