We have "reserved" our chosen donor for our cycle! St. Mungo's allows you to "match" with a donor when you start your uterine evaluation cycle, and since that will likely be next week for me (today is CD 21, and my iPeriod app tells me AF is due on Tues. March 29), I was allowed to "reserve" her a little early today.
We are using one of our clinic's in-house donors. They are carefully screened, and as I mentioned in my last post, the clinic declines about 80% of women who apply to be donors for various reasons including BMI, age and personal/family health history.
How did we choose her? After much contemplation, soul searching and browsing of donor profiles, ultimately I decided that the most important criteria for me were someone who looks like she could be a member of my family (slightly broader than "looks like me"); someone "proven," with at least one successful donor egg cycle already under belt; someone no older than 27; and someone whose writings did not make me cringe when I read them.
MM's criteria: someone who looks like she could be a member of my family; someone who was not only healthy but had no family history of allergies or anxiety (both of which have plagued him and his father throughout their lives); and someone who was attractive and not trashy-looking. (When I would show him profiles, he vetoed some donors on looks alone or on just a gut feeling of "I don't like her" or "I wouldn't want my kid to look like her.")
Our donor is anonymous, but I have been amazed at the amount of information which the clinic makes available about the donor. Although I do not know her name, I have seen photos of her as an adult and as a child. I know her height, weight, hair/eye color, blood type, date of birth, ethnicity, etc. I have read what she has written about herself and her reasons for donating, as well as many details of her health and reproductive history. Complete genetic and psych evals for her are also available on the database.
I wouldn't say that she looks like me, but she certainly looks like she could be related to me. . . . and we both have high foreheads and curly medium brown hair. Her skin tone is similar to mine, and she is a couple of inches taller. She even has dimples which look very similar to the dimples both my dad and sister have.
The database also provides a thumbnail sketch of how the donor has performed in previous cycles, and the third party program manager provided me with even more detailed information about this on the telephone. In short, she is a proven donor who has done five cycles, four of which resulted in ongoing pregnancies. (The one "failed" cycle was a chemical pregnancy in a couple in which the husband had severe sperm issues. Reportedly she was very sad that that cycle did not work.) All her prior cycles resulted in frozen embryos in addition to the fresh ones transferred, too.
In addition to her proven track record, at 27, she is a little older/more mature than some of the donors in the database. She had high GPAs in school--4.0 in high school, 3.94 in undergrad--and is currently earning an advanced degree in naturopathic medicine. (Her intelligence is a bonus about which I am very pleased.) She is athletic and does yoga daily.
Finally, when I talked to the third party program manager about our chosen donor, she described the donor as "a stellar donor and a fabulous person," someone who is always cheerful and happy. Just what we need to offset MM's inherited moodiness, LOL. (Kidding. OK, kind-of kidding, kind-of not.)
When I first started looking at the St. Mungo's database several months ago, it felt really weird to be "shopping" for my child's genetic mother. If I stop and think about it, it still seems kind-of surreal. At the moment, though, I am feeling more grateful for the opportunity to (I hope) bear a healthy child through this young woman's generous assistance.
(I need to come up with a clever name for our donor. After learning so much about her and being close to receiving a priceless gift from her, calling her "the donor" just seems so impersonal. Suggestions?)
With each step I take, the idea that we are actually doing this takes hold more and more. And I continue to be excited at the prospect.