egg donor agencies
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010
Donors are Only Donating for the Financial Compensation
While the donors we work with appreciate the compensation they get from participating in a cycle, in most cases money is not the primary driving force behind their decision to donate. Through conducting one-on-one interviews with all of the donors in our program, we’ve found that most of them come to us with some sort of personal connection to infertility. Often they’ve seen a family member, close friend or colleague struggle to conceive and want to help someone else in the same position. Others are parents themselves and feel compelled to help others experience the joy of starting a family. Regardless of a particular donor’s situation, money is rarely the only motivating factor in her decision. Successful donors with our program understand the gravity of their decision and are invested in the donation process.
All Potential Donors who Apply to Participate are Accepted
Not so! Most candidates who apply to our egg donor program do not make it onto our database, for a variety of reasons. For starters, only a small percentage of those who apply are even suitable candidates for donation. Even to be initially considered for our program, applicants must fall within the appropriate age range (21-29), have the flexibility to accommodate the demands of an IVF cycle, have a clean personal and family health record (free of infectious diseases and genetic conditions), and have completed or are completing some form of higher education. Even then, BHED’s donor application process is rigorous, and many potential candidates are weeded out before they are added to our site because they haven’t met one or more of our requirements. A potential donor is asked to not only fill out a lengthy application, but must meet with a BHED donor representative for a personal interview (in person or via webcam), submit a wide range of photos for her profile (including family and childhood pictures), provide transcripts and other relevant education documentation as appropriate, and respond to emails and phone calls from our office in a timely manner. If we feel that a donor does not have the time or dedication to see a cycle through, we won’t add her to our program.
A Donor Might Drop Out of a Cycle at Any Time
Donors do occasionally drop out of cycles. It’s rare, but it happens. For this reason, we have a number of checks and balances in place to ensure that all of our donors actually ARE committed to participating in a cycle at any given time. We call them regularly to check in, request updates, and confirm their availability and willingness to donate. In the rare instance that a donor does drop out after being matched, it almost always happens very early on in the process. In particular, it’s extremely unlikely that a donor won’t follow through with a cycle after she’s started medication. At that point, she’s attended several doctor’s appointments, coordinated with an attorney, and done psychological and genetic evaluation – all without any compensation. As with most egg donor agencies, our donors receive a small portion of their fee once they start medication (in our case, $750) and then get the remainder of their balance after the retrieval. It’s unusual for a donor to drop out of a cycle in the first place, but almost completely unlikely for her to call it quits “late in the game.”
Donors Lie on Their Applications
In general, the vast majority of donors are not inclined to lie on their applications because most are well-meaning candidates who are donation for very personal reasons. However, this is another reason why we find it beneficial to have a system in place to substantiate the information that donors provide. We review every applicant’s profile during her interview and, if the donor claims high academic achievements, ask that she provide documentation from her school to back up her claims. Impartial professionals also gather additional information through the psychological evaluation, genetic counseling, and medical screening which can be crosschecked for inconsistencies. It’s important to restate that it’s very unlikely for a donor to deliberately submit inaccurate information, but we hope that the steps we’ve put in place to weed out those that do give our clients added peace of mind.
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
If you’re reading this, you are most likely as bewildered as my partner and I were when we started this process…
So many moving parts, so many businesses ready to “help us create our family”.
How does one choose the perfect place? This was the biggest thing we’d ever take on. This was not buying a new car. Our fertility doctors sent us his top 4 recommendations for Egg Donor Agencies. We found 4 others on our own. We spent MANY weeks searching the sites. After awhile, it felt like online dating. Only the “date” would be the genetic mother of our child.
Fairly quickly, it became clear what we should focus on. In addition to the actual donor profiles, we realized the importance of the egg donor agency itself. Because we’d be going into business with BHED, the particulars mattered a lot. The fees , the management, the rules, it all became important. Of the 8 sites we kept searching, BHED’s language and demeanor was the fit we were looking for. Very upfront. Very reasonable. Very tidy. In terms of profiles, we found several profiles where the Donor only offered the perfect answers from top to bottom, with absolutely no familial health risks or conditions. It simply was not realistic. Because we’d be placing so much trust in someone, honesty was crucial to us, even if we never met that someone. Several times, we had specific questions about a donor. Not only did Lisa Greer answer them immediately (yep, I said immediately), she took it all a step further by providing her email, and all of her phone numbers to us. This spoke volumes to us about BHED’s level of dedication. How many Managing Partners make themselves completely available to you in this day and age? Not many.
