FAQs about Donor Egg Treatment

22nd June 2017

Donor egg treatment, for women who are unable to user their own eggs for conception but can still carry a child, is one of the most successful forms of fertility treatment at Shady Grove Fertility. Through an anonymous egg donor, an individual or couple can receive the precious gift of life along with the unique experience of selecting the perfect donor egg to fit your family.

Here are some questions most commonly asked, in order to provide you with a better understanding of the egg donation process at SGF.

What do most women look for in an egg donor?

At Shady Grove Fertility, before women are permitted to donate their eggs to the intended parent, they undergo extensive screening to evaluate medical, physical, genetic, and psychological health. The potential egg donors must fall between the ages of 21-32 and are required to be nonsmokers (among many other stringent criteria).

You, as the recipient, have the unparalleled opportunity to explore the potential egg donors’ interests, talents, and passions to help you make your choice. Gilbert Mottla, M.D., SGF’s Ireland Programme Director, explains “Choosing an egg donor is a truly unique life opportunity. You as the recipient have the chance to potentially give your child a gift that you may have not been able to give otherwise. Most couples look for a donor with similar physical characteristics, but there may be opportunity to pass along aptitudes or abilities possessed by your donor. If you are athletically challenged or math challenged, you have the ability to choose a donor that may have those attributes in their DNA. Choose an engineer, choose an athlete, choose a musician. Try to find that gift you want to give your child and your choice of donors may just do that.”

Additionally, the egg donors are required to write an essay, which many recipients connect with on an emotional level and may help guide the decision.

Frozen vs. fresh eggs: what’s the difference?

Once you’ve decided that egg donation is the best option for you to have a healthy pregnancy, you may choose between using frozen eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA or using fresh eggs from an anonymous SGF donor. Our physicians have found that the success rates for both fresh and frozen eggs, in addition to their health after being born, are growing closer over the years. One of the main differences between the two is that there are typically travel expenses associated with frozen eggs, since they may be shipped out-of-state, whereas fresh eggs from SGF are from local egg donors.

What is Donor Egg Bank USA?

Shady Grove Fertility first recognized the need for eggs to be frozen after extra eggs were left at the end of donors’ cycles. The Donor Egg Bank USA was started at SGF, but was repurposed to reach out to other centers across the country in order to provide a more extensive database that gives patients more options. We work with Donor Egg Bank USA in an effort to offer an alternative for egg donor recipients to choose from. Donors from the Egg Bank are anonymous and screened the same way that fresh egg donors are at SGF.

Can I afford egg donation?

Shared Risk 100% Refund Program – SGF takes pride in the Shared Risk Program available to both IVF (in vitro fertilization) patients and donor egg treatment alike. This program allows up to six donor egg treatment cycles for a fixed fee and offers a full refund if you don’t take a baby home. Donor egg treatment costs range between $15,000 and $50,000. Our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program gives you a financial safety net, should a pregnancy be unsuccessful.

Shared Donor Egg Program – Many times, a woman will produce up to 20 to 30 eggs, all of which are not needed for one egg donor recipient. In Shared Donor Egg, the donor can choose to share these eggs with one or two other couples, reducing costs by 50% and sharing the gift of pregnancy with ever grateful couples.

Can I put more than one embryo back to ensure a successful pregnancy?

“We are strong advocates for only transferring one embryo at a time in many patients. Our goal is always to promote a normal, healthy single pregnancy,” says Dr. Mottla. “Transferring two embryos does give a slightly higher pregnancy rate at the risk of promoting a significantly higher twin and multiple rate. Unfortunately, twin pregnancies experience a higher rate of complications including early delivery, breathing problems, intensive care unit stays and more overall miscarriages as well as medical complications in the pregnant patient. In the end, success is achieved when we help accomplish both a healthy delivered baby and a healthy new mother.” If you are looking to grow your family by more than one child, we recommend you consider the 1:1 donor program to hopefully have ‘leftover’ frozen embryos that you can use to have siblings.

Donor egg treatment makes parenthood possible and your care team will be you every step of the way to answer any of your questions.

Learn more about our International Donor Egg Programme by emailing our International Patient Liaison, Amanda Segal.


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