An Interview With Donors and Recipients Who Meet

Corby Barnes - Egg Donor Team
Corby Barnes, Donor Team Lead

By Corby Barnes, Donor Team Lead

Corby Barnes has been with Oregon Reproductive Medicine since 2008 and in her current role as Match Specialist since 2012. Corby has helped more than 1500 recipient families match with an egg donor.

It is Pride month here at Oregon Reproductive Medicine (ORM)! We thought this would be a great time to talk about Donor and Recipient contact with a focus on diverse families.

Many recipients at ORM wish to meet their egg donor. The option to meet is completely up to the individuals and there are no wrong decisions. Usually, the recipient will initiate the request to meet and then one of our Donor Team members will reach out to the donor to discuss. We ensure that our egg donors feel fully confident in their decision to meet their recipients and we are always here to answer questions about what each situation might involve.

Our goal is for the meeting to be as comfortable and stress-free as possible. We put in the effort to ensure that all parties’ concerns are addressed. For example, we will counsel egg donors and recipients ahead of time about potential scenarios and conversation topics; we make sure all legal agreements are in place; and we facilitate all first meetings, whether they occur in person or via Skype.

ORM is proud to be an all-inclusive clinic and the recipients may be singles, heterosexual couples, or LGBTQ couples. We speak to our egg donors about this from the beginning of their screening. Recipients who want to meet their egg donor can feel open to sharing their own personal story. Ultimately, this openness allows the meeting to be full of gratitude, appreciation, and the thrill of sharing this experience together.

For this post, we asked an ORM Egg Donor about her experience meeting her same-sex male recipients. We also asked a gay intended parents couple about their experience meeting their egg donor. Read their stories below!

 

A DONOR’S STORY

How many times have you donated? And of those, how many of your recipients have you met?

This is my second donation and the first time meeting the recipients.

Did you meet in person or Skype?

We met in person at ORM.

Did you go into the process hoping to have a chance to meet one of your recipients?

I actually said “no” originally to meeting the recipients. I think I feared the awkward situation it might produce more than anything else. When I thought about it more, I realized it’s an odd situation for everyone, and I decided it would actually be nice to meet them. Ironically enough, my first match turned out to be anonymous after all the back and forth in my head.

Were you nervous about meeting your egg donation recipients?

I was soooooo nervous. What if they thought I looked different in pictures? What if they didn’t care for my personality since a profile only shows so much? What if I completely embarrass myself at the meeting? These thoughts bounced back and forth in my head for days before the big day.

Were you told in advance that you would be meeting a same-sex couple?

I was told they wanted to meet. I wasn’t told until the day of that they were a same-sex couple.

Did you have any reservations about this?

Zero. If anything, I was more excited to help.

What was your experience like?

It was amazing. There was so much to talk about. The time leading up to it, for me, was so stressful. I arrived early thinking we might get to start early, but instead, I sat in the meeting rooms pacing back and forth in my head. Then they walked in, and it was just like talking to friends. I wanted to stay longer and learn more about them since they were both really intriguing people.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely.

Is there an opportunity to keep in contact beyond the donation with your recipients?

Yes, we already do! I talk to them via Instagram messenger frequently and updated them with pictures and many stories throughout my retrieval process.

What are your thoughts on this?

I love it! They are both amazing individuals so I really enjoy keeping the lines of communication open.

How would you feel if the child of the donation wished to meet you in the future?

I would love to hear from the child if the intended parents wanted the same. It would probably be pretty emotional, as was our meeting, but I’m definitely open to it. I would have said no had you asked me this months ago for varying reasons, but having this beautiful connection with the intended parents has really helped solidify my decision to help a family and see what comes beyond that.

Anything else you would like to share about the experience?

Overall, I feel like I could not have gotten luckier with my match here.

 

A GAY COUPLE’S STORY

Did you meet your donor in person or via Skype?

Both. We actually met her before the retrieval for a short Skype, and in our following visit to Portland we took her for drinks and got to know her more personally.

What were your thoughts before the meeting?

We were afraid. What if the conversation will be awkward? What if she is not as we expected, something you can’t see on her donor profile? What if she changes her mind after the Skype?

Were you nervous?

Wow, you can’t even imagine how nervous we were. We dressed up to make a good impression, just like a date!

How did being a gay couple impact the meeting?

It added to the situation in two ways. First, we were more nervous as we weren’t sure how she would react to it and whether we would have to prove ourselves to her and show her that we could be good parents. Second, it also gave us confidence that she knew we’re a gay couple and was still ready to help. We knew she was doing it out of goodwill and understood how life-changing it is for us.

Had you always intended to meet your donor?

No. At first, we thought this may not be as important… But then my partner said (and he was right, don’t tell him!) that it is important NOT for us – but for our kids… one day they will wonder who helped us, and it’s better to have more information, photos, names etc.

What was your experience like?

It was so exciting. It started weird – like it can be with people who don’t know each other, from two different places – but after the casual “regular” questions and answers, a conversation evolved and we started laughing and speaking more freely.

How did you decide what to talk about?

We made a list of questions, just in case. We made some ground rules for us (don’t ask too much so it won’t be an interview, don’t talk too much so we can hear more, remember to thank her a lot, etc. etc.), and had some random topics that were important for us to share about (family, history, values).

Do you still keep in contact with your donor? If so how?

Yes, we are still Facebook friends, and we send her photos every once in a while. It’s not as close as with our surrogate, but we try to keep it alive!

Do you hope your children have an opportunity to meet her?

No doubt. We hope they can meet one day, and maybe even be in touch with her, or any of their donor-siblings from her other donations.

Anything else you would like to share about the experience?

It was exciting and very important. Now, that we are parents, I can value this even more. To have this extra piece of information (yes, I know donor profiles have tons of information, but… it is more than that!).


Learn more about becoming an ORM Egg Donor here.

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