Throughout the egg donation process, you will be your own best advocate. It is important to ask questions when they come up and speak up if something feels uncomfortable. Egg donation is a process that can have some significant effects on your body. It is important to know your rights as a patient; advocating for your own rights, privacy, and health is a top priority.
We often hear egg donors say “I don’t want to bother anyone.” It is important to give yourself permission to speak up for your needs and to remember that you are a patient, and you should feel 100% supported and guided along the way.
If you feel like you are being left in the dark, you can say: “I see that you are busy. I have some unanswered questions. When would be the best time to address them? Who would be the best person to direct my questions to?”
Questions to ask:
Are the professionals at the clinic/agency making decisions in my best interest or in the interest of the intended parent(s)?
Clinics will often employ lawyers, doctors, and counselors that will work with you when you are moving through the egg donation procedure. You can utilize these professionals to help you make decisions. It can be advantageous to seek the advice of a medical professional who is not invested in the process and who will not profit from your decision donation. Seeking outside professional guidance prior to and/or during the egg donation process can ensure you receive unbiased answers to your questions.
When during the process would it be helpful to get my own legal, medical, or psychological support outside of the clinic?
Times during the process to consider outside legal advice may be (but are not limited to): any time you are asked to sign a legally binding contract, especially when it includes specifics about confidentiality, compensation, and insurance agreements.The agency/clinic/recipients often pay the legal fees for the donor to be assigned an attorney to advocate and negotiate the contracts. If your agency or clinic does not initiate contract negotiations, you may need to advocate for this yourself. Typically, contracts are signed after the initial baseline medical exam, prior to any injectable medications. Contracts can take many forms and there are often several documents signed prior to donating. It’s important to understand the consequences of signing each document and advocate for yourself.
Seeking the advice of an OB GYN or a medical professional who can examine your health throughout the process is advisable. Some egg donors will initiate a separate medical consultation as a way to self-advocate.
Typically, your session with the psychologist is one-time assessment to approve your eligibility to donate your eggs. Currently, some programs offer group counseling sessions for recipients of donor eggs, but there are no known in-person support groups for egg donors. Many egg donors seek out web-based advocacy resources such as We Are Egg Donors as a sounding board and safe space to discuss their experiences and receive insights as to how to navigate the process.
How can I best advocate for myself during the egg donation process?
Your best form of advocacy is information gathering. If something does not feel right, if you have questions, or you feel you are being kept in the dark, it is important that you get the information you need. With adequate information, you can make the best possible decision for yourself.
Another important part of self-advocacy is in paying attention to the details. Many people are in the habit of signing long contracts or accepting terms without reading the lengthy document. However, this can result in agreeing to something that you are not comfortable with. In any case in which you are given documents to sign, be sure to read them carefully. If you have any questions about the ramifications of certain parts of the documentation, ask your agency or contact a lawyer for legal advice.
Self-advocacy is also about forming community. Some of the best information you can gather in advocating for yourself comes from past and current egg donors who know the process. It is important to network with past and current egg donors who may have recommendations for questions to ask, key ideas to consider, and information on how to improve your experience should you choose to move forward in the egg donation process.