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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: Let’s talk about privacy: Does your egg donor have a right to privacy?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let’s talk about privacy: Does your egg donor have a right to privacy?


Here is a very typical and common scenario that causes me to grit my teeth every time I hear about it:
The IP (usually an intended mother) contracts with an egg donor agency and selects an egg donor.  Program fees have been paid, psych evaluations have been conducted, medical testing is in the works, and the ball is clearly rolling, especially if this is a repeat donor.  The egg donor while maybe not wanting to meet a set of intended parents is comfortable with an email or even a telephone call.  The profile might say where this egg donor is currently attending school, or where she lives, or where she’s worked.  It might even give her first name and last initial. 
That information right there is enough for most Internet savvy people to begin an Internet search on their donor.   
What happens next is the intended parent (we will go with the intended mother) will begin her search.  She will begin perhaps with the college last attended.  If she discovers a first and last name she might Google the egg donor.  Finally she hits gold and sees the Facebook page, or maybe even a Twitter account.  And the stalking begins.
Did I just say stalking?
Yes, I just said stalking, because I think that’s what it is.
The intended mother while perusing the egg donors Facebook account may or may not have access to see the egg donor’s wall, or photos.  Many times the egg donor doesn’t have her privacy settings implemented upon her Facebook and her photos and wall comments are open for the public to see. So the intended mother now see’s these photos, and reads these wall comments and doesn’t like what she sees.  She may discover that this egg donor has a Twitter account, or has some other web presence and learn more things about her egg donor that she doesn’t like.
The idea of the fantasy egg donor in her head has gone right out the window.  The intended mother then calls and tells the agency “I don’t want this egg donor any longer, she’s undesirable…”
So this begs the question –“Does your egg donor have a right to privacy?”
Do you as an intended parent have the right (regardless of the compensation you are paying for your egg donor) do Google search on your egg donor?  Stalk her Facebook pages, Twitter account, or any other social networking site on the Internet for her? 
Without her permission?  Especially if the egg donor has stated she doesn’t want a completely open egg donor cycle?
Or is everything fair in donor selection because after all there is no privacy on the Internet?
How would you feel as an intended parent if your donor somehow found out your name and Googled you?  Searched you out on social network sites and right before you began your egg donor cycle said to the agency "You know what?  I learned this about my intended parents and they are undesirable.  I don't want them to have my genetics.  So I am going to cancel the cycle."

I know what my thoughts are – however, I am asking you what are yours?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Chickachick said...

I think it would be completely normal to google an egg donor. If women google internet dates, why wouldn't they google their donors? Social Media has changed privacy forever.

April 12, 2012 at 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether appropriate or not (and I say not), I almost feel as though it does and will continue to happen. Once a donor agrees to donate, the intended parents curiosity goes sky high. Unfortunately, there is often a generation gap between intended parents and egg donors and they will no longer feel they relate to her. Or may not like the language she uses. Or 'gasp' finds out their 20 something college donor has gone out to a bar with girlfriends! Or, 'double gasp' finds out that she has worn a bikini at some point in time. I look at my cousin and young nieces FB pages all the time and if I didn't know them and how sweet they both were, I'd get a completely wrong impression. The younger generation is FB'ing to appeal to their friends and age-group and don't really think much right now about how they might be represented to others. Once they graduate or get a job, I'm sure they'll taper down. But if a parent does choose to "stalk" her donor, however inappropriate that may be, they should be prepared or at least savvy enough to know that what they find isn't always going to be their imagined perfect young woman. That being said, it also doesn't mean that she's a horrible person who frequents bars full of sailors...

April 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think the donor should have her privacy, if that is what she wants/agreed to. While I understand it is very tempting to want to "find" her and find out more about her, I think that it's best to just have the information she's willing to give. I saw a great video of a young teenaged girl (who was conceived via DEIVF), and I loved her reply about her donor (this is from memory, so not an exact quote): I am grateful to my donor and I often think of what she may be like, but I don't want to know more about her or meet her - I like keeping the image in my mind of her the way it is. That said, if a child ever wanted to meet the donor and it was possible (and all parties involved agreed), of course, I'm for that.

I do agree with you too that I would not want a donor trying to find me or my children by googling us. It does go both ways. We need mutual respect and trust for each other. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

April 14, 2012 at 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Kelley Wendel said...

My children were conceived with both donor eggs & donor sperm. The donors are completely unknown to us & to one another. Yet, they are the providers of the most precious gifts anyone could ever receive. And no, we did not pay them for these gifts; we reimbursed them for their time, effort, health risks, & possible physical discomfort endured while donating.
Of course, a formal contract is part & parcel of such a monumental & potentially complicated donation. This is to protect the rights & desires of all parties involved. Our donors requested absolute anonymity, as did we. This is an expectation that is both morally & legally binding. Not only would I be in breach of contract to investigate the identity of my donors, but I would be betraying their trust as well. What kind of person accepts this kind of phenomenal gift, the gift of children, & then flagrantly disrespects the donor's rights? What kind of example of integrity would I be setting for my kids, kids made possible by my donors, if I "stalked" them without their permission? And how would I feel if they did the same to me or my children? Last time I checked GRATITUDE was the appropriate response in exchange for an invaluable gift, not a violation of privacy!

Kelley

April 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Chickachick said...

Well said Kelley. I have a feeling that 20 years from now, your children might be interested in knowing more. Only time will tell & hopefully if and when donors choose to be open, they will reveal themselves - if not, hopefully your children will understand and respect the donors wishes. It truly is the most incredible gift.

April 23, 2012 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

It's not a matter of debate here in the UK, it's the law - any child conceived through egg donation have the legal right to contact the HFEA for identifying information about the donor when they reach 18 ... it is considered to be in the best interests of the children that they have the right to know about their identity.

May 10, 2012 at 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Surrogate Mother said...

Yes I agree with Alison , every child rights to know about their donor. This makes child to know his/her actual identity.

May 25, 2012 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Anonymous Egg Donor said...

I am an egg donor, currently on my third donation. I love the anonymity of the process, however, if my IPs did decide to search me, I would have nothing to hide. I have never drunk alcohol, smoked or experimented with illicit drugs. My husband and I live a generally pleasant lifestyle. I would like to think my IPs would like what they saw on the internet of me-- getting into medical school and all. I am fine with them internet searching me, however, I would NOT be okay with them making contact with me. I like to believe that whoever my IPs are, they are going to be fantastic parents! I have this picture-perfect vision in my head, and knowing their identities would ruin that image for me. I wonder how other egg donors would feel though?

Eggciteddonor@gmail.com

August 14, 2012 at 11:36 PM  

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