Schedule Appointment

1. There is a grieving process

Accepting a diagnosis and learning that the plan of a biological child may not be possible is a deeply personal one. The response will vary from couple to couple and partner to partner, but it takes time before any decisions are made. Some patients take a break, even if just for a month, to take some time to think about and move through their emotions. Many couples speak with a behavioral health specialist during this time.

2. There are several egg donor options to choose from

There are many different routes of treatment that will lead you to the same destination. Frozen donor eggs allow couples to access eggs very quickly because the entire process is complete. Selecting a donor from a database and going through the entire ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval process will require more time. Using fresh eggs allow for sperm to be injected into the egg to create an embryo before experiencing a freeze. Not all eggs or embryos will survive the thaw, so using fresh eggs may increase the amount of frozen embryos stored for future use. It is important to note that the pregnancy success rates using frozen donor eggs and fresh donor eggs are virtually the same.

3. Selecting the right egg donor takes time

Both partners must feel right about the donor they choose, which means that selecting a donor will require patience. The best first step is for each partner to write down what is most important to them, then compare notes. For example, if a couple is Jewish, it may be important that their donor is also Jewish. Many different characteristics are shared in an egg donor profile such as eye color, hair color, education level, religious practices, personal interests and talents, height, weight, and more.

4. Anonymity is a choice on the part of the donor

Donors traditionally have entered egg donor agreements as anonymous donors and this is an agreement drawn up by her reproductive attorney. However, the donor also has an option for increased openness if that is her wish, but this must be explicitly stated in her legal agreement.

Learn more with our free webinar, Egg Donation: Parenthood Starts Here. Visit our Fertility Education page that lists all of our free events.

5. Even if a family member or friend would like to donate, there is screening involved

Egg donors and intended parents undergo screening prior to treatment being approved. For donors, this includes infectious disease testing as well as testing for carrier status of genetic diseases. Using frozen donor eggs allows intended parents to skip this step as it has already been completed. For intended parents, they experience must also be screened for infectious diseases.

6. The cost will vary based upon what you choose

The egg donor is compensated for each donation. This may vary by geographic area, but the compensation varies from $5,000-$8,000 per donor egg retrieval. The cost of meds for each donor cycle also varies, but the medical cost for the donor stimulation varies from $2,000-$4,000 with the overall cost approximately $25,000 per cycle. The costs are somewhat lower for frozen donor egg cycles, as these costs are already calculated into the overall fee. The cost for a frozen egg cycle is approximately $18,000 per egg lot of 5-7 eggs.

7. The amount of treatment time required will also vary widely based on that choice

The process for using a frozen donor egg can require 1-3 months and includes acquiring frozen donor eggs, thawing them, then injecting the eggs with sperm and incubating the embryos as they develop. The female partner or gestational carrier are then given medication to prepare the uterus for an embryo transfer. Two weeks after an embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is taken. The process for using an egg donor to acquire fresh eggs can require 3-6 months and includes egg donor screening, stimulation of an egg donor’s ovaries, egg retrieval, injecting the eggs with sperm, incubating the embryos and preparing the uterine environment for transfer, then transferring an embryo to the female partner or gestational carrier.

8. You will be collaborating with several parties during the process

At Fertility Centers of Illinois, we offer all third-party reproduction services at one center such as egg donation, sperm donation, and gestational carrier. If you are working with a fertility center that does not have a third party reproduction program, you may be working with a separate egg donation agency, and possibly an additional agency if a gestational carrier is required. It is important to do your research before embarking on this process to ensure the process is smooth.

9. Pregnancy success rates with egg donors are higher

Pregnancy rates overall are based on maternal age. However, donors are in their twenties, and fresh donor success rates are approaching 75% per embryo transfer. Frozen donor success rates are comparable.

10. It’s disappointing, but egg donor cycles do get cancelled

Whether an egg donor has gone through the process before or not, there is always the chance that an egg donor’s response to stimulation medication will require the cycle to be cancelled. This happens primarily if the ovaries are not producing enough eggs to warrant an egg retrieval procedure. The intended parents incur the cost of the medication and monitoring even if the cycle is not completed, however, a portion of their initial fee is commonly refunded.

11. If you’d like additional children, your first egg donor may or may not be available

When planning your family, if you know that you’d like to have more than one child, it is best to keep that in mind during treatment. Trying to use the same egg donor three years later may not be possible. Egg donors may no longer be donating or are no longer a viable egg donor candidate due to age, pregnancy, or personal circumstances. However, with a fresh egg donor cycle, it’s not unusual to have frozen embryos leftover even after the live birth from the initial transfer. If possible, it is best to do more than one egg donor cycle to ensure as many frozen embryos as possible for future treatment.

Learn more about using an egg donor.
Medical contribution by Jane Nani, M.D.

Dr. Jane Nani is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI), and has been practicing medicine since 1996.

Make an appointment today

Schedule now