If you’re an intended parent who is planning to use an egg donor to help build your family, you’re probably wondering how much that egg donor is going to cost.
You’re certainly not alone on this journey — there were 24,042 donor egg cycles in the US in 2019, the most recent year for which data was available from the CDC. That’s up nearly 6,000 from data collected just nine years prior.
But knowing you’re far from alone doesn’t answer a question that’s been weighing heavily on your mind: How much does using an egg donor really cost? Is any of this covered by insurance?
How much does it cost to use an egg donor?
There’s no way around it — there are costs involved in getting pregnant with donor eggs. After all, there’s a lot that goes into retrieving eggs from an egg donor, fertilizing them and growing embryos in the lab, and then transferring an embryo into the uterus.
Typical egg donor costs can range anywhere from $5,000 – $30,000, but fees can go much higher. So what goes into that big range? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest cost factors, so you know what to expect along the way.
Costs of using a fresh egg donor through an agency
One option is to work with a donor egg agency to find a donor that will go through a fresh IVF cycle.
Egg donor agency fees
The Cost: $5,000 to $9,000
An egg donor agency will identify women interested in donating their eggs, and likely perform some initial health screenings on prospective donors to ensure they’re qualified to donate. In return, you’ll pay the agency a fee for helping you find your perfect match.
The Cost: $5,000 to $60,000
Wait, can the range really be that wide? Well, yes.
There are no federal laws that regulate how much an egg donor can — or even should — be compensated. Some states, like New York, forbid donors from being paid for their eggs themselves, but allow for donors to be compensated for things like medical risks, physical discomfort, and inconvenience. Others, like Maine, have no regulations on the process.
That means donor fees can range wildly, and some donors are compensated five digit fees as high as $60,000 — particularly donors who attend Ivy League schools. Typically, however, the range for a donor fee is closer to $5,000 to $10,000 for a single egg donation cycle, says Janene Olega, a reproduction lawyer from Maine. That compensation may increase if a donor agrees to additional cycles, she adds.
The Cost: $1,500 to $2,250
You need to set aside money for legal fees which will be used to put together a contract to protect both the rights of the donor and your rights as the intended parents. You will also be required to pay the legal fees for the donor who will need her own lawyer to review the contract.
If you need to go to court to establish your parental rights, you may also need to hire a lawyer. Unfortunately, parentage intent laid out in egg donor contracts is not necessarily enforceable in all states without a court order to enforce it, Hasenbush explains. Because donor eggs are not biologically related to the child’s mother, that can sometimes present a problem without proper legal steps.
The good news: If a judge declares a single parent or a couple parents of a child, that judgment is required by the US Constitution to stand in every state in the union!
Egg retrieval and fertility medicine
The Cost: $9,500 to $25,000
Medical fees for a fresh egg donation cycle will include the cost of screening the egg donor, the stimulation cycle and the egg retrieval.
First things first: In order to donate, all egg donors go through a number of health screenings, including infectious disease testing, genetic carrier screening and a physical exam. After these screenings, your doctor will either approve or decline an egg donor.
Your agency may have already done certain screenings as part of their fee, but depending on your situation, you may end up wanting additional testing — for example, if you or your partner are carriers of a genetic condition and you want to ensure your donor isn’t. Be sure to ask your agency upfront about what screening is included in their fee.
Egg donors then use injectable medications to help their ovaries produce mature eggs. The cost of injectable medications will depend on the dose of medication needed, but generally these medications cost at least $2,000.
Throughout the stimulation cycle, the egg donor will be seen for regular monitoring visits including ultrasounds and labs. The cost of the monitoring will depend on how many visits the donor needs throughout her cycle. Most stimulation cycles involve between 5-8 visits to the clinic for monitoring. Some clinics will charge a flat fee for the cycle and others will charge per monitoring visit.
When ready, an egg donor undergoes a medical procedure called an egg retrieval. During the egg retrieval, egg donors go under anesthesia (costing about $700) and a fertility physician removes eggs from her ovaries. The egg retrieval procedure can cost as much as $7,800, but costs will vary depending on your specific clinic.
