The egg donor program provides an integral option for treating women with infertility who otherwise would not be able to conceive on their own. We assist patients in the donor selection process, coordinate all screening and cycle monitoring for both donor and recipient, and provide education and support throughout the process. Our experienced staff will guide both the donor and recipient every step of the way.
What is involved in the Donor Egg Process? How does this differ from a regular IVF cycle?
- Once you and your physician have agreed to proceed with an egg donor cycle, you will start looking for a donor. This can be done through agencies or privately.
- Once a donor is selected, both the donor and intended parents must complete required screening tests as well as meet with a psychologist.
- Both the egg donor and the intended mother will start birth control pills approximately 2 months prior to the start of the cycle. A donor cycle takes about 1 month, and during this time the donor takes medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce many eggs and the intended mother takes medication to develop her endometrium (the lining of the uterus where the embryo implants).
- Both the donor and intended mother will be seen in the office several times during the cycle for monitoring visits that include blood tests and ultrasounds. The typical number of visits for the intended mother is about three and for the donor, approximately 4-6.
- The donor and intended mother are each doing a part of what is done by one person in a regular IVF cycle.
How do I know if this is the right treatment option for me?
There are numerous reasons why women may need donor eggs. Some of those situations include:
- Premature ovarian failure
- Genetic reasons
- Advanced age
- Surgical absence of the ovaries
- Failure to achieve pregnancy after multiple IVF cycles
- Poor ovarian response to hormonal stimulation
- Ovarian failure following chemotherapy or radiation
- Unexplained infertility
Your physician will advise you on whether finding an egg donor in the San Francisco Bay Area is the right option for you.
How do I get started?
Call to schedule a consultation with one of the IVF physicians.
The Kaiser Permanente Centers for Reproductive Health
Our Satellite Offices
Once you have met with a physician, you will be referred to the Donor Coordinator to get the process started.
How do I select a donor?
- You can select a known donor (a family member or friend) or work with an independent egg donor agency that provides anonymous donors. If you do not go through an agency, you must proceed with the help of an attorney familiar with the laws of egg donation to ensure that the proper legal documentation is in place prior to the start of the IVF cycle.
- Choosing a donor is a very personal decision and everyone will have different criteria.
- Many people try to choose a donor who physically resembles them (e.g. hair and eye color) and has a similar ethnic background. They may also look for someone who shares similar interests and personality characteristics.
How do I know the donor is healthy?
- Donor agencies recruit donors and do an initial intake to screen out those women who are not appropriate candidates.
- The agency also provides a psychological consultation with each prospective egg donor to make sure they are potentially suitable candidates for egg donation.
- Their fertility potential is assessed through an ultrasound and blood work that will be preformed and reviewed by your IVF physician.
- The donor's family history is reviewed by a genetic counselor to identify risks for heritable mental or physical disorders.
- All donors are screened for cystic fibrosis, Fragile X syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy and possible other genetic conditions based on their ethnic background.
- Thorough screening for infectious disease is performed. They will also be retested for infectious disease midway through their stimulation as required by the FDA.
How long does the selection process take?
Selecting a donor can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months or more depending on your criteria and the availability of donors.
How much will I know about the donor?
The donor agency will provide you with a detailed 20 to 30 page profile that contains information about the donor's family, medical and pregnancy history as well as her answers to some personality questions. In many cases, if she has donated before, information about the results of her past cycle(s) will also be available.
How much does this cost?
It is difficult to provide an average cost for a donor cycle because each case is unique. Costs will vary depending on whether you use an anonymous donor from an agency or a known donor. Also agency costs vary. Our financial coordinators will provide you with an estimate when you meet with them.
What is the success rate using donor eggs?
Please see our success rates as reported by the Society of Reproductive Technologies.
Do I keep contact with the donor afterwards?
No. Most donor cycles are anonymous and you never have contact with the donor. However, many agencies give donors and intended parents the option of meeting or not, according to their mutual preferences. The patient's preference takes precedence. No information will ever be disclosed about couples or donors.
How is this different than adoption?
With egg donation, a woman is able to experience pregnancy and childbirth. This also allows the man to be the biological father to his child. In addition, as the gestational carrier, you will ensure that you have the proper prenatal care and nutrition to ensure, to the best of your ability, that you are doing everything in your power to provide the best environment for your embryos.
How will I know if I'm ready?
Deciding whether or not to move forward with egg donation is a big decision, both emotionally and financially. We urge you to take your time to ensure that this is the best way for you to try to create your family. We can also refer you to counselors, who specialize in reproductive issues to help you decide if this is the right treatment option for you. This latter option may incur additional costs.