More Fair and Affordable Egg Donation: Pricing Structure of CHR’s Standard Donor Egg Program (SDEP)
CHR’s Standard Egg Donor Program (SDEP) has an innovative egg donation fee structure that is fair to both donors and recipients. In our program, egg donors are reimbursed based on the number of eggs they produce, while intended parents pay for donor eggs based on the number of mature eggs they decide to receive from the donor.
In most IVF centers performing fresh egg donor cycles, recipients pay a set fee for each egg donation cycle, regardless of the number of eggs they receive. At a fertility clinic or IVF clinic with this kind of fee structure, some recipients whose donors happen to produce only a small number of eggs in a cycle end up paying a much higher average cost per egg. Meanwhile, other recipients end up with far more eggs for their donor IVF treatment for the same price. Similarly, donors are compensated with a same set fee, regardless of the number of eggs they produce. When a donor agency is involved, a significant part of the payment goes toward agency fees that the egg donor agency charges for managing the process. We saw this egg donor cost structure unfair to both parties and often unnecessarily expensive for recipients.
At our fertility center, we have designed our egg donor program fee structure to make it fair to both parties and provide a more affordable donor IVF option to recipients. With CHR’s unique cost structure, recipients who want to hold down the cost of egg donation can do so by limiting the number of eggs they “purchase” for infertility treatment.
CHR views the commercial trade in human oocytes with considerable ethical concerns. Therefore, CHR does not derive profit from managing the egg donation process between donor and recipient, and will continue to offer donor matching services as an unreimbursed courtesy to the center’s patients. CHR, therefore, will price the anonymous exchange of eggs between donors and intended parents in its program at cost, and without profit margin.
What Recipients Need to Know About Egg Donation Cost
Once recipients choose an egg donor, a deposit of $10,000 in anonymous escrow for donor reimbursement is required. This deposit officially reserves the chosen donor for a fresh cycle.
Under our uniquely fair pricing structure, a recipient who would have had to “purchase” all the mature eggs her donor produced under the previous cost structure now has the option to “purchase” as few as four eggs -- and up to all the eggs -- that her donor produces for fertility treatment, and pay only for the eggs she “purchases.”
If she purchases only four eggs, she will greatly reduce her cycle costs while still benefiting from an excellent pregnancy chance from eggs from a young donor. At the other extreme, recipients who want to purchase all of the donor’s eggs in a given cycle will have higher cycle costs. However, they will not only have the advantage of a higher cumulative pregnancy chance from more eggs, but also the chance of having siblings in the future, using embryos frozen in the first donor IVF cycle.
The table below describes the egg donation cost for recipients, based on the number of eggs produced and received:
Number of Mature Oocytes
Other Egg Donor Costs: Potential Additional Expenses for Recipients of Donor Eggs
There are two additional costs at CHR that recipients may incur, depending on the donor they choose: Costs of long-distance donors (LDDs) and high-demand donors (HDDs).
Long-distance donors (LDDs) are egg donors who have to travel to New York City for their egg donation cycle from elsewhere in the United States. Recipients will be responsible for cost reimbursements for travel expenses and maintenance in New York City for LDDs. LDDs are marked as such in CHR’s directory of donor profiles, so that recipients will be aware of these additional donor costs for travel when choosing their donors.
To further recognize varying “market values” of specific donors’ eggs, CHR has introduced a new option, already widely used by many donor agencies and donor egg banks. We designate “high demand donors” (HDDs) who may charge additional egg donor fees of either $1,000 or $2,000.
Eligibility for the designation of HDD will be determined by CHR, based on successful prior completion of at least one IVF cycle and/or special educational or other demand-enhancing achievements and/or qualities. Donors with the HDD designation are also marked accordingly in CHR’s donor profiles.
All other donor egg cycle costs remain unchanged, in accordance with the total cost shown in the table above. The cost covers egg donor compensation, donor insurance, and medical costs (physical and genetic testing, egg retrieval, embryo transfer, and follow-up care). IVF procedures are outside the scope of the fee for donor eggs.
Patients considering egg donation should be aware that attorney fees or legal fees may be necessary, especially if they are considering using an outside egg donor agency. Attorneys who specialize in third-party reproduction can provide the peace of mind through a review of the contract.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions about our SDEP cost structure or general questions about egg donation for donor egg IVF (in vitro fertilization), ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), or surrogacy.
Affording Egg Donor IVF
Using donor eggs is undoubtedly one of the most expensive options among infertility treatments. Our egg donation cost structure in the standard (fresh) donor egg program does offer the option of purchasing fewer eggs to reduce the cost, but for patients who need even more affordable egg donor options, CHR’s frozen donor egg program (EcoDEP) is another option. We can also refer patients to a medical credit company for those exploring financing options.
Background for CHR’s Unique Egg Donation Cost Structure
CHR decided to radically reorganize the structure and costs of its Standard Donor Egg Program (SDEP) this way for two reasons. First, it came as a logical consequence of two recent national developments with profound implications for egg donation in the U.S. Second, we saw with concern how the rising costs of egg donation increasingly priced patients out of fresh donor egg cycles, which perform better clinically than the lower-cost frozen donor egg cycles.
In the spirit of transparency, we here describe changes made in the program and our motivations behind these changes. The two national developments creating the impetus were:
- Following the settlement of a class action lawsuit, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) withdrew its previous recommendation as to how much IVF centers should pay egg donors for their services per donation cycle. The suit claimed the right of egg donors to let the market determine donor reimbursements. The legal settlement reaffirmed this principle, and CHR, therefore, feels legally obliged to consider market pricing in reformatting its donor egg/recipient cycle program.1
- Within a very short time period, by 2015, frozen egg banks were supplying eggs for approximately 20% of donor egg cycles in the U.S., even though frozen donor eggs reduce pregnancy chances (and therefore success rates and live birth rates) to a minor degree in comparison to fresh donor eggs. In CHR’s SDEP, patients used to receive all the eggs a donor produced in her cycle in return for a $8,000 fee, whatever the number was. Donor egg banks, however, have established “commerce” in donor eggs by charging per mature egg(s) “purchased” by recipients.
Donor egg banks have established a market value for donor eggs. Considering this fact and the legal settlement, CHR’s past cost structure no longer appeared fair to either donors or recipients: Instead of a fixed fee per donation cycle, we felt donors should be paid depending on how many eggs they produce in their cycle, while recipients should be financially responsible only to the number of eggs they receive in a cycle.
Donor Eggs: Price Principles at CHR
CHR came to the new donor egg cost structure by looking at the center’s historical data. We determined that fresh donor egg cycles produced about 10 mature oocytes on average. Considering that CHR has historically maintained a reimbursement rate of $8,000 to egg donors for one egg donation cycle (regardless of the number of eggs produced), the average reimbursement for donors was $800 per egg. We then calculated CHR’s overhead costs in maintaining an independent pool of over 200 egg donors, which came out to be approximately $300-$350 per egg. Combined, $800 and $300-350 then established a cost of $1,100 to $1,150 per egg for the recipients.
CHR, thus, in principle has not changed the pricing of fresh donor eggs, but now distributes benefits and risks more fairly to donors and recipients.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Financial compensation of oocyte donors: an Ethics Committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2016 Dec; 106(7) Link. Accessed November 18, 2020.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.