Starting from Square 1 - Lots of Questions

Starting from Square 1 - Lots of Questions

Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 7:15 am

November 2nd, 2010, 2:47 am #1

Since our donor decided on Friday not to go through with the program, we are looking at options to find another donor. Our challenge is that the clinic with which we are working does not have many donors who fit my ethnic makeup. In fact, before we decided on this clinic, I had a consultation at another clinic in the area, and the story was the same there. That clinic suggested we work with a donor agency because they did not have a pool of donors from which to draw.

I asked our donor oocyte coordinator if we could use a donor from an agency (I have been looking at some donors listed with a few agencies, but have no idea how that would work logistically, how costly it could get, etc.) Although the coordinator did not tell us not to use an agency she did suggest that we place a listing with Craigslist. She also suggested that we post listings in newspapers at area colleges as well as on their campuses, listing her e-mail as the contact to maintain anonymity.

Has anyone found a donor through Craigslist or by posting their own listing elsewhere?


Also, can anyone with experience with donor agencies give me an idea of how that process works and how much it might push up our costs?

One of my biggest concerns with both craigslist/colleges and agencies is the not proven status of most responders (I would assume) -- Is that a make or break issue?
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E&H
E&H

November 2nd, 2010, 12:58 pm #2

www.surromomsonline.com Lots of donors advertise there with photos and lots of different ethnic groups. Just be careful to check out what they tell you. I got my very first donor from there who said she was 28 and when she arrived in Malaysia where I am living (me being 15,000 USD worse off) I found her to be OLD (I would say at least 38). If you are in America I would say it would be far easier to check them out and request proof of previous donations and see a copy of their passport or ask your clinic to request it.
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LizLA
LizLA

November 2nd, 2010, 3:48 pm #3

nt
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pixl
pixl

November 2nd, 2010, 4:45 pm #4

Since our donor decided on Friday not to go through with the program, we are looking at options to find another donor. Our challenge is that the clinic with which we are working does not have many donors who fit my ethnic makeup. In fact, before we decided on this clinic, I had a consultation at another clinic in the area, and the story was the same there. That clinic suggested we work with a donor agency because they did not have a pool of donors from which to draw.

I asked our donor oocyte coordinator if we could use a donor from an agency (I have been looking at some donors listed with a few agencies, but have no idea how that would work logistically, how costly it could get, etc.) Although the coordinator did not tell us not to use an agency she did suggest that we place a listing with Craigslist. She also suggested that we post listings in newspapers at area colleges as well as on their campuses, listing her e-mail as the contact to maintain anonymity.

Has anyone found a donor through Craigslist or by posting their own listing elsewhere?


Also, can anyone with experience with donor agencies give me an idea of how that process works and how much it might push up our costs?

One of my biggest concerns with both craigslist/colleges and agencies is the not proven status of most responders (I would assume) -- Is that a make or break issue?
I have an unusual ethnicity requirement and would have loved to have been able to find a clinic donor to cycle with, but there were none available so I turned to agencies. I registered with MANY agencies and the donor search goes so much faster this way as many of the databases are huge.

For starters, here is a list of agencies that follow the ASRM guidelines. Most have the agency website listed and from there you can usually register and get a password to view the donor databases right away.
http://www.asrm.org/detail.aspx?id=856

Most of them have all their fees and prices stated upfront on the website. Some don't, I have found them to be very willing to provide their price list if you ask them.

From my experience, there are some pretty big downsides to using an agency, aside from the huge extra costs:

1. You would sign an agency contract as well as a donor contract. The agency contracts I have seen are terrible. Most like you to sign soon after choosing a donor. If the donor backs out for any reason, or fails her medical screening, you could lose 1/2 to the entire agency fee, as it is non-refundable. Now I have already had several donors back out and even one proven donor who failed medical screening, so this was a big deal to me. The agency will say they will use the fee to find you another donor, but for me with my unusual ethnicity requirement the chances of the same agency finding another donor were slim, and I wouldn't want to wait months to a year for them anwyay. I would always negotiate the agency contract terms first, some agencies were more willing than others. If you aren't confident in negotiating contract terms, you could have an ART attorney do it for you. I did my own negotiations and found this to be a huge hassle, but then again I would have lost 1000s of $$ if I hadn't done it. Most people don't have donors who back out and everything goes just fine when they sign the contract as-is, but I ran into some particularly bad luck with several donors in a row not even making it past the screening step so I was very cautious.

