Thanks to modern assistive reproductive technologies, couples struggling with traditional methods of becoming pregnant are finding they have more accessible options like donor egg and surrogacy. Through the unbelievable gift of surrogates and egg donors, these couples can experience the joys of parenthood.
If you’re considering giving this incredible gift of parenthood, you’re probably wondering whether surrogacy or egg donation is right for you. Though both are incredibly selfless, it’s important to know surrogacy and egg donation are very different.
Becoming an Egg Donor
Making the decision to become an egg donor comes with many emotions and is rooted in your incredibly caring heart. However, truly knowing if it’s the right decision for you is imperative. Understanding the process and the potential emotions you may experience will help you decide.
As a candidate for egg donation, you’ll undergo screening as a potential donor. Eggs retrieved from donors will be part of IVF, and because that is an expensive process, the validity of donor eggs must adhere to specific requirements, including:
- You must be between 21 and 32
- No drug or tobacco use
- Free of sexually transmitted diseases
- Maintain good physical and mental health
- Willing to have expanded genetic screening
- Willing to meet with a psychologist and take a mental health test
- Be available for approximately 3 to 4 months to complete the process
- Be willing to self-administer injectable medications
All candidates who have passed the screening phase are considered potential donors and are ready to begin egg collection. This is when donors begin the cycle of stimulation medication. It’s during this phase that you will regularly report to the clinic to monitor your body’s response to medication.
When the time is right, the egg retrieval process may begin. This consists of being put under light anesthesia, and a thin needle will be used to retrieve the eggs from each follicle. Most patients recover quickly and return to work the next day. There are some common side effects that may come after the retrieval process, which include light bleeding, abdominal pain or cramping, and constipation.
Your Legal Rights as a Donor
An important part of the screening process is reviewing and signing a contract that protects all parties involved. The contract ensures you aren’t held responsible for a child born from your eggs, and protects the parents from an egg donor claiming any rights to their child. It’s an important step in the process, and equally important that a donor doesn’t sign a contract before understanding exactly what rights they do and don’t have.
How Does Surrogacy Differ?
As a surrogate, you must also meet specific requirements when it comes to your personal circumstances, but there are some important differences to consider.
- You must have delivered at least one healthy child
- No prior pregnancy complications
- Your partner must also comply with all requirements
- You must be completely committed to the intended parents
- Must have a stable financial base
Women who are considering surrogacy have a lengthier, and arguably more demanding experience. Not only will they be on the receiving end of the IVF process, but they will also carry the baby to term which means some added emotions can develop. Though the DNA of the baby is not from the surrogate, a study indicates that the womb does play a part in how a child develops.
Your Legal Rights as a Surrogate
While every state has nuances pertaining to surrogacy, one common thread is both the surrogate and her partner (if applicable) and intended parents must all sign a contract. Surrogates must also be willing to sign off on any legal claims to a child as well as visitation rights. It’s best to review your state’s laws prior to entering the process.
It’s a Matter of Choice
No matter the path you choose, it takes a remarkable individual to decide to become a donor of any kind. Your emotions will play a role as an egg donor or a surrogate, but the important fact to keep in mind is you must do what feels right for you. If you want a minimal physical connection to a child, then perhaps becoming an egg donor is the best route for you. Either way, the gift of life is the most selfless gift you can give hopeful parents.