Learn everything you need to know about using donated eggs, their success rates, selecting the right donor to start your family, and more…
Although many are familiar with the concept of sperm banks, fewer are as informed regarding egg banks. Like sperm banks, egg banks are facilities that vet egg donors and store eggs for use by individuals or couples hoping to conceive with donated eggs.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through the basics of using donated eggs, from egg donor requirements to the process of using frozen eggs to success rates and whether using donor eggs could be right for you.
Who uses donated eggs?
Often, people interested in using donated eggs have been trying to conceive for a while, without success.
People who may opt for using donated eggs include:
Same-sex couples or male individuals who plan on using a surrogate and want to select an egg that mirrors their own genetic profile
Women whose attempts to conceive using their own eggs have been unsuccessful
Women who’ve undergone cancer treatments or other medical procedures that have made it difficult or impossible to conceive with their own eggs
Women whose ovaries have been surgically removed
Women with a history of genetic disorders who don’t want to risk passing them down to their children (especially x-linked disorders)
Women who’ve gone through early menopause or have experienced ovarian failure
Women whose eggs are damaged, low in numbers, or otherwise not viable for conception due to age or other factors
Is using donated eggs safe?
Yes! Eggs and donors go through a variety of assessments to ensure they are healthy and unlikely to carry genetic diseases that could be passed on to you, your surrogate, or your child. Egg donation itself is linked with minimal risk to the egg donor.
Vetting process for egg donors
The number and quality of assessments can vary between egg banks. That’s why we at IMA ART Fertility have pre-selected egg banks that we refer our clients to, so they know they’re in the very best of hands.
Some of the screening processes prospective donors go through before donation include:
Providing an extensive family tree and medical history (to explore risk of birth defects and hereditary diseases)
Genetic screenings for specific conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia
IMA ART Fertility adheres to the regulations and guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, alongside our own standards for donor selection and approval. Each egg bank we work with has been rigorously vetted to ensure they also meet our standard of excellence.
The process of collecting and using donor eggs
Once approved, the donor undergoes the egg donation process. Similar to an IVF cycle, this process begins with the donor taking medications to stimulate egg production. These medications help stimulate the production of multiple eggs during the donor’s cycle.
Once the timing is appropriate, the reproductive endocrinologist will begin egg retrieval. Using a thin needle, the eggs will be gently collected with minimal to no side effects for the donor.
If the intended parent or parents have opted to use fresh eggs and matched with an egg donor prior to retrieval, some of the eggs will then undergo fertilization (using traditional IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection). After fertilization, the egg (now an embryo) will be transferred into the uterus of the intended mother or surrogate.
If the egg is being donated without a pre-selected match, then the egg will be frozen and safely stored till the right parent comes along.
Choices for future parents considering using an egg donor
If you’re choosing to use an egg donor, you have a few options to consider along your path to parenthood.
Selecting an egg donor
Many parents prefer selecting a donor who looks similar to them so there’s a greater likelihood of your baby sharing your features. You’ll be able to review prospective donor’s health information alongside their physical makeup. Depending on the egg donor program, you may be able to see a photo of the donor, although this option is not always available.
You’ll want to carefully consider what genetic features matter most to you, so you can find a donor who’s the best match for you.
Fresh vs. Frozen eggs
Another option you’ll have is the choice between using fresh eggs and frozen eggs. Fresh eggs are often more expensive, as it requires synchronizing cycles between donor and recipient. This means that eggs are not frozen, but rather are fertilized and transferred to the intended mother or surrogate within a few days of collection. Frozen eggs are the most frequently used, as they don’t require aligning schedules between the donor and recipient.
Research reported by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology suggests that fresh eggs have a marginally higher rate of success compared to frozen eggs. They found the rate for live births from fresh eggs was about 44.7% compared to 40.5% with frozen eggs.  That being said, hundreds of babies have been born from both frozen and fresh eggs and there are unique advantages to either choice you make.
Saving eggs for the future
If you feel you may want to have another child in the future, you can choose to preserve more eggs from the same donor. In this way, you can ensure all your children share the same genetic history.
Protecting your legal rights as parents
One of the most important steps to consider in using an egg donor is protecting your rights as parents. You’ll want to have your attorney carefully review the contracts to make sure the donor waives all parental rights, so you don’t have to worry about anything coming up in the future.
Reproductive law is highly complex, which is why we at IMA ART Fertility provide our clients with access to the world’s leading experts in reproductive law and surrogacy insurance.
Success rates for pregnancies from donated eggs
One of the biggest benefits of using donor eggs is that they give women who are more advanced in age or unable to conceive with their own eggs the opportunity to carry their child into the world themselves. This is because most egg donors are in the 20s or early 30s, when the health and viability of their egg reserves have the most potential.
Although success depends on numerous factors, the percentage of live births donor eggs with IVF typically ranges from 52% to 75% at the top clinics, according to numbers published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). [2, 3]
IMA ART’s commitment to excellence
At IMA ART, we’ve worked hard to cultivate a network of the most well-respected, experienced, and knowledgeable experts in assisted reproductive technologies, reproductive law, and surrogacy insurance. We take personal pride in providing our clients with an unparalleled experience that features the height of luxury fertility concierge services, where you can trust that you’re in the best of hands every step of the way.
Our founder Michelle Tang will personally guide you every step of the way and will custom-create and manage your entire fertility care plan so you can relax and enjoy the journey to parenthood.
Ready to get started?
Email our fertility concierge team to learn more.