Race, Ethnicity, Heritage...?

One problem that we run into over and over again as we search for our clients is how difficult it can to find the egg donor's ethnic heritage. Too often egg donors and agencies confuse race with ethnic heritage and will just use race as a blanket answer to cover both. The trouble is they are not the same. One is a very broad category and the other defines the details of that category and for many intended parents it is an important distinction.

For example when I am looking for a Chinese donor I often find that all donors with any Asian heritage are listed as Asian. That is fine to a point if within the details of the egg donors profile her specific heritage is listed such as Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Korean etc.. Many programs have thought to include this information but many others still list the donor as just Asian. For a Chinese or Korean family this can be a real problem for many they feel strongly about their ethnic heritage and one is not interchangeable with the other.

For many intended parents having a sense of continuity within the family blood lines helps them to come to terms with going forward with an egg donor. I have had many intended parents tell me that they would like to find a donor who is Irish, Welsh, Italian etc. so that they can share stories of their heritage with their child and not feel they are being false to their child who shares their family but may not have similar ethnic heritage.

This is particularly a problem with Caucasian donors who may list themselves as "White" or Caucasian without an other defining information. Once again it may either mean that the donor is passed over in a search or the agency has to take the time to call the egg donor and ask more questions. If this information was obtained initially a match could have been made that much sooner. If you run an agency take the time to review each donor's profile and ask them about their family heritage? Is your mother's family from Spain and your father's family from Lebanon? If you are a donor find out where your family originally came from. Everyone wins in the long run.

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