Once we selected our Donor (not an easy process), Lisa hosted a conference call wherein we spoke to our donor. There’s an inherent awkwardness to that phone call, and Lisa could not have navigated it any more perfectly. She kept it discreet, kept it moving, and somehow kept it comfortable. Because we live close by, I wanted to not only meet Lisa, but see the office. I felt like it was a good idea to see the business in person. I’m very glad I did. It only made me feel even better about entrusting BHED with our Egg Donation.
From then on, my partner and I were graced (yep, I said graced) with Liz Bader-Natal as our Case Manager. Over the next 3 months, Liz gently and firmly guided us with such straightforward knowledge, it was a gift. Granted this was all a business transaction of sorts, but given the nature of the process, there is very much a human element. I had no idea how important she would become to us in the coming months. Amazingly, Liz answered the phone each time I called. Each time. I still don’t know how she did it. My partner and I are 2 men, far from well-versed in terms of the Fertility world. Lupron? Follistim? Menopur? Each step of the way, Liz explained everything to us with the patience of a Saint. Really. As with anything complicated, so much can go wrong. Every single thing Liz and/or Lisa said to us we believed. We were never given a reason not to. And everything they said was true. In hindsight, I realize now how amazingly they anticipated situations, as opposed to only handling them as they occured.
We still have a ways to go. 8 months to be exact. Sadly, our actual time with BHED is finished. I’m not sure it Lisa and Liz know this, but they will be posted with all upcoming milestones. Given how tremendous they were with us at every turn, it’s the least we can do.
-Seth, BHED Recipient
Monday, June 7th, 2010
Karl and Carl’s road to becoming parents was a roller coaster experience. They booked their first egg donor in late 2008 and it took a full year and a half, and three donors by the time everything was said and done, for their twin boys to make their debut. Throughout it all they remained positive, flexible and committed to making their dreams of parenthood a reality. A big CONGRATULATIONS from everybody here at BHED!
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Becoming an egg donor was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. From the moment I learned about egg donation, I was convinced that it was something that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, it was because of an awful experience that I discovered egg donation, but I’ve learned that often good things can come of tragedy. I had an abortion in May of 2009, and afterwards I started researching the possibility of being a surrogate mother to an individual or couple. It was then that I discovered egg donation and immediately committed to the idea. I didn’t even know it was a possibility until I stumbled across it in my research.
When I got pregnant, I was on birth control (Nuva Ring). The shock of the pregnancy was nothing compared to the horror of realizing that the man I was with at the time was not a very nice person. In the same week that I learned of my pregnancy, I learned that he was doing drugs when I was not around, and when I told him the news he became violent and angry. I ended the relationship and went home to live with my mother. When I made the decision to have an abortion I think I must have cried for two weeks, but I believe I made the best decision that I could have at the time. It is because of that horrible experience that I am so excited to donate to another individual or couple.
I’m now engaged to a wonderful guy, and I know that there will be a time when I welcome a pregnancy (even an unexpected one). I am so happy that I will be able to have a family with him someday, and it is important to me to be able to give that same chance to someone who is ready. Anyone going to such great lengths to start a family truly deserves to have that, and if I can help that happen I would be honored. In a small way I feel like I am giving back what I took away, even though I know that I can never undo or nullify the abortion. My primary motivation, however, is to help someone bring a child into the world. The whole process of egg donation and IVF is an extension of the miracle of creating life and I am grateful and happy to be able to lend myself to such an amazing purpose.
- BHED donor, Maggie #8228
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Below is our final topic in Brenda Fahn-Hardt’s series of discussions for Intended Parents. Thank you, Brenda, for all of your contributions over the past few weeks!
Will I Feel Bonded to My Child?
One fear that intended parents sometimes bring up is that they may not feel as connected or bonded to their child because they used an egg donor. I don’t think I have encountered any cases that substantiate this fear, but of course it is a valid concern. I tell intended parents that they may be more prepared to handle their child than parents who have biological children. Biological parents many times assume that they will understand their child, yet each child is unique and may or many not resemble their biological parents either. The key to parenting is to be attuned to who your child is. When you enter the world of parenthood, it is a daily challenge to let go of who you think your child “should” be and accept them for who they are. A daily lesson as a parent is to listen and accept your child for who he/she is. If you can do that there is no doubt that you will feel connected to your child.
- Brenda Fahn-Hardt M.S., MFT
Beverly Hills Egg Donation Staff Psychotherapist
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
The following is the first in a series of postings from Beverly Hills Egg Donation staff psychotherapist, Brenda Fahn-Hardt M.S., MFT. Brenda comes to us with years of experience working exclusively with egg donors and couples dealing with infertility issues. In this, and in posts to come, she will address some of the most common psychological and emotional issues that come up in her work with Intended Parents.
