Egg Donor Agreements: Open or Closed?

Just as with adoption, there are different possible confidentiality levels to the contracts that an Egg Donor signs before commencing the egg donation process. It’s true that these arrangements can see minor to an inexperienced or novice Egg Donor, but understanding the difference between the two is crucial as it defines the nature of your relationship – or lack thereof – with your Intended Parent/s for years to come. 

What is a closed Egg Donor arrangement? 

Simply put, a closed Egg Donor arrangement is one where the anonymity of the Egg Donor is preserved as completely as possible by the involved parties: in these arrangements, there is a zero-direct contact policy between the Egg Donor and Intended Parents, and all communication is done through a third party (either an agency like the team here at Simple Surrogacy, or through a point of contact if the egg donation is arranged privately). In addition, these agreements do not allow for the possibility that the Egg Donor will be expected to meet any children that result from their retrieval. Apart from the identifying information in the Egg Donor’s profile, neither the Intended Parents nor the Egg Donor will be given any other identifying information about the other party – not even a name. 

Closed or anonymous egg donations can seem very appealing to an Egg Donor for any number of reasons, many of which are related to the reason she is donating eggs in the first place. Perhaps she does not want to have children of her own, but still wants to give the gift of parenthood to someone else: this donor may choose anonymity because it provides additional distance from the idea of being a parent or prevents the possibility that the Egg Donor will ever have to interact with the child. If the Egg Donor feels that she would be interfering with the Intended Parents’ family unit if she is not kept anonymous, or if she is concerned that the Intended Parents will harbor concerns that she is not properly “letting go” if she expresses interest in the child, then she may prefer a closed donation. Intended Parents who may be anxious about the process can prefer closed donations for similar reasons. 

However, it should be noted: In the age of the internet, the idea of “anonymity” is more of a comfort blanket than an actual protection. If a child is curious enough and determined to find out who their parents’ Egg Donor was to learn more about them, there is no way that any legal agreement or agency guarantee could truly prevent that attempt from being successful. 

What is an open Egg Donor arrangement? 

On the other hand, an open Egg Donor arrangement is precisely what the name states: as with an open adoption or with most surrogacies, in an open donation the parties are known to each other and while communication may not always be required (after all, the specifics are up to each unique case), it is an option should the need or desire arise. 

This option can be very attractive to Intended Parents who want to nurture their child’s eventual (and natural) curiosity about where they came from. In most cases where an Egg Donor is loudly resistant to an open arrangement, it is because she has not been properly educated and assured of the following: having structured and agreed-upon contact with a child resulting from an egg donation in no way, shape or form alters the reality that the Egg Donor cannot be held financially, ethically, or morally responsible for the child. The Egg Donor’s actual responsibilities on that front end when the egg retrieval does; instead, allowing communication with the child is more of a kindness, or an act of social responsibility.

Are there hybrid arrangements?

In the Intended Parents-Egg Donor matching process, ideally the desire for an open or closed donation will align. (It is one of the factors we compare when determining eligibility for this reason.) Generally speaking, you will not be approached as a potential Egg Donor for a couple who insists on an open donation if you did not indicate you’d be willing to consider it, and vice versa. 

However – if you indicated in your evaluation that you might be open to compromise, the possibilities widen. As stated above, the specifics of each contract are entirely up to the participating parties, and working with a reputable agency like Simple Surrogacy also allows avenues for “mixed” agreements to exist. For example, if an Egg Donor would like to do an anonymous donation, and the Intended Parents who choose her are generally okay with that, but would still like to be able to communicate through the process, they might ask their Simple Surrogacy coordinator to contact the Donor for permission to write her a letter. (This is just one example of the kind of compromise that is possible when parties are agreeable to it.)

There are different schools of thought as to which of these options is “better”, and ultimately it is up to the participating parties to make that judgment call for themselves. If you are interested in learning more about egg donation, surrogacy, or just in learning more about alternative family planning, contact the expert team at Simple Surrogacy today. We would love to hear from you!

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