Egg sharing programs exist worldwide to help make fertility care more accessible. Egg sharing generally describes when a donor undergoes an egg retrieval, and the resulting eggs are split between the donor and the intended parent(s). The family receiving the donor eggs pays for the egg retrieval and all associated expenses.
In Cofertility’s Split program, donors can freeze their eggs for free when they donate half of the retrieved eggs to a family who can’t otherwise conceive. Families pursuing egg donation to build their family can match with an egg donor on our Family by Co platform.
Egg sharing programs provide an opportunity for egg donors to contribute to the fertility journey of others while also receiving a benefit for their own future family planning. In this guide, we will explore the concept of egg sharing and all the relevant information you need to know.
What is egg donation sharing?
Egg donation sharing is a process when an egg donor agrees to donate half of her retrieved eggs to another couple or individual undergoing IVF. In traditional egg donation, the donor's eggs are exclusively given to the intended parents. However, in egg sharing, the donor has the opportunity to use some of the eggs retrieved for her own future family planning.
Egg sharing IVF
Egg sharing IVF is similar to traditional IVF in that the retrieved eggs are fertilized in a lab with the partner's or donor sperm, and then transferred to the intended mother's uterus. In egg sharing IVF, the donor's half of the retrieved eggs will be used for the intended parents, and the other half will be reserved for the donor's own use. Sometimes donors keep their eggs frozen for years, and other times they have them immediately fertilized and turned into embryos.
Egg sharing pros and cons
Pro: more affordable
One of the biggest advantages of egg sharing is that it allows for more affordable access to IVF for intended parents. Additionally, egg sharing can be a good option for egg donors who want to help others and also want to have the option to use some of their eggs for their own family planning in the future.
Pro: less icky
Our unique model empowers women to take control of their own reproductive health while giving you the gift of a lifetime. Our donors aren’t doing it for cash – they keep half the eggs retrieved for their own future use, and donate half to your family.
Why is cash compensation problematic? A 2021 Harvard study found that 62% of donor-conceived adults felt the exchange of money for donor gametes was wrong, and 41% were troubled by the fact that money was exchanged around their conception. By allowing our donors to freeze their eggs as part of the process, our unique model honors everyone involved.
Pro: better for everyone involved
Our model empowers donors to preserve their own fertility, while lifting you up on your own journey. It’s a win-win.
Con: there are still risks
Egg freezing is considered a safe procedure. In a single egg freezing cycle, the risk of a serious adverse event is under 2.5%. Severe OHSS accounts for the majority of complications, occuring in 0.1-2% of cycles. The risk of other acute complications, including pelvic infection, intraperitoneal hemorrhage, or ovarian torsion, is small (<0.5%).
That being said, many women do experience minor side effects – like bloating, constipation, nausea – from the medications and egg retrieval.
Egg sharing criteria
Our team screens donors through a rigorous, multi-step process to ensure each person is qualified and prepared to become an egg donor, going above and beyond FDA and ASRM-recommended screening guidelines. Before donors can be listed on our platform, we review their personal and family medical history and collect information on their lifestyle and behavioral habits. Most importantly, we meet 1:1 with every donor to get at the core of who she is as a person — her values, her goals, her personality. This allows us to provide you with the most thoughtful match possible.
Once you move forward with a match, the donor will undergo a physical examination, psychological evaluation, and full genetic screen. Your doctor will review these results and give us the green light to move forward. We will also ensure that donors are screened for background and education checks.
What are the costs of egg sharing?
The cost of egg sharing can vary depending on the fertility clinic and the specific program. However, in general, the cost of egg sharing is less than traditional egg donation, as there is no cash compensation to the donor.
A journey with Cofertility will cost around $27,500.
- Match deposit: $500
- Cofertility’s Coordination Fee: $7,500
- Administrative fees: ~$5,500
- Medical expenses associated with the donor’s screening and retrieval: can vary by clinic but are typically around $14,000
For a more detailed breakdown, view our pricing page.
While cycle administrative fees are non-refundable, our one-time Cofertility Coordination Fee comes with a baby guarantee. This means that if anything happens that prevents you from a live birth, we’ll re-match you at no additional Cofertility fee until you bring your baby home.
