Beauty or Brains?

Beauty or Brains?

Joined: January 30th, 2012, 6:12 pm

March 27th, 2012, 9:23 pm #1

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
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green.elephant
green.elephant

March 27th, 2012, 9:57 pm #2

Since you asked for feedback... I'd pick the donor that seems smart & has a good head on her shoulders - those seem like more important qualities to me than physical resemblance. If it helps, consider this - there are plenty of kids that don't physically resemble their parents at all - Personally, I look nothing like my dad.

Of course, another option is to keep going until you find the ideal combo - and that's what we did - picked a donor with certain general physical similarities that also has a good head on her shoulders. However, our clinic had a large pool and we eventually went with an agency anyway - more options.

Another factor to consider - test results - proven donor, etc... genetic screenings etc... that may give you your answer

Good luck!
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Joined: January 30th, 2012, 6:12 pm

March 27th, 2012, 10:09 pm #3

Thank you for your response! Our clinic is pushing us to go with an outside agency because we'll have more options, but it will add another $6K to our costs and we may not be able to afford it. I'm just nervous about jumping in with the first donor we get, since we've never done this before. Another question - what exactly is a proven donor? A donor who's eggs have resulted in successful pregnancy for the recipient? Or would a donor also be "proven" if she had had her own successful pregnancies/children? The few donors we have been able to consider have not donated before but a couple have had pregnancies and/or live births of their own.
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green.elephant
green.elephant

March 27th, 2012, 10:28 pm #4

Yep, the downside of an agency is that it costs more - but we didn't want to wait so we bit the bullet. Before you pick, you can register online with a few agencies to search through their databases and maybe once you see a lot more options you'll either feel better about moving forward with either of the donors already presented, or maybe you'll find the ideal agency donor and feel better about the cost.

A proven donor means they have gone through the process and had a live birth result - with each successful cycle the donor can charge more compensation. It can be really valuable to see how many eggs retrieved etc., from a previous cycle - while not a guarantee, I think it would help ease the uncertainty. I wanted a proven donor, but ended up going with a 1st timer because her overall profile was perfect - when it came time to cycle I was so nervous, but she did well and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll have a positive test next week.
I honestly don't know if having kids of their own makes them officially proven - I don't think so, but it at least does indicate that their eggs are capable of results - maybe someone else will clarify.

By the way - my donor had her parents pics online too - she looks nothing like either one! I completely understand wanting a physical similarity and emotional connection - maybe think about considering more options because you just might find the complete package

Since you're relatively new at this too, speaking from personal experience I urge caution not to get too attached to a particular donor - I wish I knew that the first time around, as timing with our first reserved donor didn't work out and I was devastated to have to start a new search. Now that I read more about people's experiences with DE, it seems somewhat common that donors don't work out for whatever reason. For my last search I picked a few I was interested in, marked my favorite, and emailed the agency for more details. I think you'll learn a lot from searching through databases online - look back through the archives here for agency recommendations. Look for someone local if you don't want travel costs for the donor, or maybe consider traveling to a clinic with a large in-house donor pool so that you don't have an agency fee (which is tough if you're really happy with your current clinic!).
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Joined: March 25th, 2008, 8:46 pm

March 28th, 2012, 12:19 am #5

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
I used donor embies and had almost no clue beyond the sketchiest physical description what my donors looked like but really liked their accomplishments and apparent intellects, and loved the donating family father's personality. I ended up with kids who are perfect for me.
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Joined: September 26th, 2008, 9:06 pm

March 28th, 2012, 5:12 pm #6

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
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SDM
SDM

March 28th, 2012, 5:48 pm #7

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
Take my group of siblings for example all from the same mom and dad and all raised in the same household

1 redhead, 3 blondes, 6 brunettes (2 of whom are almost bald)
The boys range from 5'9" to 6'3"
The girls range from 5'3 to 5'7"
We are fat and we are skinny
We have green, blue, hazel and brown eyes
We have two "MENSA" members (very high IQs - like dad), several average, and 1 low
5 of us went to college, 5 didn't
8 of us graduated from High School, 2 didn't
2 teachers, 2 plumbers, 1 alcoholic non-contributing member of society, 1 general contractor, 1 dentist, 1 stay-at-home mom, 1 committed suicide, 1 grocery store manager

Each of us is an individual and this is why I am completely comfortable with the whole DE concept.




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Joined: August 22nd, 2008, 3:29 pm

March 28th, 2012, 6:13 pm #8

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
your donor. If something doesn't feel right then keep looking. I gather that you wouldn't be asking this question if you felt okay right now with the donor presented to you. While it would be nice to just move forward especially if you don't know what will be presented to you down the road...you don't want to have any regrets for settling for something you aren't 100% percent sure about.

When we were looking for our donor we wanted someone who had a healthy background and resembled me. I turned down quite a few donors who were not my height and colouring and I'm glad that we waited b/c it wasn't long at all before our perfect donor found us. She not only shared many of my physical traits but her life philosophy was the same as mine.

As far as IQ...or having a good head on her shoulders, I do think that environment has A LOT to do with this aspect. When you surround your child with love and lots of stimulation, I think you will find that you will be able to create children with great potential in this area.

So if I were you, I would wait until everything lines up and your gut says...this is our donor.

