There are many questions our patients ask as they explore the option of egg donation. Following are some of the most common questions we receive:
Who is a candidate for IVF using donated eggs?
Candidates for egg donation include married or single women with one or more of the following conditions: premature ovarian failure, malfunction of the reproductive organs, chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, removal of the ovaries, or radiation to the ovaries. Finally, IVF patients who have had a poor response to stimulation or poor quality eggs, may also be candidates.
How does the process work?
Your initial consultation will include a meeting with one of the physicians to review your medical history and may include a physical exam, blood testing, ultrasound, and urine cultures. On that day, or a later date you will also be scheduled to meet with a nurse coordinator to review the program in detail, discuss the required testing (link below to recipient screening tests) for you and your partner and to schedule your consultation with our psychologist. Your visit will conclude with a financial consultation to review the cycle costs, insurance reimbursement and payment schedules. Allow approximately 3 hours for this initial visit.
What are the Recipient Screening Tests?
Standard testing per the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines include screening for sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV, antisperm antibodies, and hormonal evaluations, among others. The uterine cavity will be evaluated using several methods to ensure its receptivity at the time of embryo transfer. One such method is a preparatory cycle (prep cycle) that hormonally mimics a natural menstrual cycle. Since pregnancy puts added stress on a woman's body, if you are 44 or older, you will need to obtain medical clearance before starting in our program and may need to do some additional testing.
How do I select my donor?
Donors can be either known (family member/friend) or anonymous. Anonymous donors are available to you once you have consulted with the medical director and expressed your desire to be part of the Donor Egg Program. There will be a waiting period, which will vary according to your place on our waiting list and your donor requirements. Donors are offered to recipients who have completed their screening tests or are near completion. If you are offered a donor with whom you do not feel appropriately matched, you may refuse that donor and wait for the next available one without compromising your position on the waiting list. The donor you rejected will be offered to the next couple on our list. Any special requests you may have for a donor should be noted on your history form and should be brought to the attention of the nurse coordinator.
What are RMA's egg donor criteria?
Donors must undergo extensive physical and psychological testing before they are accepted into our program. Anonymous donors must be 21-32 years of age. It is important to note that known donors, regardless of their age, must have sufficient ovarian function to respond adequately to stimulation. A woman may donate a maximum of 6 times. If you choose to use an anonymous donor you will be given a self-reported complete medical history of the donor and her family as well as a thorough description of her physical characteristics.
How much does a donor egg cycle cost?
IVF using donated eggs can be quite expensive. First, the recipient of the eggs must pay for the blood tests, medications and ultrasounds for both parties. Then the donor receives $8,000 compensation for donating. Depending on the recipient's insurance, some of these fees may not be covered. If insurance does not cover any of these expenses, one cycle of IVF with donor egg can cost over $20,000.
What kind of person becomes an egg donor?
Many different types of women chose to become donors. Often, the donor is a young mother or a full-time student who finds donation a way to supplement her income and satisfy her unselfish desires at the same time. All donors undergo thorough screening before being accepted into the program. For more information on donor screening click here.
What about ovum/egg donor brokers? What are they and why would I want to use one?
Here at RMA, we carefully recruit and screen young women who meet our stringent criteria. Some recipients may prefer to use an outside agency to select a donor. This is certainly an option and we will work with outside agencies. These agencies may have carefully screened their applicants, or they may not have done screening at all. In these cases, we will review the donor's records and if necessary, we may request that the donor undergo additional testing.
Can I use my friend/sister/niece/etc to be my egg donor?
Yes, provided that she undergoes the same screening tests (HIV, hepatitis, psychological screening, etc) that any other donor would undergo.
I don't have a uterus. Can I have another woman carry my baby?
Yes, she would be called a "gestational carrier". In many cases like this, the patient may have a friend or relative who is willing to carry the pregnancy. Both women would need to undergo screening and evaluation, and then their hormonal cycles would need to be synchronized much like a donor egg cycle. We have extensive experience with these specialized cases and evaluate each case individually.