What the data says about egg sharing
There is limited data on the success rates of egg sharing compared to traditional egg donation. However, some studies have suggested that egg sharing may result in higher success rates because the donor's eggs are being used in her own treatment cycle, meaning she may be more invested in the outcome.
This study of 276 egg-sharing cycles concluded that egg sharing “provides a good opportunity for recipients and egg-sharing donors to achieve a live birth”. Specifically, the study found that by sharing (donating) their eggs with another family, the egg sharers did not reduce their chances of pregnancy and live birth.
“Those patients participating in an egg-sharing programme are providing a valuable resource of donor eggs,” the authors noted, “while not compromising their own treatment outcome or putting themselves at any additional risk of complications”.
At Cofertility, the average number of mature eggs a family receives and fertilizes is 10. Some intended parents want to do two egg retrievals with the donor which is definitely possible. We also ask each of our donors whether they are open to a second cycle as part of the initial application — many report that they are!
You can see how many eggs are retrieved in the first cycle and go from there. If, for any reason, the eggs retrieved in that round do not lead to a live birth, our baby guarantee will kick in and we’ll re-match you at no additional Cofertility coordination fee.
Will I regret egg sharing?
While some egg donors report feeling a sense of pride and fulfillment from helping others build their families, others may experience feelings of regret or sadness. We have found that people who donate their eggs as part of an egg sharing program are less likely to feel regret.
In fact, egg share donors usually feel that egg sharing was a win-win solution for donors and recipients alike. One study found egg share donors are happy with their decision, and 83.3% would donate again. Only 2.1% regretted their decision to participate.
Donor egg recipients
Ask anyone who has had a child, born with or without some type of assistance, and they will all tell you the same thing: parenting is the greatest - yet hardest - thing they have ever done. It doesn’t matter how the child came into their lives, the role and relationship of parent and child is the same.
When working with parents who had donor conceived children, we have found their only real regret was they wished they had done this sooner. They wished they had let go of their preconceived notions that a baby who looks like them or who shares their genes is the only way to be a parent. That bringing a child into their lives using alternative methods means the child won’t see them as their real parent, or that they will not bond.
Egg sharing programs near me
We work with families and egg donors around the world! Cofertility is unique in that we are clinic-agnostic, as long as the clinic reports outcomes to SART and has a CAP certified lab. Some clinics have specific requirements related to working with outside donors and have policies in place for how they handle those cases. If you already have a clinic in mind, reach out to our team and we can send a list of questions that we recommend you ask them before getting started.
Best egg sharing program
We aim to be the best egg-sharing program, providing an experience that honors, respects, and uplifts everyone involved. Here’s what sets us apart:
- Human-centered. We didn’t like the status quo in egg donation. So we’re doing things differently, starting with our human-centered matching platform.
- Donor empowerment. Our model empowers donors to preserve their own fertility, while lifting you up on your own journey. It’s a win-win.
- Diversity: We’re proud of the fact that the donors on our platform are as diverse as the intended parents seeking to match with them. We work with intended parents to understand their own cultural values — including regional nuances — in hopes of finding them the perfect match.
- Baby guarantee. We truly want to help you bring your baby home, and we will re-match you for free until that happens.
- Lifetime support: Historically, other egg donation options have treated egg donor matching as a one-and-done experience. Beyond matching, beyond a pregnancy, beyond a birth…we believe in supporting the donor-conceived family for life. Our resources and education provide intended parents with the guidance they need to raise happy, healthy kids and celebrate their origin stories.
We are obsessed with improving the family-building journey — today or in the future — and are in an endless pursuit to make these experiences more positive. Create a free account to get started today!
Lauren Makler is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cofertility, a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience. Previously, as an early Uber employee, Lauren founded Uber Health, a product that enables healthcare organizations to leverage Uber’s massive driver network in improving healthcare outcomes through patient transportation and healthcare delivery. Under her leadership, the business helped millions of patients get to the care they needed. Prior to that, Lauren spent the early years at Uber launching the core business throughout the east coast and led the company’s first experiment in healthcare, national on demand flu shot campaigns. After a rare disease diagnosis, Lauren’s fertility journey led her to believe that everyone should have the opportunity to freeze their eggs–and that there should be better access to egg donors. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their miracle baby girl. She was named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business in 2023 and recieved her BA from Northeastern University in Organizational Communication.
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