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.
Once ORM Donors complete all the necessary testing and appointments, they are activated on the ORM database- What does this mean?! Prospective parents view ORM’s selection of available egg donors through the database and choose their egg donor based on a variety of criteria displayed in their egg donor profile. Here are some helpful tips and things to consider for egg donors waiting to be matched with an intended family.
The ORM Donor Database
Full access to ORM’s database of egg donors is only granted to established patients of ORM. Once full access is granted, prospective parents are able to view the active, available donors. We only activate an egg donor profile if the donor has committed to the process and expressed readiness to donate. This is due to the promise that we have made to our intended Parents –we ask that they not select a donor until they themselves have also committed to cycling. There are so many moving parts in the process that timing is essential!
Creating A Thorough Donor Profile
Your donor profile is viewed by prospective parents through our donor database which is why it’s important to add to your profile thoroughly and with careful consideration. All the hard work you have put into gathering your family’s information and all those photos you scanned are what is used to create your donor profile that is ultimately activated to the ORM donor Database.
The information the intended parents sees is an anonymized version of all that carefully gathered and thoughtfully expressed information you provided us through the screening. The patients are so appreciative of this information that none of it is taken for granted. They read over the profiles at length, they assess your family history along with their own, they look for connections and for this reason, we do emphasize the value of honesty and thoroughness. The donors that get selected the quickest are typically those that have put thought and time into their answers. It definitely shows!
What Are Intended Parents Looking For in a Donor?
We represent all family types from all over the world and for this reason, we also try to assure that our database represents this diversity as well. All of our intended parents are looking for something different in their donor. Some patients are looking for similar characteristics as themselves; some are seeking certain ethnicities, other are just looking for the egg donor that “feels right.”
Alternatively, we have experienced patients who initially were looking for an egg donor with specific characteristics, but ultimately selected their donor based on her detailed essay question answers that resonated with them instead of her photos, height, or eye color.
Just as this is a very important part of the process for intended parents, we realize this has also been an important choice for egg donors. We want to make sure that our egg donors are matched with intended parents and get to experience the process. Our Donor Team is here to assist in making sure your profile represents how awesome you are and that is conveyed to those looking to choose a donor just like you!
Compatibility During the Egg Donor Selection Process
There are other aspects of the selection process that are determined by our screening process. As part of the screening, we do genetic assessments, fertility testing, and carrier status screening.
Once you have completed the family history portion of the profile, you will have a phone consult with an ORM genetic counselor. During this consult, they will discuss the conditions you indicated and ask clarifying questions if needed. This part of the process is very important as it will eventually be used as the foundation of the donor child’s health history. In addition, this information along with the other genetic material contributors to history will be taken into consideration when being matched. There are some instances where there may not be match recommendations based on similar diseases or disorders in the egg donor’s family and the sperm provider’s family. With this information, the genetic team will put together a Genetic Information and Family Tree report, also known as a GIFT. Not only is your GIFT provided to the IPs for their records but you will also get a copy to keep and share with your own family.
Another important compatibility aspect in the egg donor selection process is the Genetic Carrier status testing. We perform a test during the screening called the Counsyl Family Prep Screen. Carrier screening is genetic (DNA) testing that investigates whether an egg donor “carries” gene changes (mutations) that may cause a disease in their genetic offspring. We typically have two copies of every gene, one from the egg provider and one from the sperm provider. Carriers of a genetic disorder have one gene copy that is not working correctly, but because the other copy is working fine, carriers usually have no signs of the disorder. Currently, our carrier screening tests for about 170 conditions. If an egg donor and the sperm provider are carriers of mutations in the same gene, there is a 25% chance for the offspring to have that disorder due to recessive inheritance. For this reason, we recommend that recipients select a donor that is not a carrier of the same gene mutation.
Our team works diligently to ensure that ORM Donors are matched promptly with intended parents that are a good fit. Our team matches egg donors most effectively when working with ORM Donors that provide accurate and thorough information for a complete and well thought-out profile.