Laboratory fees and embryo transfer
The Cost: $3,500 to $10,000
Yes, this is another large range. However, there are a few variables to consider.
For everyone using an egg donor to create embryos, after the egg retrieval, the eggs will be fertilized with sperm and grown into embryos in the laboratory. An embryo will then be transferred into the uterus of an intended parent and any extra embryos can be frozen for future use.
Post-retrieval, intended parents may spend about $3,500 to $5,000 for the laboratory fees associated with fertilization and culture of embryos. Some intended parents may choose to do genetic testing on embryos (PGT-A). Genetic testing may cost approximately $3,000 in addition, but that cost might depend on the number of embryos tested.
Finally, the mother-to-be will need to prepare her uterus for an embryo transfer. The cost of an embryo transfer, including medications, monitoring visits and the embryo transfer procedure may be around $5,000, depending on your specific clinic and the medications used.
You may also need to consider the costs of freezing extra embryos that aren’t used right away. The freezing fee may be approximately $2,000 with a storage cost of around $300-600 per year. You may not have extra embryos to freeze — but it’s good to keep the costs in mind ahead of time.
The cost of donor eggs through an egg donor bank
Some intended parents use a donor egg bank to find already frozen eggs. In that case, the donor egg bank will already have frozen eggs available. This means the donors have already gone through the medical screening process, stimulation cycle, retrieval and legal consultation.
The costs of using a donor egg bank are somewhat similar to using an agency. The egg bank covers the donor costs, then charges the potential parent or parents a fee.
Going this route is also a lot faster — after all, eggs are already frozen. But there are still fees to contend with.
Egg donor bank fee
The Cost: $2,400 to $6,000 (per egg)
If you’re going the route of using frozen donor eggs from an egg bank, the costs are a bit more straightforward.
An egg donor bank takes care of much of the work of screening donors, helping them through the process of taking medicines, egg retrieval, and even takes care of legal fees, and getting legal permission from the donor for the use of their eggs.
As an intended parent, you then pay the egg donor bank a fee, either per egg or batch of eggs, depending on the donor egg bank. This is different from going the agency route, where you pay for the donor’s individual cycle.
Are there any other fees?
Laboratory fees and embryo transfer
The Cost: $3,000 to $5,000
Similar to going with an agency, the donor’s medical fees aren’t the only ones to think about here!
Whether you opt to use an egg donor agency or an egg donor bank, you will also have to pay medical fees for the in vitro fertilization process, including medications that an intended parent will have to take, and the transfer process.
Will insurance cover egg donation?
The answer to this question is a tough one: while there are some insurers that cover fertility treatments for the intended parent, they may not cover egg donor cycles.
Right now just 19 states require insurers to cover fertility treatments in some capacity. Even in those states, the amount of coverage varies. In California, New York, and Louisiana, for example, insurers are not allowed to cover IVF, a procedure that is necessary for intended parents who have turned to egg donation.
You may want to start by calling your insurance company directly. If your employer supplies your health insurance, their human resources department may also be helpful in pointing you to parts of your policy that can help cover the costs of your fertility journey. If they don’t already cover it, consider pushing them for this benefit — you’d be surprised what a difference some persistence can make.
How can I get financial help for egg donation?
Even if health insurance doesn’t cover your fertility treatments or only covers a small portion of the costs, there are other options:
- Tax deductions — If your insurer hasn’t covered the costs of your fertility expenses, talk to your accountant. Some medical expenses for egg donation may be used as tax-write-offs, although there are limitations. For example, write-offs do not apply if the intended parents have used a gestational carrier to conceive.
- Grants and discounts — Yup, there is money out there to help intended parents achieve their dreams! There are grants available to folks who have served in the armed forces, money for those who live in specific states, and more.
Bottom Line: While there are costs involved in using an egg donor, the growing number of intended parents opting for this route means there are more and more options out there for you.
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