I’ve performed a variety of searches throughout my life for various things. When I served a Mormon mission in North-Eastern Brazil at 18, I was constantly searching for those that would be willing to listen to me. When I first moved from Utah to New York, I searched long and hard for an apartment in Queens that was pithing my small Broadway budget. When I decided I wanted a lifetime partner, I spent years searching for the right man. But none of those complicated searches would compare to the search I performed to find an egg donor.
What Are The Challenges of Finding an Egg Donor?
Please do not confuse my frustration when searching for egg donors with an elitist attitude or feeling that these many generous women willing to donate weren’t enough. It was interesting because as I viewed thousands of donor profiles I found something special about almost every single one (except for the one who said she was donating just to receive money for her breast implants and would prefer not to donate to a gay couple), but hey - to each their own.
As I went through the various profiles of egg donors I could see that many of these young women really did want to help someone like me become a parent, but then there were other things stated in the profile or that were communicated through selfies in a bathroom down south somewhere that discouraged me. It was always something different. I took a moment and entertained each profile as a possibility and would only discard it when I realized there were things about that specific profile that made me unenthused about the process. This is no one’s fault but my own. I had a vision for my donor that would help me build my family. I simply couldn’t find her.
The Search to Find a Suitable Egg Donor
What’s amazing about all of those women, though, is that they are generous enough to donate, and will resonate with someone else. I suppose that throughout my life I had held myself to a certain kind of drive and life standard. I wanted to find someone who I felt I would meet in real life and be incredibly impressed by and in some ways taken with. And much like I was so, so incredibly choosey about who my husband would be, I realized I was being equally as choosey about a donor. Is this a hindrance? Maybe. But then I saw her.
I will never forget seeing Julia. I saw a photo of her (not through a donor profile or listed with some agency) and I thought to myself, “If only I could receive a donation from her. She would be the one.” She was in an outer circle of friends that connected us through social media. I ran to Kyle and said, “Kyle! Look at this woman! Read all of her captions and watch her hilarious videos. Also, look! She plays the guitar and sings.” We completely fangirled over her account we had become connected on. She was everything I could dream of in an egg donor in terms of genetics, wit, intelligence, humor, and talent. She was absolutely beautiful to us as well.
That’s when I knew that I had to reach out and see if she would be interested in considering being an egg donor to help us start a family. I was nervous to send her the letter my heart told me I had to.
Reaching Out to Women as Potential Egg Donors
Now, Elevate was already well underway as a program once I found myself with an incredible, naturally built-in circle of women Kyle and I had met throughout our lives who wanted to donate. Because of our search for a donor and our review of thousands of profiles, I truly felt the humanitarian in me come alive as we realized we could offer exciting options for people like us who were perhaps annoyingly picky. We found success quickly with the program. In our first 8 months, we had matched 100 people and they were on their way to pregnancies through our smart, generous, beautiful, healthy donors. However, Julia wasn’t part of this.
Long story short, we traded lengthy emails about one another for a good few months. I will never forget receiving the email back from her the morning after I had sent her our initial inquiry and introduction and far-out request to donate to us. I woke up, saw her name in my inbox and glanced at the first line she wrote and started to cry. I saw a glimmer of hope. She was going to consider it. I ran downstairs to Kyle who was having coffee in our mountain house and we started jumping up and down. We had found her. She was thinking about us and learning about us and the donation process. She eventually jumped in with both feet, and we still feel like the luckiest men on the planet.
Since Julia, the team at Elevate has been reaching out to incredible and accomplished women all over the world to teach them about egg donation and why it’s such a special (and sometimes bloated) experience.
What the Team at Elevate Has Learned About Egg Donors
I learned a few things while swimming in the pool of egg donors on my search, and have certainly learned a lot running a program like Elevate over the past years. Here’s a few key things that I wish I had known, that may help someone else like me:
1) Though it seems expensive, compensating a donor at the rate you did is not something you will ever regret.
2) You will need to breathe through the hiccups and the ups and downs.
3) What it means for you is not going to pass you by.
4) Never feel ashamed about the things you’re looking for in a donor. You’re you, and you want to be a father. You want a certain kind of a donor and that is okay.
5) Just because your donor appears to be certain things, that does not mean your future child will.
6) IQ tests mean nothing.
7) There are agencies that won’t give you your money back if something goes wrong (goodbye $10,000 at our first agency -- I hope you’re doing well in someone’s pocket).
8) Drink more wine on the retrieval day and while waiting for your embryology update.
9) When searching for egg donors, don’t get frustrated. Know that the right one will come along.
10) Where there is a will, there is a way.
During our process of IVF, I wish I could have re-read this list of helpful points over and over until the process was finished. But ultimately, because we chose an amazing doctor and the queen (in our eyes) of all egg donors, we feel very #blessed.
Tips for Searching for an Egg Donor
When looking for a donor, get out of your own way. Don’t obsess over how a donor did on her SAT ten years ago. It’s not the deciding factor on who she is our how smart she is. Kyle and I have sat across a table from many a scholastically-inclined donor with great scores who could hardly speak to us.
On the other hand, we have had the opportunity to spend time with donors who went to a fine school, did well, and are some of the best people we’ve met in the world, with brilliance and drive that’s hard to come by.
At the end of the day, when you find the right donor, it’s going to hit you right in the heart. You are going to sleep easy knowing you’ve found the right one. But until that special lady comes along, happy egg hunting!