At Altrui we’ve recently started putting pregnancy and birth announcements online – it’s wonderful to share positive news and everyone who reads it feels good. But it’s got us thinking about how we can publicly celebrate donors’ amazing gift while protecting your privacy online.

We follow HFEA guidelines on anonymity, meaning we only let donors know the outline of
your couple’s details and situation. And although the couple has your profile, what we give them isn’t enough to identify you individually. We’ll never identify you, but if you’re talking about your donation online, it’s easy to tell enough of your story that, over time, someone might guess they have matched up a donor with their couple.

To avoid this uncomfortable situation, we’ve come up with a few things that could help keep your donation just to those people who you want to tell.

Facebook: Public posts on Facebook are searchable and anyone can read them. Even if you usually make all your posts public, it’s a good idea to share posts about your donation only with family, friends or a small group of people you trust.

If we post a pregnancy or birth announcement and you’d like to put this on your own newsfeed so people can congratulate you, the best way to do this is with copy and paste. Otherwise, any of the 2000 members of Altrui’s Facebook group can see who has shared it, and that you have posted.

Twitter: Everything is public on Twitter, except your private messages, so the whole world can see what you tweet, retweet and favourite. If you talk about your donation on Twitter, avoid giving details.

Forums: Some forums welcome both donors and people who need donors. You can make some really close friendships and get a lot of support this way, which is wonderful. But it’s also easy to share enough information about your situation that someone could make a guess – probably incorrectly! – about which donor matches which recipient.

Many couples’ circumstances are quite similar on the surface, so it’s an easy mistake to make. Hundreds of couples are treated every year, and the busy clinics we work with have lots of donors and couples going through at the same time, with retrievals regularly happening on the same day. All the same, having people speculate like this is not a comfortable situation to be in.

It’s natural for you to want to share what you’re doing with friends, family and to want to chat with other people involved in egg donation – we encourage you to do that because being a donor is an amazing thing. But, to maintain your privacy, details like your collection date, location, number of eggs collected, the words or a photo of your couple’s thank-you message and so on, are best kept to close friends and family.