Use of an Egg Donor

Use of an egg donor is an option for a woman who cannot produce her own eggs due to age, ovarian disease, genetic disorders, hormonal imbalances or egg quality issues.

Donated eggs are removed from the selected donor using a needle attached to an ultrasound probe. The eggs are carefully suctioned from the donor’s ovaries and evaluated by an embryologist before being injected with sperm for fertilization.

Prior to transfer, the recipient takes estrogen to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. Three to five days after fertilization, a reproductive endocrinologist performs the transfer and hormone therapy is continued through early pregnancy.

Preparing for egg donation

There are many legal, ethical, medical and psychological considerations for couples planning to use an egg donor.

Even when the egg donor is a family member, most attorneys advise couples to treat egg donation as a business matter, complete with a legal contract. It is important to consult a reproductive attorney who is familiar with the laws of the state in which the recipient resides, since laws differ between states.

Finding an egg donor

Women may opt for an anonymous egg donor or receive eggs from a donor they know, such as a family member or friend.

Egg donation programs and egg donation agencies are other options. Some egg donation services provide limited information about donors, including photos. They may even allow in-person interviews. Information about physical appearance, medical history, educational background, interests and hobbies is often provided.

Couples sometimes seek a suitable donor on the Internet or through newspaper and magazine ads, but this can be risky. Your reproductive endocrinologist will be able to provide information about egg donor services and discuss pros and cons of each option. It may also be helpful to meet with a qualified fertility counselor.

Selecting an egg donor

Egg donors from reputable agencies and clinics have undergone necessary medical and psychological screenings. Most are between 21 and 34 years of age and may have donated eggs previously.

It is possible to select certain physical characteristics that fit your requirements including hair and eye color, height, weight and race even when opting for an anonymous donor. Some agencies also share information about personality traits of donors and other notable facts.

Egg donation cost

Financial compensation for women donating eggs is widely accepted. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine suggests donor compensation be limited to from $5000 to $10,000. In addition, payment of medical expenses and travel expenses are also typical.

To reduce costs, some programs offer an egg sharing option that allows two recipients the opportunity to share the eggs of a single donor.

Donor success rate

A 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed a live birth rate of 55.9 percent using fresh donor eggs.

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