egg donation los angeles
Monday, August 29th, 2011
Second in a series of posts for intended parents from HRC’s Dr. David Tourgeman…
Perhaps the most difficult and emotional decision a person or couple is confronted with when trying to have a child is choosing whether or not to use an egg donor. For some, the decision may be relatively straightforward. Perhaps the adoption process has reached a dead end, or the woman has premature ovarian failure or another medical condition in which the ovaries will not produce eggs.
In most cases, the intended parents have already attempted many rounds artificial insemination and/or in vitro fertilization without success by the time they come to consider egg donation, and have been burdened with the bad news of multiple negative pregnancy tests. For most, the decision to move forward with a donor comes at the end of a long road of struggle and disappointment.
One biggest issue intended parents considering egg donation must confront is deciding whether they feel their genetics must play a part in conceiving a child, or if having a baby (despite the maternal genetic origin) is most important.
Intended parents are faced with two options: working with an anonymous donor, or choosing a donor who is willing to be “known” (non-anonymous). If the couple decides to move forward with known donor, typically a sibling or relative is chosen (although many egg donor agencies also have a list of donors who are willing to engage in an open cycle) and ideally that person is less than 35 years old and has children of her own. This provides a “bridge” in which (in the instance of choosing a family member) there can still be some genetic link to the intended mother. There are many patients who choose not to have a known donor because they either do not feel comfortable asking, do not have an age-appropriate relative, or simply do not want anyone to know that they’re using an egg donor.
On the other hand, choosing an anonymous egg donor can be a challenge. There are certainly many factors that the intended parents may want to address in their search. Physical attributes and similarities are often paramount, however, intelligence, ethnic origin, and family heath are also significant. From a medical standpoint, there are also many desired qualities to keep in mind that will help optimize the likelihood of success. I typically recommend that the donor be less than 30 years old, and that she have had testing for ovarian reserve that returned normal. She should have had all appropriate genetic screening tests and have been evaluated by a psychologist to make sure she is in a healthy state of mind and that her motives are genuine. Whenever possible I recommend choosing an anonymous donor who is “proven” (meaning she has done at least one successful donor cycle in the past – resulting in at least 15 eggs and a successful pregnancy).
Above all, the most important thing for the intended parents to consider is whether they will be fulfilled as parents if they decide to use a donor egg. As parents, you’ll have the opportunity to nurture and nourish your child in the way you have envisioned. The pregnancy and birth is the beginning of an amazing experience and, hopefully, the beginning of the intended parents understanding that, despite the egg donor’s genetic contribution, this baby is completely their own.
- David E. Tourgeman, MD, FACOG
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Part 3 in Brenda Fahn-Hardt’s informal discussion for Intended Parents.
Meeting the Donor? There is No Right Choice.
At some point during the egg donor process most parents consider whether or not they should meet their egg donor. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Each case is different and depends on the intentions and expectations of the intended parents. If their expectations seem reasonable and realistic, then meeting the egg donor can turn into a very positive experience. Most of the time intended parents want to be able to meet their donor so that they have the option of telling their child at a later date. Statistically, only about 20% of intended parents choose to meet their donor. If you intend to tell your child that they were conceived with an egg donor and you want to tell your child something about the donor, then meeting would likely be a positive experience. Many times parents to not have an interest in, or feel comfortable, meeting their donor, which of course should always be respected. Each situation is different.
- Brenda Fahn-Hardt M.S., MFT
Beverly Hills Egg Donation Staff Psychotherapist
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
Part two in our series of discussions on psychological issues for Intended Parents.
Choosing a Donor
Once intended parents have made the decision to use an egg donor, anxiety can arise surrounding the donor choice. Every intended parent usually approaches the issue with ‘preconceived’ criteria for choosing their ‘perfect’ candidate – beyond the standard medical screening that is done, scholastics, personality, and appearance are usually at the top of their list. I empathize with individuals and couples as to how difficult it is to make such a big decision. It is important to remember that there is no rush in choosing a donor. It takes time to find the right match. Whatever the intended parents are looking for, I encourage them to get as much information as possible from their egg donation agency regarding their donor, while also trying not to ‘over-control’ the situation. Once one feels they have made the best decision, according to the information they have, then the challenge can be trying letting go. There are no guarantees in life, all of us who are parents usually begrudgingly learn that a lot more of life is out of our control than we would like. Parenting is about being able to handle all the imperfections that come with a child, whether you have your child through an egg donor or not. When couples do have difficulty containing their anxiety during this process therapy can help.
As the ‘screening’ psychotherapist, my process is analytical and involves assessing the donor for her maturity and ability to follow through with the process, as well as the presence of any major psycho-pathology (i.e. personality or mood disorders). An interview and psychological test are used to check for either of the two preceding elements.
