More and more families are turning to donor IVF to have children. If you are considering using donor eggs as part of your fertility treatment, you are likely weighing the potential pros and cons of this option. Let’s go over egg donor IVF and some of the main pros and cons of using donor eggs.
What is egg donor IVF?
Egg donation is a process in which a woman (called a donor) provides her eggs to be used by another family. The eggs are retrieved from the donor's ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting. The resulting embryos are then transferred to the uterus of the woman who will carry the pregnancy (called the recipient) or a gestational carrier. Egg donation can be an option for women who are unable to produce their own eggs or who have eggs of poor quality. It can also be an option for same-sex male couples or single men who want to have a child using a surrogate.
The egg donation process typically involves several steps. First, the donor undergoes medical and psychological screening to determine if she is a suitable candidate for donation. This includes a physical exam, blood tests, and a review of medical and family history. The donor is also required to undergo psychological counseling to ensure that she is emotionally prepared for the process.
Next, the donor is given fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. The eggs are then retrieved through a surgical procedure called oocyte retrieval, which is performed under sedation or general anesthesia. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the recipient's uterus. If the transfer is successful, the recipient will carry the pregnancy to term and give birth to the child.
Egg donation is a complex and often emotional process, and it is important for both the donor and the recipient to carefully consider the legal, financial, and emotional implications of the decision. It is also important for both parties to work with a reputable fertility clinic and egg donation agency (like Cofertility) to ensure that all necessary medical, legal, and ethical guidelines are followed.
Now, let’s review some of the pros and cons to using donor eggs.
- First and foremost is the chance to have a baby! Donor egg IVF has a high success rate. Many women who use donor eggs achieve pregnancy and give birth to healthy babies.
- Using donor eggs can allow women who are older (over 40) or who have experienced age-related fertility decline to have a child. Donor eggs may also be an option for women who have certain health conditions that affect their fertility, such as premature menopause or damaged ovaries.
- Donor egg IVF allows women who can’t use their own eggs the meaningful opportunity to carry a pregnancy. With donor eggs, most women can still carry a healthy pregnancy and breastfeed.
- Donor eggs can be used by LGBTQ+ couples who wish to have a child that is genetically related to one of them.
- Children born through egg donation live happy, normal lives. We now have evidence that both donor-conceived children (from early childhood to adolescence) and their parents are psychologically well adjusted and do not differ from families with spontaneously or own-gamete conceived children. (That being said, there are some parenting best-practices you should know!)
- Donor egg IVF can be expensive, with costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. Some insurance plans may cover some or all of the costs, but it is important to check with your insurance provider or employer to understand your coverage.
- Using donor eggs involves a number of legal considerations, including contracts between you with the donor. One thing the contract outlines is the expected relationship and when/if/how your donor-conceived child can know more about the donor. It is important to understand these issues before proceeding with donor egg IVF. If you work with Cofertility, we will ensure you and the egg donor have excellent legal representation and a sound contract.
- Using donor eggs can involve complex emotional considerations, such as feelings of loss or grief for some people. It is important to discuss these emotions with a mental health professional before proceeding with donor egg IVF.
Finding an egg donor
There are a number of ways to find a donor, including using a donor egg agency or searching online databases. It is important to carefully research and consider your options before making a decision. At Cofertility, you can create a free account to begin your journey. 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.
From end to end, we take a more human approach to egg donation. Our pre-qualified donors are ambitious, kind, and excited to help your family. We’re ready to make your parenting dreams a reality.
Halle Tecco is a healthcare founder and investor, and women's health advocate. She previously founded Rock Health and then Natalist (acquired by Everly Health). She is a Board Director at Resolve and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School. Halle received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her MPH from Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in Women’s and Reproductive Health. Education - Bachelor of Science (BS) from Case Western Reserve University - Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Johns Hopkins University - Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business School Certifications & Accomplishments - Advisor at Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics since 2014 - Board Member of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association since 2022 - Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business 2023 - Goldman Sachs Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs - San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40 - Forbes 30 Under 30 - Business Insider 30 under 40 in Healthcare - Has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC - Has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival, CES, TechCrunch Disrupt, and was a SXSW Keynote speaker
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