A donor egg cycle is where the eggs of a young woman are used in an in vitro fertilization cycle with the resultant embryos being transferred to the recipient mother. Women who are candidates for donor egg include those with diminished ovarian reserve, ovarian failure usually due to advanced age, those with unknown fertilization problems, and others.
Most women become donors for altruistic reasons; or to help infertile couples conceive. Compensation is provided to offset the cost of travel, time off of work, and other expenses.
General qualifications to become an egg donor include:
Must be between the ages of 21-30
No substance abuse
No genetic diseases
No significant medical issues, disease
Must pass physical and psychological screening
Recipient couples choose a donor based upon her physical and psychological characteristics. Pictures of the donor as a child or adult are sometimes provided but the donor will not be identified by name. Sometimes additional information may include high school or college transcripts, job history, etc.
Donor eggs can be used to produce a pregnancy in a woman of any age as long as she has a normal functioning uterus and is free of disease that would affect her ability to carry a child to term and delivery. Most programs have an upper age limit of 42.
The egg donor undergoes an FSH stimulated IVF cycle and when the eggs mature they are retrieved. Once retrieved they are fertilized and placed in incubators until maturity, usually 3 to 5 days after which time they are transferred to the recipient mother. She has previously undergone hormone therapy to “sync” her cycle with the donor’s so that her endometrium will be ready to accept the developing embryo.
The major advantage to using donor eggs is that the IVF success rates usually coincide with the age of the donor. For example, if the eggs of a 22 yr old woman are used in an IVF cycle with a 42 yr old woman the success rates equal the 22 yr old age group which is typically among the highest. This compares to dismal success rates using the eggs of a 42 yr. old.
We have a very successful donor egg program and have helped hundreds of couples conceive. Our donor egg success rates are among the highest in the country (See link to CDC web site for published success rates for Southern California Reproductive Center).
Common Questions about Donor Egg
Will I know the identity of the donor?
No, this information is kept strictly confidential unless your provide your own donor. Some women use their sisters or friends as egg donors.
Will my child ever know the donors identity?
While we cannot promise that this will never happen, strict steps are taken to protect the identity of the donor.
Does donating my eggs reduce my chances of a future pregnancy?
No. You have thousands of eggs at birth and only a few are recruited each month. Women have more than a lifetime’s supply of eggs.
Do I have to pay tax on the donor fee?
Yes, the IRS treats this as additional income and it is reported as such.
Is the donor cycle dangerous?
Donors undergo stimulation with follicle stimulating hormone which can rarely produce serious side effects such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). If OHSS occurs, hospitalization for treatment is usually required. Fortunately, this occurs in less that 2% of patients
How many times can I donate my eggs?
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests a maximum of six times.
How are the donor’s egg fertilized?
Your partner will produce sperm my masturbation which are then washed and prepared for introduction to the eggs. In cases where ICSI is performed, the sperm is injected directly into the egg.
How many times does the donor have to come to the office for cycle monitoring?
This varies dependent upon how a woman stimulates. More or less visits are required based upon estradiol and ultrasound measurements but the average is 4.