Family Building through Egg Donation: My role as attorney and four-time egg donor

Gina-Marie Mariano Madow, Esq. is an attorney at Circle Egg Donation, and she is moderating one of the Donor and Surrogacy Parents Panel at the 21st Annual Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference on November 8th.  This panel of parents through donor conception will talk about their experiences and answer questions.

Egg donation is an increasingly viable option for infertile couples who want to start — or expand — their families. Knowing that I could help those who are struggling with infertility and make a difference in their world is what inspired me to become an egg donor.

I have donated my eggs four times and was lucky enough to experience the different types of donations available to intended parents (IPs): known, semi-known and anonymous. Each donation was special in its own way, but my strong preference is for known egg donation, as it has brought more joy to my life than I ever could have imagined.

In addition to my experience as an egg donor, my work as an attorney at Circle Egg Donation has given me a unique perspective to offer IPs concerning their family-building options. Many IPs are unaware that they can choose the level of contact they want to have with their egg donor.

There is no right or wrong type of donation. IPs must decide what is best for their family, and as we all know, not all families are the same. IPs should choose the right type of donation for them based on their level of comfort and an understanding of the legal implications of each option, taking into account what this will mean for their future child. Some IPs prefer anonymous donation where there is no contact between the IPs and egg donor. Other IPs opt for a semi-known donation, where they exchange first names and some demographic information with their donor. In a semi-known donation, the IPs and egg donor can communicate in person, by phone, email, or Skype while still preserving their anonymity. And other IPs may choose to pursue known egg donation, which allows the IPs to get to know their egg donor (in person, by phone, skype, or email). The IPs can decide what level of contact they want to have with their donor prior to, during, and after the donation.

Circle Egg Donation encourages known egg donation, as we believe it is important for a child’s healthy sense of identity to have access to the other half of their genetics. Further, it allows parents and their children born via egg donation to remain updated about the egg donor’s medical history as it changes over time.

In regard to my experiences as an egg donor, I loved everything about all of my donations. However, nothing compares to known donation. With my last IPs, we decided to remain in contact via email, which continues up to today, three years after the donation! At the time of my donations, I was finishing up law school, preparing to take the Bar and planning a wedding; and as I got to know my IPs, I kept them up to date with what was going on in my life. To my surprise and delight, my IPs were there for me (in spirit) at each major moment in my life, sending me tokens of their appreciation and letters acknowledging my accomplishments. What was so special to me about this was that I could see firsthand that these people are truly remarkable parents. If they remembered and acknowledged every major milestone in my life (their egg donor), I could only imagine the love and support they were giving their children. And that’s why I chose to become a donor— to help give the gift of life to loving and supportive parents who were waiting for their babies.

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