Americans tend to place great emphasis is placed on psychological screening of egg donors.
Since most donors are “anonymous”, it is incumbent upon the OD agency or ART program to determine the donor’s degree of commitment as well as her motivation for deciding to provide this service. There have been instances where a donor has changed her mind mid-stream. This is usually, but not always indicative of poor selection of the donor candidate by the agency. However, donors, like recipients are human beings, subject to various stresses and pressures in their daily lives, and as well intended as their entry into the program may have been in the first place, sometimes things come up that force them to change their minds.
Most recipients in this country tend to be very much influenced by the “character” of the prospective ovum donor, believing that a flawed character is likely to be carried over genetically to the offspring. In reality, unlike certain psychoses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, character flaws are usually neuroses and are most likely to be determined by environmental factors associated with upbringing and accordingly are unlikely to be genetically transmitted. Nevertheless, all donors should be subjected to counseling and screening and should be selectively tested by a qualified psychologists, and when in doubt, should be referred to a psychiatrist for definitive diagnosis. Selective use of tests such as the MMPI, Meyer’s Briggs and NEO-Personality Indicator are used to assess for personality disorders. Significant abnormalities, once detected, should lead to the automatic disqualification of such prospective donors.
When it comes to choosing a known donor, it is extremely important to make sure that she was not coerced into participating. In fact, when dealing with intra-family donations, it is our practice to insist on appropriate psychological evaluation of all parties to ensure there has not been coercion.