process for using donor eggs for IVF

Dealing with infertility can be overwhelming and isolating. However, you are not alone in your struggle, even if it is a very personal one. According to the most recently completed report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles resulted in over 68,000 live births in the United States in 2017.  About 1.7% of all infants born in the US are conceived using ART. One option that is available for those struggling with fertility is using donor eggs for IVF.

1. Donor Eggs are Recommended in Several Situations

  • Women who have had their ovaries removed
  • Women born without ovaries due to congenital conditions
  • Women with low ovarian reserve or function, including:
    • Women with poor egg or embryo quality
    • Women with age-related infertility
    • Women with primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Women who have genetic risks they don’t want to pass on to children
  • History of repeated canceled IVF due to poor ovarian response
  • Gay male couples having a child via gestational carrier
  • Single men having a child via gestational carrier

2. Both the Donor and Recipient Need Health Screenings

If you are using donor eggs for IVF, you will want the donor to be screened for potential health conditions. The donor has to meet specific criteria to be accepted into a donor program to ensure that the eggs and any resulting embryos are viable and healthy. 

The recipient should be screened to make sure that she is a candidate for IVF. Standard testing for IVF candidates is used to evaluate whether implantation and gestation are possible. The semen being used by the recipient should also be analyzed.

All 3rd party fertility treatments have the potential for being emotionally and mentally overwhelming, so it is recommended that all parties should also receive psychological counseling and screening. Some clinics require this part of the screening process while others just recommend it.

3. Your Fertility Clinic Probably Has a Donor Egg Program

If you’re working with a fertility specialist already, you should consult them about using donor eggs for IVF, as they often offer services to match you with a donor. The benefits of going through your fertility clinic are numerous. You should trust your fertility doctor to recommend the best treatment options for you, including helping you find a donor egg. 

Fertility clinics with reputable programs screen candidates using medical and psychological evaluations. Potential donors are only approved if they meet the criteria. Donors in these programs are anonymous. You may also opt to ask a family member or friend to donate if you want a direct donor. Some fertility clinics will work with outside donation agencies under certain circumstances. Some fertility clinics also work with an egg bank to match you with a donor.

4. You Should Have a Signed Agreement

If you’re working with your fertility clinic or another reputable donor agency, they should have things in place to help you with legal issues. Pre-screened anonymous donors should have already signed an agreement giving the intended parents the right to control the donated eggs and any resulting embryos. If you are using a direct donation, then you should talk to a lawyer that is well-versed in reproductive law. They can help you create a contract that covers your rights to the eggs, expense reimbursement for the donor, a timeline for the donation and other relevant factors.

5. Your Fertility Specialist Can Help You Through the Process

As mentioned before, many fertility clinics have donor and recipient programs. Your fertility specialist is also your best resource for information throughout the process. Reproductive endocrinologists have valuable experience in helping patients navigate the ups and downs of the fertility journey. 

At Carolinas Fertility Institute, we use multiple screenings to ensure both the egg donor and the recipient are mentally and physically prepared for the process. To talk to one of our fertility specialists about the possibility of using a donor egg for IVF, call our Triad office at (336) 448-9100 or our Charlotte office at (844) 686-2233 to make an appointment.