Egg donation, also known as ovum donation or third-party fertility, is the process of surgically removing eggs from one woman to give to an intended parent.
Why should I use a donor egg?
People turn to egg donors for a variety of different reasons. Some of our clients’ ovarian reserves have diminished with age, while others have fertility issues due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other women may have undergone fertility-limiting cancer treatments or have genetic disorders that they don’t want to pass on to their offspring. Donor eggs also allow single males and gay male couples to build their families through surrogacy.
The process begins with a free consultation, with no obligation to use our services. We’ll discuss what your fertility journey has been like so far, where you are in the process emotionally, and what you’re looking for in an egg donor. If you decide to use Donor Concierge to find a donor, you’ll fill out our online Intended Parent Intake, submit photographs, and make a secure payment. We operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and generally book clients about a week in advance.
2. The Egg Donor Search Process
We understand that deciding to work with an egg donor can be an emotionally complicated journey. You may have already been through multiple in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, or may be frustrated by the money and time spent on unsuccessful treatments. Add to that the hundreds of donor agencies with thousands of donor profiles to sift through, and the process can seem extremely stressful. That’s where we come in.
Once you’ve decided to partner with Donor Concierge, you’ll have a more in-depth conversation with your assigned case manager to review your egg donor criteria and overall family-building goals. The donor search then takes approximately two weeks to complete. Throughout this time, we’ll be working closely with your dedicated case manager to continuously refine your search results. We’ll send you prospective donor profiles every day or two, and we encourage all clients to review them within 24 hours, as donors often match very quickly.
While your case manager is searching for your egg donor, they can also:
Follow up with donor agencies about your favorite candidates.
Confirm donors’ availability and willingness to travel.
Help put a certain donor on hold while you finalize your decision.
Arrange for the donor to undergo initial testing and screenings locally before you’ve fully committed. (This will depend on the specific agency, but most are cooperative.)
Arrange for medical records to be sent to the clinic.
Maintain your privacy and release your name only when you give us permission.
3. Reserving Your Egg Donor
Once we’ve helped you find the right candidate, we’ll introduce you to the agency, which, after completing a legal agreement with the donor, will coordinate with your clinic to have the donor complete her thorough medical screening, including genetic testing and FDA testing.
We provide ongoing support and will serve as a dedicated resource for all of your questions and concerns, even after the match is made, to ensure you get the personalized assistance you deserve. Whether you require legal, psychological, physical, or emotional guidance, we can refer you to specialists who meet your exact needs.
4. The Egg Donor Cycle
First, you and your donor will be given Lupron injections to synchronize your menstrual cycles. (if you’re creating embryos to freeze or using a surrogate, there will be no synchronization of cycles)
Next, the egg donor will undergo hormone injections over the course of 10 to 12 days. This stimulates the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. She will be monitored regularly, usually by ultrasound, to assess how she is responding to the medication.
When your doctor determines she’s ready, your donor will be given an injection of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This last injection is administered intramuscularly, 36 hours prior to retrieval. hCG signals the eggs to mature so that they may be retrieved.
The day of the egg retrieval, your donor will be given a mild sedative, and the mature eggs will be extracted vaginally with an ultrasound-guided needle and placed in a petri dish.
Your egg donor will rest for 45 to 90 minutes after the retrieval. She will need to be driven home by someone after the procedure and have someone stay with her for the next 24 to 48 hours to monitor her recovery. If she has traveled by plane, your clinic will provide guidelines as to when it is safe for her to fly back home.
Within a few hours, sperm will be introduced into the dish, and either natural fertilization will occur or your reproductive endocrinologist (RE) may recommend intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a process in which sperm is injected directly into the eggs to help increase the chances of fertilization.
In most cases, your RE will ensure that your cycle is about a week ahead of that of your egg donor’s. You may have to wait up to two weeks for the embryo transfer. This can be a stressful time, but also one of great hope—you’re on your way to building a family!
The embryos are allowed to grow and develop for five days. On day five, one or two embryos (now called blastocysts) will be graded for quality and transferred into your uterus to grow.
Egg Donation FAQ
How much does using an egg donor cost?
Typically, using an egg donor cycle costs between $30,000 and $40,000. Price is dependent upon where you find your egg donor (clinic vs. agency), her requested compensation, and the drug costs for each woman involved.
What are the donor egg success rates?
Live birth rates are about the same among younger and older women using donor eggs. Women in their late 20s through mid-40s average about a 55% birth rate using fresh (not frozen) embryos created through egg donation. A woman whose own ovarian reserve has diminished is five to ten times more likely to conceive using donor eggs than she would be using her own eggs.
When choosing a clinic, take the time to compare donor egg success rates, and be sure to work with a clinic that handles a lot of third-party reproduction cycles.
What are the risks of using an egg donor?
For the recipient of donor eggs, there is a higher likelihood of a multiple pregnancy (meaning twins or triplets or more). For the egg donor herself, potential risks include ovarian hyperstimulation.
Will the offspring be legally mine even though I don’t share any genetics?
If you give birth to your baby—even if you are using an egg donor—you are the legal parent. If you are using a surrogate, the legal situation can be a little more complicated, depending on your marital status and the state in which you live. We advise consulting with an attorney who specializes in third-party reproduction matters.