Good luck, blessings from Hope
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Joined: July 23rd, 2008, 6:49 am

March 28th, 2012, 7:58 pm #9

Ok, my subject line is a play on words, but here is my real question. We are working with a clinic that does not have a ton of donors. We are trying to match the donor's physical features to me as closely as we can because we don't plan to tell anyone we used a donor. We were presented our first donor candidate last week and her physical traits don't match me (she is taller, different color eyes). But, her responses to the open-ended questions were great. She seems to be smart and have a good head on her shoulders, and I could see myself in some of her answers. I'm struggling with what is ultimately more important - someone who gives us a higher chance of having a child that looks like it came from me and my husband, or, someone who might give us a higher chance of a child with a good head on it's shoulders. Given the fact that this is our first option, we don't know if we should just go with her because we don't know when another option will come, or if we should be more patient and wait until the clinic finds a donor that more closely matches my physicalities. Obviously I know this is ultimately our decision but would love to hear others' opinions.
Here's the thing - in a way, it's a false dichotomy because few people are all beauty with no brains or all brains with no beauty. I think what you are asking is whether you should wait for someone who looks more like you vs. go with someone you feel good about with regard to her personality and intellect. Even if you found that person who looks like you, you really don't know what is in her gene pool and it may not match what is in your gene pool.

What we found is that it made sense to pick a donor who had similar enough traits to either or both of us SUCH THAT, a child between DH and the donor would have a high likelihood of looking like it could be a child between DH and me. But "high likelihood" does not equal "guarantee." I gave up on finding someone who looked like me, so I chose a donor whom I thought looked like my DH and his family. Brown eyes, brown hair, olive skin, and a tallish, thin build. One of our boys fits that description but the other one has blonde hair, blue eyes, pink skin and is built like a wrestler! I kid you not. There are no blue eyes/blonde hair in DH's family and none in the donor's profile of sibs and parents and grandparents either, so, what gives? All that to say, you can try your best but there are no guarantees and obviously this happens to fertile couples as well. I do think that it is wise to try to match features and coloring when possible, but just realize that you are stacking the deck in your favor but not getting any guarantees.

I personally like feeling connected to the donor but I agree wholeheartedly with the poster who said don't get TOO attached emotionally because so much can fall through in this process. Take it from those of us who know. I realized that I could never pick a donor that I felt icky about whether it was her misspelling words or writing ungrammatical sentences, or having bad character, etc. I had a drop dead gorgeous donor picked out who matched DH's and my ethnic match and in the process of working up to the cycle, she turned out to be a real greedy little b!tch who played bait and switch with us and the agency did not try to rein her in. We dropped her and I'm glad we did.

The next donor was mature, cooperative, responsible, compassionate, and smart enough though no genius. She graduated college. I had the impression she was unremarkable in terms of her achievements but she was nonetheless "solid." She did not look like me but matched DH in coloring, body build, and there was a facial similarity too, but she was not beautiful, though "attractive." Now that my children are here, I realize how important it is that I feel good about the donor. I know others here may say the opposite, that once they got their children, they no longer gave the donor or her attributes another thought, but that's not true with me. I am SOOO glad that I feel good about her after the fact. If I had gone with the drop dead gorgeous donor, I may or may not have had gorgeous kids from her, but I'd always be nursing a little resentment about the way she treated us. I didn't want this process to be a bad memory.

Intelligence is largely hereditary so that is important to me but that does not mean I needed an Ivy leaguer, nor did I care about SAT scores or measured IQ levels. I was content with BASIC intelligence and that came through her profile in a variety of ways. I also did not need beauty per se, but wanted to avoid anyone who had odd looking features that stood out.

About this donor you have been offered - it sounds to me like she would be perfectly satisfactory, and money is an issue for you so choosing an agency would be hard, but that you feel suspicious because you fear you are grabbing at the first donor who comes along. What can I say except that sometimes, you just get lucky!

Proven IS SUPPOSED TO MEAN that the donor has gone through the process of DE IVF and that her recipient got pregnant and gave birth to a healthy child. However, you need to be WARNED that some clinics and MANY AGENCIES, unfortunately, will count "proven" as a woman who had a baby on her own, or any variation on that, such as that she completed the process (never mind that all the embryos died on the table or the recipient didn't get pregnant) or that the recipient did get pregnant but miscarried in the first trimester, which is most often due to a flaw in the embryo. I even had one agency try to pass off as proven a woman who had gotten pregnant in high school but had an abortion. I mean, come on! First of all, eggs that can skip down the fallopian tubes at a leisurely pace, never seeing the cold light of day and without having been assaulted by fertility drugs, then result in a baby ARE NOT THE SAME THING as eggs that can go through the rigours of IVF, and it is rigorous, believe me, and still result in a baby. Such an egg needs to develop under the duress of fertility hormones, needs to survive life in the lab, perhaps needs to accept being poked with an ICSI needle, must endure being splashed with chemicals, parked in a petri dish and told to "divide! divide!," sucked up into tubes, and then spit out into a uterus. Make sure that you clarify with your clinic what they think "proven" means!

Last edited by biogal on March 28th, 2012, 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Original Poster
Original Poster

March 28th, 2012, 8:22 pm #10

This is all so helpful, thank you. I didn't want to feel like a snob, but as I was reading donor profiles, I really felt more comfortable with the ones who responded with correct grammar, spelling, etc. (probably has something to do with my profession as a writer!). I equated that with intelligence, right or wrong. I'm learning through all the responses that I may need to let go of some of my "Must Have's" and trust the process.
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