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donor egg

A donor egg cycle uses another person’s eggs (usually a young healthy and fertile donor) which is then fertilized and implanted into the intended parent’s uterus.

What is an egg donor?

An egg donor goes through the first few steps of the IVF process. The donor undergoes preparation, ovarian stimulation and the egg retrieval surgery. Then that person donates eggs to an egg bank or directly to the intended parent(s). 

Egg donors may be identified (known) or unknown, however most egg donors are unknown. Mate only works with unknown egg donations right now, as there is a lot more legal complexity with known donors. Unknown egg donors are typically young in age and screened extensively to optimize for healthy eggs with reproductive potential.

Why use an egg donor?

There are many reasons patients consider using an egg donor. Some infertility cases can’t be treated with IVF using partner’s eggs. 

  • Poor egg quality: This may be due to an underlying egg health issue or older ovarian age. Patients may already have gone through failed IVF cycles or may prefer using donor eggs to avoid the emotional and financial impact of possible failed IVF cycles.
  • Poor or no egg quantity: Other patients may not have an egg source from a partner. Intended parent(s) may not have ovaries or a patient may have gone through menopause. Some patients may have diminished ovarian reserve and choose to use an egg donor to avoid the emotional and financial impact of possible failed IVF cycles.
  • Genetic: patients may have a genetic issue that is carried in the egg(s) that they want to avoid passing on to their children.
  • Safety: In some cases, patients may need to avoid stimulation and/or egg retrieval due to medical reasons and an egg donor is safer.

how will the donor be involved

the use of donor eggs is becoming more common, especially among women over 40 who may not be able to use their own eggs. in 2018, over 42% of all ivf cycles using fresh donor eggs resulted in a birth!

usually, people will want their egg donors to be anonymous. if you use eggs from an agency, that donor will never have contact with you or your child. however, some people prefer to use donor eggs from people they know, or even relatives. if the donor knows the intended parents, the donor may wish to be a part of the child’s life. an egg donor contract should always be used and will explicitly lay out the terms of any future relationship, even when the donor is a friend or relative.

the egg donor process

the process of using an egg donor is very similar to a standard ivf cycle, without going through an egg retrieval. after your fertility assessment and treatment plan has been decided, the partner receiving the donor egg will need a course of hormone treatments to prepare their uterus and body for a transfer. if you are using frozen eggs, the eggs will be sent to our clinic, fertilized by our embryologist, and once an embryo is created, it will be transferred into your uterus.

if you are using a fresh egg donor, the donor will also be treated with hormones to induce ovulation. you will be treated with hormones to time the donors retrieval and your transfer perfectly. (timing is very important in fertility medicine). once they are ready, the eggs will then be retrieved and fertilized. a few days later, the embryo will be transferred into your uterus.

challenges

couples using donor eggs must pay for the entire process. if you are using a known donor, this means you will have to pay for your own procedure, and any medical expenses from the donor – including procedures, costs of eggs, medical expenses and any complications that may arise from the process. check with your doctor to understand what these risks may be.

the donor usually gets a fixed fee for the use of their eggs. all of the donor fees and procedure costs are usually baked into the cost of the eggs. if couples want to have multiple kids they may want to explore using the same donor for all of their pregnancies.