How to Have Genetic Siblings via Egg Donation
Planning for genetic siblings when you use donor eggs
When discussing egg donation, genetic siblings often come up as a question. Intended parents want to know if their children will be genetically related. If you’re using the sperm from the same person (whether the intended father or a donor), then your children will already be genetic half-siblings. If you’d like them to share maternal genes as well, you need to use the same donor for each child. This is possible, it just takes a little extra preparation. Read on to learn how to plan for egg donation genetic siblings.
Decide if You Want Egg Donation Genetic Siblings as Early as Possible
Deciding early on if you want to have genetic siblings through donor eggs gives you the most options to make that happen. Knowing you’d like to use the same donor for multiple children will guide the rest of your decisions about the egg donor process, from fresh vs. frozen to choosing your donor to fertilization and cryopreservation.
Choose Fresh Donor Eggs Over Frozen
If you want children who are genetic siblings through egg donation, a fresh donor egg cycle gives you the most options. Frozen donor eggs from an egg bank are sold in sets, with a finite supply from each donor. You may end up needing all the eggs for your first successful pregnancy; or you might pay for several sets of eggs to improve your chances, then wind up not using them all.
With a fresh donor egg cycle through an egg donor agency, you receive all the eggs retrieved from your donor for one cycle fee. Fresh donor egg cycles often provide more eggs than a single frozen egg set, giving you the best chance for extra eggs at no extra cost. After your first pregnancy, your doctor can freeze unused embryos for genetic siblings in the future.
Communicate With Your Egg Donor
Another benefit of using fresh donor eggs for egg donation genetic siblings is the ability to communicate with your donor. As you look for donors, be open that you’d like to use their eggs for more than one child. That way, when you match and create your donor contract, you can agree on when and how to contact the donor in the future about another egg donation cycle.
Plan to Freeze Extra Eggs or Embryos
Even if your donor agrees to be contacted for future donor cycles, there’s no guarantee she’ll be available when you’re ready for your next child. So, it’s helpful to prepare for egg donation genetic siblings by freezing extra eggs or embryos from the first donation cycle and storing them for future use. You can freeze the extra unfertilized eggs not used to create embryos, or fertilize the eggs with your partner or donor’s sperm and then freeze the resulting embryos. Talk to your fertility clinic about their cryopreservation (freezing) process for eggs and embryos to decide which is the best option for you.
Split Insemination for Gay Couples
Some male partners want multiple children so each father has a biological connection to a child. One way to do this is split insemination, where half of the retrieved donor eggs are inseminated with Partner A’s sperm, and the other half use Partner B’s sperm. Embryos from both Partner A and B are then transferred to a gestational surrogate, usually with hopes of conceiving twins, one from each partner’s embryos. By using the same egg donor, the children are egg donation genetic siblings, even with different sperm.
Not all fertility clinics will transfer multiple embryos to a surrogate, because of added health risks from carrying multiple babies. Another option is to work with more than one surrogate. If you are a gay man interested in split insemination, we can help you find a fertility clinic and surrogate that meets your needs.
Be Open to Plans Changing
Planning ahead gives you the best chance at having egg donation genetic siblings. However, we all know the saying about best-laid plans! Despite your best efforts, your donor might not be available for future cycles, or there may not be enough eggs to have more than one child. Try to go into your donor cycles with an open mind and ready for things to change. Remember that love makes a family, not genetics – your children will be your children, and each other’s siblings, no matter where the donor egg comes from.
At Eggceptional Fertility, we have years of experience helping intended parents plan for egg donation genetic siblings. We’re here to guide you through the process and answer your questions – so reach out to us today!