Egg Donation is a fertility treatment where a young, fertile woman (egg donor) donates some of her eggs to a recipient (intended parent) who is otherwise unable to get pregnant. For women, this may be due to advanced maternal age or infertility. Egg donation is also a way for gay men to build a family using an egg donor and a surrogate. The donated eggs are fertilized with the intended father’s or donor’s sperm and grown through the blastocyst stage to become an embryo. The embryo, either fresh or frozen, is then implanted into the recipient’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.
While using an egg donor and a surrogate is a popular option for gay men to become parents, there are also many reasons why women turn to egg donation to achieve pregnancy. We successfully work with intended parents who:
The combination of young eggs and optimal preparation of both the donor and intended mother or surrogate, makes egg donation a very successful fertility procedure with a live birth rate of 70% per transfer, at selected Pinnacle Fertility clinics
The process of egg donation requires that the components of a single IVF cycle be divided between the donor and the intended mother or surrogate. The donor undergoes the initial steps of IVF, including ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, and the intended mother undergoes the embryo transfer.
Once the donor’s eggs are mature, they are retrieved using the standard trans-vaginal ultrasound-guided method of follicle aspiration. The sperm is provided by either one of the intended parents, or a donor, and fertilization takes place in the laboratory. Alternatively, frozen sperm can be shipped to one of our clinics, where we then create the embryos by using donor eggs and provided sperm, and freeze them for use at a convenient time.
In the fresh egg donation cycle the donor’s and recipient’s menstrual cycles must have synchronized. We accomplish this by using a combination of birth control pills and Lupron. When the cycle begins, the medications required for a standard IVF cycle are administered to the egg donor, while the intended mother or surrogate takes a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for embryo implantation. However, with recent improvements in eggs and embryo freezing, we are now observing comparable pregnancy rates between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in embryo transfer scheduling.
Fertility patients and egg donors may have questions around the legal aspects of egg donation. Who owns the eggs? Can a donor try to reclaim embryos created from donated eggs? Can a donor petition the courts for access to a child resulting from an egg donation? Can a donor be legally required to take responsibility for a child that is born as a result of their donated eggs?
The practice of using donor eggs in fertility treatment has been around since the 1980s. Contracts protecting recipients and recognizing them as parents have consistently been upheld in courts. The rules apply to any eggs retrieved, embryos created using these eggs, and babies born from pregnancies that involve donor eggs. While we cannot guarantee that the laws won’t change, we have no reason to believe that the legality of egg donation is under threat.
You can learn more about legal considerations of egg donation in our blog, ‘Do egg donors have parental rights?’.
Egg donation doesn’t affect the egg donors’ ovarian reserve since the retrieved eggs would have been discarded by the donor’s body with the next menstruation.
In fresh egg donation, typically the embryo transfer is scheduled 3 or 5 days after the donor egg retrieval. The intended mother or surrogate continues to take estrogen and progesterone through the end of the first trimester to mimic the hormones produced by the ovary during natural conception. At the end of the first trimester (twelve weeks gestational age, or approximately ten weeks after the embryo transfer), the placenta produces the necessary hormones, and estrogen and progesterone supplementation is no longer required.
Alternatively, the embryo can be frozen and prepared for transfer at a later date.
All parties are represented by attorneys experienced in reproductive law in the United States throughout the egg donation process. These lawyers ensure that the agreements entered into are carefully drafted to comply with both state and federal laws and avoid any confusion or misinterpretation regarding the rights, responsibilities, or intent of all parties.
In the United States, egg donation can be anonymous, and most intended parents and donors choose that and will never meet. The confidentiality will always be upheld by the egg donation agency and medical clinic. In anonymous egg donation, recipients will have access to medical information and photos as necessary to select a donor, but not any personal information that would help them identify or locate the egg donor. The donor will not have any information about the intended parents.
Patients who wish to use donor eggs from someone they know (directed or known egg donation) should seek counsel from an attorney who specializes in reproductive law to avoid potential complications.
We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. If you are ready to begin your journey to parenthood through using donor eggs or would like to find out more about donating your eggs, please contact us online or call our egg donation coordinator on 424-385-0100.
You can view profiles of our exceptional and fully screened egg donors, available for fresh and frozen cycles,
online at Pinnacle Egg Bank.
We work with exceptional, fully medically and psychologically screened egg donors to offer highest quality frozen donor eggs.