Donor Cycle FAQ

How do I know if the egg donor program is the right treatment option for me?

There are numerous reasons why women may consider egg donation including:

  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Menopause
  • Genetic reasons
  • Advanced age (over 44 years old)
  • 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

Your provider will advise you on whether finding an egg donor is the right option for you.

How do I get started with the egg donor program (as an intended mother and/or donor)?

Call to schedule a consultation. Once you have met with a provider, you will be referred to the Donor Coordinator to get the process started.

How do I select an egg donor?

You can select a known donor (e.g., family member or friend) or work with an independent egg donor agency that provides access to anonymous donors. If you do not go through an agency, it is recommended that you seek the advice 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 will I know if the egg donor is healthy?

Donor agencies recruit donors and do an initial intake to screen out 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.

Your IVF provider will assess the donor’s fertility potential with a pelvic ultrasound (to check the number of antral follicles) and fertility hormone blood tests. The donor’s family history is reviewed by a genetic counselor to identify potential risks for medical disorders that can be inherited.

All donors are screened for cystic fibrosis, Fragile X syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, and possible other genetic conditions based on their ethnic background. Donors are routinely screened with a panel of genetic tests (expanded genetic carrier screening).

Thorough screening for infectious diseases is performed. They will also be retested for infectious disease midway through their stimulation, as required by the Food and Drug Administration.

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 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.

What is the success rate using donor eggs?

Our statistics are reported by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and may be reviewed on their website.

Can I keep in contact with the donor afterwards?

No. Most donor cycles are anonymous, and you may never have direct contact with the donor. However, many agencies give donors and intended parents the option of meeting if they wish to do so. Your preference takes precedence. No information will ever be disclosed about the intended parent(s) or donors.

How is this different from adoption?

With egg donation, a woman may experience pregnancy and childbirth. If applicable, this also allows your husband, or male partner, to be the biological father to your child.

How will I know if I’m ready?

Deciding to move forward with egg donation is a big decision, both emotionally and financially. We urge you to take your time to ensure that you feel comfortable proceeding with this treatment. 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 involve additional costs.

Please speak to a member of the IVF care team about any questions or concerns not addressed here.

Source: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Department, The Permanente Medical Group