Egg Donor Expectations….What’s Reasonable and What Is Not

Egg Donor Expectations….What’s Reasonable and What Is Not

When going into an egg donor arrangement, particularly through an agency, recipient parents have many expectations of donor performance, some reasonable, some not so reasonable. Of course, recipients expect that a donor will be compliant with clinic orders, that she will show up to her appointments on time, that she will take her medications as prescribed, that she will abstain or refrain from certain activities (including sexual relations) while in cycle. These are all reasonable expectations, reasonable because the donor has agreed, in your contract, to follow doctor’s orders and reasonable (and practical) because your fertility clinic, your agency and even the donor’s attorney will be tracking whether or not the donor is conducting herself as promised. If the donor misses appointments, you and your agency will be notified. If the donor is not taking her meds properly, this should show up during her monitoring visits. Your donor will be screened, twice, for STDs (and other infectious diseases), for illicit drug use and even for nicotine use at some clinics. For my clients who are worried about donor compliance during the cycle, I remind them that their donor is in regular contact with the agency, the clinical team and her attorney, folks who are reminding her that she has agreed to behave in a certain fashion and that you, the recipients are counting on her to do what she has promised. But, can you force the donor to perform as agreed…(in law school we were asked the question: can you make the fat lady sing)? The answer is a simple and emphatic, NO! Simply because someone has made promises to you does not mean she must fulfill those promises, anyone can enter into a contract and then choose to breach; she will owe you damages if you then sue her, but she cannot be forced to perform.

Shaking in your boots yet? Don’t be! As mentioned, your physician, your nurse, your donor egg coordinator, your agency staff and the donor’s attorney will be reminding your donor of all that is at risk if she is not compliant. Frankly, we rarely see a donor flake during the cycle (it happens, but it is rare). But what about after the cycle? What about updating contact information? Medical history updates? What about contact with the donor should you or your child be interested in meeting up with her? If your donor has agreed to future performance, how reasonable is it to expect that your donor will do, down the road, what she has promised?

I am sorry to say that even though your donor has agreed to certain future behavior, you must consider that she just may not perform in the way she has promised and that with future performance, recipients simply do not have the same professionals in touch with the donor as they did during the cycle. I am not suggesting that donors make representations to recipients in bad-faith, for the most part, donors are genuine and sincere in all they promise during a cycle. But remember something, these are young women, these are women, who, simply because of their age, are very often in a transitional phase in life, they are students not yet embarked on careers, they are single women not yet settled in terms of residence or a relationship. They may make certain promises at the time of the cycle, promises they intend, I believe, at the time, to fulfill…and then their life goes on and for some, they just might have a change of mind and a change of heart as egg donation becomes a part of their past.

What’s the best you can do? Trust that your donor will be compliant during the cycle. Have faith in the team you have in place, those professionals who are in regular contact with your donor, during the cycle. Feel confident that few donors fail to follow through with what the clinic expects of them. And what about the future? As they say, hope for the best, be prepared for, well, something less. No, we cannot make the fat lady sing, we cannot force the donor to perform if she chooses not to. Know this and plan accordingly.

Originally prepared By: Amy Demma, Esq for Parents Via Egg Donation

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