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Donor Eggs



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 do I/we find an egg donor?

Mate has built partnerships with egg donor agencies. These vetted agencies optimize the process of finding and screening excellent egg donor candidates, which optimizes the health of the donated eggs. 

The most important job of intended parents is to spend time thinking about what matters the most to them outside of the basic genetic and medical health. Reproductive therapy is an important part of this process and can help guide you. 

Some intended parents may prefer to have a child from a donor with certain physical traits, educational background, ethnic background or religious beliefs. It’s important to note that children are uniquely themselves and may or may not have the traits that may be apparent in the donor. 

The more flexible you are on traits, the less time it takes to find a healthy egg donor, however the goal is to be deeply honest with yourself and/or partner about what matters to you most, so that you can find a donor that works best for you.

How does IVF differ with donated eggs?

In IVF with donated eggs, the intended parent(s) do not need to go through the preparation, stimulation, egg retrieval or surgical recovery. 

Instead, on the day of fertilization, the eggs are either retrieved from the egg donor or thawed in the embryology lab. 

The timing of the egg donor fertilization may be synchronized with an embryo transfer cycle or embryos may be created and or biopsied for genetic testing and frozen in preparation for a later frozen embryo transfer. 

What are some of the challenges of using a donor egg?

There are a few challenges that come with using donor eggs, which makes the process a bit more intimidating. However, if you and your doctor decide this is the best course of treatment, we will ensure you feel supported, informed, and educated on the entire process. Mate will hold your hand through the entire process.

  • Cost: IVF is already an expensive process and egg donation does add additional cost. In addition to paying for the IVF treatment, these costs include compensation for the egg donor, agency fees, legal fees, reproductive counseling costs, and the additional cost of screening tests required by the FDA.
  • Time: Often the egg donor process can add several months to the IVF process, and it can be stressful to wait. However, it is important that each stage of the process receives the attention and time it needs to be done extremely well. 
  • Complexity: It’s important to understand that the reproductive journey is often a complex one for intended parents, however introducing “third party” reproduction is adding another layer of complexity. Working with a reproductive psychologist to understand exactly what “you don’t know you don’t know yet” helps support patients both before and after the egg donation process.