If you are considering using a surrogate and an egg donor to help you start or grow your family, the order in which you find a surrogate or egg donor will depend on your individual circumstances and needs. In this guide, we’ll go over a few things to consider when deciding whether to find a surrogate or an egg donor first.
Surrogacy vs. egg donation
Surrogacy is a process in which a woman carries and delivers a child for someone else. If you are considering using a gestational carrier (aka surrogate), you will likely need to work with an agency to help match with someone who has been pre-qualified to carry your child. You will also need to work through the legal and medical aspects of surrogacy, including the surrogacy agreement and the medical screening and evaluation process.
An egg donor is a woman who donates her eggs to another person or couple. If you are considering using an egg donor, you will need to match with an egg donor who is willing to donate her eggs to you. You will also need to consider the medical and legal aspects of using an egg donor, including the egg donor agreement and the medical screening, evaluation, and retrieval process.
Who would need both a surrogate and egg donor?
There are lots of cases where families need both a gestational carrier and egg donor to have a child. Here are a few examples:
- Infertility: Some individuals or couples may be unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term due to infertility. In these cases, they may consider using both a surrogate and an egg donor to help them increase their chances of having a child.
- Single individuals: Some single individuals, especially those born male, may consider using a surrogate and an egg donor, along with their own sperm or donor sperm, to help them become parents.
- LGBTQ+ couples: Some same-sex couples may consider using a surrogate and an egg donor to help them become parents. For example, a gay male couple may use a surrogate and an egg donor to carry and give birth to a child that is genetically related to one of the men.
- Medical conditions: Some individuals or couples may have medical conditions that prevent them from getting pregnant, undergoing IVF, and/or carrying a pregnancy to term. In these cases, they may consider using both a surrogate to carry their child for them.
So which comes first, egg donor or surrogate?
In most cases, we recommend starting by matching with an egg donor. Many surrogacy agencies cannot sign up families who do not yet have healthy embryos to transfer. This is because gestational carriers are in high demand and they don’t want to wait months after matching in order to start the transfer process. On the other hand, once you have embryos made through donor eggs, those can be frozen and used at any point in the future.
You could also begin the search for a gestational carrier and an egg donor at the same time, knowing that the waitlist for a gestational carrier is far longer than the process to get donor eggs.
How long does it take to match with an egg donor?
The timeline can vary, but in total the process from match to cycle with Cofertility is generally be two to four months. Once you create a free account, you’ll gain access to our matching platform and can start to learn more about our donors. After you match with a Split member (who will be freezing her eggs and donating half to your family), we begin the process of scheduling her screening and testing with your clinic, which generally takes a few weeks. Once your doctor gives the go-ahead, we’d set a date for the cycle at a time that is mutually convenient.
You may decide to fertilize the embryos as soon as the eggs are retrieved or you can freeze the eggs and thaw them to be fertilized at a later date. If you do create embryos at the time of retrieval, they can be frozen in storage until you match with a surrogate or are ready to move forward with the transfer.
How long does it take to match with a surrogate?
The process of matching with a surrogate varies in length and may depend on a variety of factors, including the location and availability of surrogates, the intended parents' preferences and requirements, and the legal and medical requirements involved in the surrogacy process based on your state. In general, the process of finding a surrogate may take several months to a year.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to find a surrogate or an egg donor first will depend on your individual circumstances and needs. It may be helpful to speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action for your situation.
Cofertility is a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg donation experience. Our Family by Co platform serves as a more transparent, ethical egg donor matching platform. Create a free account today!
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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