- Brenda Fahn-Hardt M.S., MFT
Beverly Hills Egg Donation Staff Psychotherapist
Monday, February 15th, 2010
Check out our freshly updated “Who We Are” page to meet the newest staff members to join the BHED team. Liz Bader-Natal, Bay Area Coordinator, provides support to Donors and Intended Parents throughout the duration of the cycle. Sally Blackford manages our online server and has lent a tremendous hand in keeping day-to-day administrative work running smoothly. And Diana Ashley, a previous donor herself, works in Donor Outreach to keep each of our donor’s profiles accurate and up-to-date.
With the increases that we’ve seen in every area – from donor applicants to interview, to cycles to manage and medical records to request (and fax, and file, and update…), these ladies have jumped in with both feet and done a stellar job helping our program grow with grace.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
For our applicants who live outside of the Los Angeles area, we conduct our interviews via webcam, which gives us the exceptional ability to say that we’ve actually met each one of the egg donors on our database! I’ve worked with other agencies in the past and I can’t say that the same is true for those organizations. This gives us the confirmation that the person on the other end really is who they say they are, and gives us a much better feel for the donor’s personality and character. I really enjoy being able to communicate with a donor in this way. Some donors who have children of their own will even bring their child(ren) to the camera for a few minutes. I also love seeing a donor who takes copious notes during our interview – when I can see her writing, it’s confirmation to me that she wants to make sure she knows what is required of her.
More and more of our applicants now have their own cameras that they are able to use for the interview, and for donors who don’t we will send one out via UPS. From a logistics standpoint, this system actually runs surprisingly smoothly. The only challenge I’ve experienced when working with webcams is that some donors who have never used a webcam before might have some trouble setting it up, but that is usually sorted out quickly and we can start the interview. When the interview is over the donor just sends the camera back to us to be used by another candidate. The process of sending the camera back is very simple as well – we provide them with a return label so there is no expense to the donor. It makes it easy for everyone!
-Susan Rai, Beverly Hills Egg Donation
Friday, September 25th, 2009
You know when you get something new…you go home and hang it up/lay it out/try it on/unpack it/reorganize it, and it just makes you all happy and fulfilled? Like, when you go to Target and come home with $300 worth of things you don’t need (but might need one day way, way in the future) and you put them all in your cabinets and bathroom and kitchen like back stock in a stockroom, and there’s this strange overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction that only you can appreciate? Because, it’s not like you bought new shoes – it’s toilet paper and Ziploc sandwich bags.
The start of a cycle is like that for me, but taken to a new level…because my stockroom has things that no one else I know will ever have. I have drugs in vials that need to be mixed. I have syringes and needles. I have a biohazard receptacle! And when I get home from work and the Fed Ex box with the cooler of medication is sitting on my stoop, my blood pressure rises and my heart races…project! I always arrange my supplies in my kitchen before a cycle, including wrapping the ugly burgundy biohazard container up in paper (I mean, who has a burgundy color scheme?).
I think it’s safe for me to admit that I am afflicted with situational OCD, and it manifests at times like this. I embrace it. And, OCD or not, I think you’ll find that setting up your supplies as if they were ingredients for a chocolate chip cookie recipe makes the fact that you are about to inject a needle into your stomach just a little easier to digest.
-Kate, BHED Donor
Friday, April 3rd, 2009
Once you’ve reached the end of the application process and had a successful interview with a member of our donor team, our staff will add your profile to our database of donors for recipients to peruse.
Congratulations, you’re now an active donor with BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation)!
There can be quite a lot to do leading up to this point – gathering pictures and transcripts, doing your own research on the donation process, putting together information on your family’s medical history, and scheduling your interview – that it may seem like the flurry of activity tapers off slightly after you’ve finally been made active. One of the questions we get a lot is, “how long will it take for me to be matched?” To tell the truth, there’s no way of knowing. Some egg donors are matched within a matter of days, and for others it takes longer – sometimes even weeks or months. It’s really all a matter of the right recipient coming across your profile at the right time, and for some donors, that doesn’t happen right away.
The most important thing to do during this time is to make sure to keep your profile accurate and up-to-date. Review your profile occasionally and contact us with any changes in contact info, updates/successes in school or work, or new information regarding your medical history. Also, we always love to have new pictures to add to your profile so feel free to keep them coming! We store the extras on our server in case a potential recipient requests to see them.
Another big thing to keep in mind while you’re waiting to be matched is to make sure you’re easy to get in touch with. Sometimes a recipient has a couple of donors they’re interested in, and wants to make a decision quickly, so make sure to respond to any phone calls or emails that you get from us as promptly as possible. You’ll also receive a phone call from our team every three months to confirm your availability.