2. Agency donors aren't medically screened yet (unless they have donated before), whereas the clinic donors are often pre-screened.

3. The outside agency is another party through which information has to flow, allowing more chances of miscommunication. In my case, the donor told the agency something very important, but the agency did not pass that information to the clinic coordinator when they were supposed to. The clinic finally found out this information quite late and it could have been impacted the cycle in a very negative way, but they did scramble at the last minute and worked it out. If I were using a clinic donor, this type of hiccup wouldn't have happened.

Despite the drawbacks, I was able to find a match for my ethnic mix through an agency fairly quickly, and as an added bonus, the donor happens to be local to the clinic too. We plan to cycle this month.

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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 7:15 am

November 2nd, 2010, 9:35 pm #5

www.surromomsonline.com Lots of donors advertise there with photos and lots of different ethnic groups. Just be careful to check out what they tell you. I got my very first donor from there who said she was 28 and when she arrived in Malaysia where I am living (me being 15,000 USD worse off) I found her to be OLD (I would say at least 38). If you are in America I would say it would be far easier to check them out and request proof of previous donations and see a copy of their passport or ask your clinic to request it.
but I will take a look at it. That's some of what concerns me with an agency. There is not a lot of contact with the clinic where you'd be cycling until you have chosen a donor, and by then, it could be too late. It seems that lots of things can be caught if there is back and forth contact with the clinic prior to committing to the donor. I haven't ruled out an agency, but I still don't have a good idea of how the clinic with which I am working deals with clinics.

Veesha
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 7:15 am

November 2nd, 2010, 9:53 pm #6

I have an unusual ethnicity requirement and would have loved to have been able to find a clinic donor to cycle with, but there were none available so I turned to agencies. I registered with MANY agencies and the donor search goes so much faster this way as many of the databases are huge.

For starters, here is a list of agencies that follow the ASRM guidelines. Most have the agency website listed and from there you can usually register and get a password to view the donor databases right away.
http://www.asrm.org/detail.aspx?id=856

Most of them have all their fees and prices stated upfront on the website. Some don't, I have found them to be very willing to provide their price list if you ask them.

From my experience, there are some pretty big downsides to using an agency, aside from the huge extra costs:

1. You would sign an agency contract as well as a donor contract. The agency contracts I have seen are terrible. Most like you to sign soon after choosing a donor. If the donor backs out for any reason, or fails her medical screening, you could lose 1/2 to the entire agency fee, as it is non-refundable. Now I have already had several donors back out and even one proven donor who failed medical screening, so this was a big deal to me. The agency will say they will use the fee to find you another donor, but for me with my unusual ethnicity requirement the chances of the same agency finding another donor were slim, and I wouldn't want to wait months to a year for them anwyay. I would always negotiate the agency contract terms first, some agencies were more willing than others. If you aren't confident in negotiating contract terms, you could have an ART attorney do it for you. I did my own negotiations and found this to be a huge hassle, but then again I would have lost 1000s of $$ if I hadn't done it. Most people don't have donors who back out and everything goes just fine when they sign the contract as-is, but I ran into some particularly bad luck with several donors in a row not even making it past the screening step so I was very cautious.

2. Agency donors aren't medically screened yet (unless they have donated before), whereas the clinic donors are often pre-screened.

3. The outside agency is another party through which information has to flow, allowing more chances of miscommunication. In my case, the donor told the agency something very important, but the agency did not pass that information to the clinic coordinator when they were supposed to. The clinic finally found out this information quite late and it could have been impacted the cycle in a very negative way, but they did scramble at the last minute and worked it out. If I were using a clinic donor, this type of hiccup wouldn't have happened.

