In traditional egg donation, the donor's eggs are given to the intended parents in exchange for cash compensation. However, in the increasingly popular egg sharing model, the donor has the opportunity to keep half of the eggs retrieved for her own future family planning.
At Cofertility, we exclusively work under the egg sharing model, which we call Split, because we think it’s better for everyone involved – the intended parents, the egg donor, and ultimately the donor-conceived child. In this article, we will explore six reasons why we think egg sharing is a better model for egg donation, focusing on benefits such as increased donor commitment, the absence of financial implications, and a more diverse pool of potential donors.
1. Donors have a personal stake in the outcomes, increasing donor commitment
One significant advantage of the egg sharing model is that donors have a personal stake in the outcomes. When donors contribute a portion of their eggs in exchange for their own IVF treatment down the line, they are invested not only in helping intended parents but also in achieving their own fertility goals. This shared interest leads to a greater sense of commitment and dedication from the donors, potentially resulting in higher-quality eggs and improved success rates.
2. Cash compensation models can lead some egg donors to conceal relevant medical information
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) published specific guidance regarding egg donor compensation in 2021. In this guidance, they acknowledge that excessive monetary compensation could create the possibility of undue inducement and exploitation of egg donors.
The guidance points out, “Women may agree to provide oocytes based on their financial need. High levels of compensation also could lead some prospective donors to conceal medical information relevant to their own health or that of their genetic offspring in order to be more likely to be selected for oocyte donation.”
However, in the egg sharing model, where the focus is on shared outcomes rather than financial gain, donors may be more likely to disclose any pertinent medical information, ensuring the best possible match and reducing the risk of undisclosed medical issues that may impact the intended parents or the resulting child's well-being.
3. Most donor-conceived people feel the exchange of money for donor eggs is wrong
In the context of egg sharing, compensation is not based on financial transactions. Instead, it focuses on the shared goal of success for both parties. This approach eliminates the potential discomfort and ickiness often associated with cash compensation, and avoids the perception of treating eggs as commodities.
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. This is why we created our Split program. This 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.
By removing financial incentives, the process becomes more meaningful and preserves the dignity of all parties involved.
4. We’re able to recruit a more diverse pool of donors
Our model not only empowers our donors by giving them control over their own fertility, but it also enables us to recruit a truly exceptional group of donors. Our donors are motivated by the opportunity to help others start their families while also taking charge of their own reproductive futures. By offering this unique Split model, we have been able to attract a diverse and talented group of women who are passionate about helping others and committed to making a difference in the world.
5. Donors get to proactively invest in their own reproductive future
Egg sharing allows donors to actively invest in their own reproductive future while helping intended parents fulfill their dreams of having a child. By keeping half of the eggs retrieved, egg donors are proactively taking steps to preserve their fertility options and increase their chances of successful pregnancies in the future. This dual benefit of participating in the egg sharing model enables donors to make a meaningful investment in their own reproductive health, while simultaneously providing hope and support to intended parents who are seeking to build their families. It empowers donors to take control of their reproductive journey and make decisions that align with their long-term family planning goals.
6. Donors are happy with their decision
One compelling reason to consider egg sharing is the high level of donor satisfaction and positive experiences reported by individuals who have participated in this model. According to one study, the vast majority of egg share donors are happy with their decision. In fact, a significant majority of egg share donors, 83.3%, said they would even donate again.
This statistic reflects the positive impact and personal fulfillment donors experience through their participation in the egg sharing process. Only 2.1% regret their decision, underscoring the fact that the decision to participate in egg sharing is often met with a sense of satisfaction, knowing that their contribution has made a meaningful difference in someone else's life. The positive feedback from donors highlights the mutually beneficial nature of the egg sharing model, reinforcing the notion that it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for all parties involved.
Cofertility - striving to be the 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:
- Baby guarantee. We truly want to help you bring your baby home, and we will re-match you for free until that happens.
- 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 about 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.