Intended parents usually come to infertility services after spending years on an emotional roller-coaster. There are several emotional and psychological issues that intended parents typically encounter during this process. The ones that I encounter most in my practice are 1) Dealing with the grief of not being able to conceive your own biological child 2) The anxiety associated with choosing a donor 3) Deciding whether to meet the donor during the process 4) Fears of not being bonded or connected to your child and 4) Deciding if, when and how to reveal to your child that an egg donor was used in their conception.
The journey to the egg donor option can be arduous for most couples. The realization that you are unable to conceive without the assistance of a third party can be internalized in numerous ways – the most common emotions are feelings of failure, inadequacy, humility and anger. When couples arrive at an infertility office, frequently they have not dealt with the trauma and pain that usually exists. I always encourage couples to experience their unresolved grief before getting too far down the road in the process. However, in many instances, because couples have been waiting years to conceive a child, they often feel compelled to jump into the next stage without processing their feelings. It is common for couples to get caught up in the frenzy of doctor’s offices, tests, shots and drugs while neglecting to take a step back and let oneself absorb and process the grief.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote the classic treatise on dealing with grief. In her seminal work, she identifies the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In a perfect world, an individual would experience these stages sequentially. Yet, each of us approaches life’s complications in our own way. The process becomes inherently more complicated when dealing with two individuals simultaneously, given the complicated dynamics of relationships in general. It takes an enormous amount of patience and understanding to respect and understand your partner’s process. Therefor I encourage couples to attend support groups and couple’s therapy to assist them through the grieving process.
The goal in the last stage of the grief process is acceptance. Acceptance can take on different outcomes for different couples (or single parents). The one constant is the reality that one is unable to conceive his/her own biological child. When one comes to this acceptance, there are different paths from which to choose – using an egg donor agency and/or surrogate, adopting a child or choosing not to have a child. Whichever path is chosen, you want to be confident about your decision and optimistic about your future.
- Brenda Fahn-Hardt M.S., MFT
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) helped make our dreams come true!! It took me many a month to find my donor; only because it did not turn to BHED first! There were so many egg donor agencies out there, but none measured up to the quality and standards of BHED. When I went onto their site it was three minutes until I saw the face of our egg donor. I panicked thinking it was all too good to be true, and it was a matter of minutes before Lisa, the founder of BHED, got back to me! The information on my donor was more extensive and complete than any of the ten other egg donation agencies I had been looking through day after day, trying to find “her”. Not only that, but Lisa answered hundreds of questions of my behalf and always got back to me asap with a very caring, businesslike, and to-the-point attitude. When dealing with even “noted” and highly recommended agencies, besides BHED, no such thing happened. I caught some of the other reps, many a time, trying to “back-peddle” the information they had given me.
Then came our dear Ellie, our donor rep., who became my friend. She would email me anything I asked for whether it be more pictures of our donor, a calming note to help me in a panic attack, continual updates on the movement of everything, and even passed along notes that I wised for our donor to read. These people became family to us, and it felt like they wanted this dream to come true for us just as much as we did!
They truly have the most beautiful and highest-quality egg donors and a professional, NO B.S., to-the-point staff; and I know because we went looking through many different agencies before I found My BHED. We had actually found an egg donor through one of the others, but our doctor advised us against her because of her family’s medical history. It is something BHED puts extensively right out in front so we were aware of everything before making our choice, and as not to waste precious time. When I saw our donor at BHED, I knew we had found her, we had found each other! They talk about that “feeling” you get when it is all just “right”, but I was not aware of it until BHED. We are now five months pregnant, and all our prayers have been answered. Thank you my donor, and thank you Lisa, Ellie, our amazing lawyer connected to the agency, and all at BHED!!! Happy New Year, this one will truly BE a happy one for us! God bless, and may all your dreams come true on your journey!
Friday, January 16th, 2009
I am a donor with BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) and anytime I catch the words ‘egg donor’ between diaper changes and operating my business on the TV I turn to look.
Women are flocking to egg donor agencies (per CNN HLN) because of the economic crisis for the need of money and the high level earnings made from cycles.
So I called in and got to speak for about a minute!
I advised that prospective donors should not just get involved with the egg donation process because of desperation in a failing economy but because they truly would like to help out the families that are in need healthy eggs. Infertility is a disease! I worry that a woman in a desperate circumstance may not be able to handle the commitment it takes to be a donor. I added that money is disposable where as helping to create life is not.
I am so happy to be an egg donor – the families I have helped are able to have what they wanted so dearly, a family of their own. This Christmas I know there is a couple I helped that will be sitting around the tree with their little one (as I will be) and that is something more rewarding than any dollar amount.