Finally, a great thing to do after you’ve been activated is come to one of our photo shoots! We hold these shoots every 4-6 weeks in West LA. It’s a wonderful way to get beautiful, professional photos to enhance your profile and it’s totally free to you. It takes just 15 minutes of your time, and you get a high-resolution jpeg of your favorite shot to keep.
Of course, you can feel free to contact us at any time with questions or to see if there’s been interest in your profile.
We look forward to seeing you matched!
Saturday, March 14th, 2009
So many BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) donors are accomplished, well-educated young women, that we thought it might be valuable to give you some highlights now and again. Our list of dedicated egg donors includes women who speak three and four languages, college graduates with 4.0 GPAs, and women working on their Master’s Degrees and even PhDs.
Among our linguists, we can count Alexa #3127 who speaks Czech, Ticiana #2995 who is a native Portuguese speaker, Thomasina #4798 who learned Italian in college and is now fluent, and Natalia #870 who speaks both Russian and Chuvash. Asha #4746 speaks four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Our college graduates boast degrees in a wide variety of disciplines. For example, Lynn #4857 has a degree in Architecture, while Ashley #4593 graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Theology. Jeni #3093 completed her B.S. in Economics at UCLA, Lisa #3986 has a degree in Zoology, and Lynnea #4083 is pursuing her degree in Biopsychology.
We have quite a few donors who have completed or are enrolled in Master’s programs, including Terri #4759, Jennifer #4389, Hannon #4506, and Michelle #4577.
In blogs to come, we’ll highlight state-and-nationally recognized athletes, dedicated volunteers (including several donors who have started their own non-profits), state beauty pageant winners, professional models and much more! We continue to be impressed with the outstanding and altruistic young women that are part of our donor program.
-Alexa Abrams, BHED Director of Donor Recruitment
Monday, February 16th, 2009
[Editor's Note]: This is the first in a series of postings from our egg donor, Lisa. She’s a first-time donor nearing the end of her cycle and has offered to give us daily updates following her journey through her retrieval, which is anticipated to be early next week.
Hi everyone! My name is Lisa and I am an egg donor for BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation), currently going through my first cycle. I got involved with BHED in August 2008 when I put in an application to be an egg donor and was quickly (and happily) accepted into the program. My interest in becoming an egg donor was brought on by my amazing parents.
After seeing a segment on egg donation on the local news, they told me it was something I should look into. I started doing my research online right away and found Beverly Hills Egg Donation. It was the second website I visited, and their site felt very welcoming. I proceeded to fill out an egg donor application, which was one of the longest and most detailed I’ve ever filled out! Then again, it’s a very important job. Soon after filling out the application, I received an email saying that I was now ready for the next step of meeting with a BHED representative, and that I was being considered to be an active egg donor! I just remember being so excited and jumping up and down with my parents after getting the email!
Next, a meeting was set up with BHED’s Managing Partner, Lisa Greer. I took my parents with me for suppport. Because it was a weekend, we met for coffee in LA at the Starbucks on Wilshire Blvd. Lisa welcomed me and my parents right away and went over all the details that go into becoming a donor. It was a lot of information, but she made it easy to understand and sent us home with some documents to look over and sign. After that meeting I was officially a registed BHED donor!
I received an email from Lisa congratulating me on being accepted as a donor. The email was so welcoming, I just knew I was in the right place.
Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
When you finally make your decision and choose an egg donor it is totally natural to want to get started right away. Many recipients are anxious to find out what they can do to move the cycle along. Unfortunately, when a match is made, often it is the donor who has the most to do. All donors will meet with your doctor, have bloodwork done, and new donors will have their psychological and genetic counselor interviews.
For intended parents–there is mostly just waiting. One thing that intended parents can do right away is contact their attorney and let them know that they are in cycle with a new egg donor, or research and retain an attorney if they don’t have one. Choosing an attorney to draft your agreement is very important. You want to work with someone who specializes in reproductive law. Your attorney will be drafting the contract between you and your donor and for your protection you want that to be iron clad. It is well worth your money to work with an attorney who does all of their work in reproductive law.
Speaking of cost–how much will it cost? The average price for a contract is between $750.00 and $1000.00. Some attorneys will offer re-drafting options as well. Once retained, your attorney will write the contact and review it with you. this can all be done as they cycle is beginning. After your donor’s first visit to the doctor the contract (with your approval) will be sent to your donor’s attorney who will review it with your donor, clarify any questions that she has, and request any changes on her behalf.
Once everyone is happy, the contract is signed and you’re ready to go. Ideally all of the timing will work out perfectly and the contract will be done shortly before your donor starts medication. BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) has a great list of reproductive lawyers available upon request.
-Ellie Klein, BHED Cycle Coordiator