Despite the drawbacks, I was able to find a match for my ethnic mix through an agency fairly quickly, and as an added bonus, the donor happens to be local to the clinic too. We plan to cycle this month.
Wow, well that is awesome that your donor search ended on such a high note!

Have you worked with various agencies or did you find an agency that had donors with the ethnic make up that you were looking for, then did you work out a really good contract to protect you from another donor pulling out?

When you say fairly quickly, how long did it take you to find the clinic and the donor that you are working with now?
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pixl
pixl

November 2nd, 2010, 11:30 pm #7

I never saw more than 1 donor of my ethnic mix at any one agency, they were really hard to find! That was a big reason why I didn't want to be tied to one agency, because if the donor pulled out, I didn't have a 2nd choice at the same agency.

I didn't always have to sign a contract up front, one agency was very helpful when I stated my concerns and they said it was ok to pay the agency fee and sign the retainer AFTER the donor passed screening. Well, that donor seemed very enthusiastic at first, providing extra information that I requested etc, but when it was time for the medical screening appointment at the clinic she pulled out! Thank goodness I didn't sign with them, I did not lose even 1 cent, only some time.

The current agency I am with was tougher to negotiate with, but I did get them to reduce the non-refundable part of their fee and had them change the contract accordingly.

I already had the clinic chosen, and it took a couple of months of searching through agencies to get to my current donor. That includes the several false starts I had with donors pulling out, failing screening etc. Honestly I thought it would take alot longer and I was miserable during the search process, thinking it could be a year before I find someone. I started to be less specific about the ethnicity to broaden the criteria a bit, but then out of the blue as I was doing my usual database checks for new donors, I found someone with the same ethnic background as me.
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Joined: February 6th, 2007, 1:08 am

November 2nd, 2010, 11:56 pm #8

nt
I did continue and was lucky to get 4 crappy embryos - I transferred all (2 x 5 cell, 1 x 6 cell and 1 x 12 cell all with over 25% fragmentation) and originally got pg with triplets although 2 didn't make it I gave birth to a wonderful dd. I found the same woman on facebook afterwards and although she admitted to 2 children of a young age, she had a son who was 21. I didn't even tackle her about it as I was already so much out of pocket having paid for her and her husband's tickets on top of everything else from USA to Malaysia.
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Joined: February 6th, 2007, 1:08 am

November 3rd, 2010, 12:00 am #9

but I will take a look at it. That's some of what concerns me with an agency. There is not a lot of contact with the clinic where you'd be cycling until you have chosen a donor, and by then, it could be too late. It seems that lots of things can be caught if there is back and forth contact with the clinic prior to committing to the donor. I haven't ruled out an agency, but I still don't have a good idea of how the clinic with which I am working deals with clinics.

Veesha
Tell them in advance your requirements. Ask for a copy of any school certificates, copy of all medical tests including previous donation results. Make it clear before you sign with the agency what you want. I have an agency in Malaysia and the clinics often use my donors as I'm prepared to prove to recipients that the details given are true. Even if you want to go anonymous the agency can send copies to the doctor concerned and he can verify with you that he has seen them and it is true. I often do this as donors want to stay anonymous. I will send a copy of the degree to the recipients doctor and he will verify - also copies of previous donation records. If the agency won't agree, move on to the next agency. Someone will agree. Good luck.

Last edited by Chrismal2 on November 3rd, 2010, 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 7:15 am

November 3rd, 2010, 3:03 am #10

Thanks for your great advice. When you say school certificates, do you mean any certificates the agency has itself or school certificates that proves the donor's educational credentials? And when it comes to medical tests are you referring to the medical tests that the agency typically gives or the specific tests that a chosen donor will have taken? And when it comes to donation results are you speaking about claims of a donor being proven? I know there are so many agencies out there, you just hope you can find the reputable ones without going into debt (through things such as using attorneys and potentially the cost of donor's travel if the donor is not local).
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