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Egg Donor Program

Medically reviewed by Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on Dec 12, 2020

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Egg Donor Programs That Serve Recipients and Donors Equally

As a world’s “fertility center of last resort,” CHR serves many patients who eventually move on to use egg donation. Although our primary clinical focus is on helping patients have babies with their own eggs, we recognize the importance of ensuring access to a high-quality egg donor program for patients who cannot. That’s why CHR maintains our own pool of highly selected egg donors and frozen donor eggs, despite the fertility industry’s overwhelming trend to “outsource” to egg donor agencies and frozen egg banks.

CHR’s two egg donor programs are unique in many ways, but one aspect that really separates our programs from others--aside from our clinical excellence over 3 decades--is the fact that they are designed to serve recipients and donors equally. This philosophy governs how our clinical team treats recipients and donors with equal respect, professionalism and level of clinical care throughout the process. It also extends to how the egg donation cost for recipients and egg donor compensation are structured, both with transparency and fairness. On this page, we outline our egg donor program for recipients (immediately below this paragraph) and donors (later on the page).

CHR's Egg Donor Program at a Glance: For Recipients

  • Our oocyte donor IVF pregnancy rates are amongst the highest reported. Cumulative pregnancy chances with donor eggs at CHR, including all embryos produced in a given donor egg cycle, are typically in the high 80% to low 90% range. Yet, CHR considers egg donation only a treatment of absolute last resort.
  • Your pregnancy chances (and your risk of miscarriages) with donor eggs largely depend on the quality of the eggs that the egg donor produces. To ensure that you will have the best possible pregnancy chances, CHR rigorously screens donor applicants. Our screening is based not only on age and ovarian reserve status, but also a wide array of medical conditions and other factors.
  • Our program is extremely selective; only 1-3% of egg donor candidates are admitted to create a donor profile in our egg donor database.
  • Our program likely offers the largest and most ethnically, culturally, religiously and physically diverse pool of carefully selected egg donors anywhere in the world. This means that you have a real choice: You choose your egg donors from amongst about 200 excellent candidates, based on what characteristics you are looking for in your egg donor. (Egg donors: learn more about our process for donating eggs here.)
  • Since we do not perform shared egg donation (in which multiple recipients split a donor's eggs), we can really match you with your donor in physical appearance (like hair, skin, and eye color) and other criteria that are important to you. You don't have to settle for a donor whom all the recipients participating in the shared donor cycle can agree on.
  • You will benefit from CHR's accumulated experience in helping long-distance patients with fertility treatment logistics, as we serve a large number of out-of-state and international patients who come to CHR for IVF and egg donation.
  • Approximately 1/3 of women who come to consult CHR physicians for egg donation because they were previously told they needed donor egg IVF end up conceiving with their own eggs at CHR.
CHR's Approach

Dr. Norbert Gleicher explains how patients decide to pursue egg donation, and how CHR helps them every step of the decision-making and treatment process.

Deciding to Use Egg Donation: CHR's Approach

Donor egg in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of fertility treatment where a young, healthy woman's eggs are aspirated from her ovaries through a thin needle with ultrasound guidance. They are then used to produce embryos that are transferred to a recipient woman's uterus to establish a pregnancy. In a healthy pregnancy through egg donation, this is followed by implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining. The recipient then carries the pregnancy to term and gives birth to the baby. While women who are unable to carry a baby may opt for surrogacy, women who are unable to conceive with their own eggs but can carry their baby may opt for donor egg IVF. 

CHR offers two distinctive egg donor programs: the standard egg donor program that utilizes fresh donor eggs, and Eco Donor Egg Program (EcoDEP), a faster, lower-cost program offering frozen eggs from egg donors.

Because CHR has developed a reputation as the "fertility center of last resort" for women with severely diminished ovarian reserve (also called low functional ovarian reserve, or LFOR) and other difficult cases of infertility, a large majority of our patients come to CHR with a history of failed fertility treatments elsewhere and a recommendation for donor egg IVF.

Our specialized clinical expertise in treating women with diminished ovarian reserve (either due to premature ovarian aging or advanced maternal age) has helped about a third of these women conceive with their own eggs. For two-thirds of these patients, donor egg IVF remains the best option for having a baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), egg donor IVF had an 89% success rate in the United States in 2017.1

"If I Use Donor Eggs, Is My Child Really Mine?"

New research in the field of epigenetics (the study of changes in gene expression due to environmental factors) suggests that women who use donor eggs have a lot more influence on their child’s genes than previously thought. This is different from surrogacy. Many geneticists agree that the time spent in the womb is the most critical period for determining how the child’s genes will function for the rest of its life -- so in many ways, you are just as important as your egg donor in determining how your baby’s genes work. Learn more about your biological connection to your donor egg baby in our video.

However, CHR considers egg donation as a treatment of last recourse, for infertility cases like premature ovarian failure. Our team of fertility specialists believes in explaining all reasonable treatment options to women and couples, and helping them make their own informed decisions regarding which treatment to pursue. Too many women, in our opinion, are pushed into egg donation prematurely.2 We want to make sure that everyone entering a donor egg IVF cycle is fully convinced that this is the option they truly want to pursue. If the patient decides to give IVF with her own eggs at least one chance before she considers egg donation, we respect that decision and apply our innovative and individualized treatment approaches to help her get pregnant with her own eggs.

Donor Egg IVF Offers the Best Pregnancy Chances

We believe that women should be given the chance to conceive with their own eggs, but we also recognize that no fertility treatment offers higher pregnancy chances and success rates than egg donation (oocyte donation).3 The reason is obvious: Egg donors are usually young (CHR's egg donor pool rarely includes women above 30 years of age) and have normal fertility.

No fertility treatment offers higher pregnancy chances than egg donation.

Dr. Norbert Gleicher

Pregnancy chances decline and miscarriage rates rise with advancing female age. An egg donor's young age means that the recipient's pregnancy chances and miscarriage risks become those of the young egg donor.

Consequently, no fertility treatment can beat 20-year-old eggs in a 40-year-old infertility patient, who now has the pregnancy chance and miscarriage risk of a 20-year-old. (This is also the reasoning behind egg freezing.) Since the egg contributes approximately 95% (and sperm only 5%) to the ultimate "quality" of the embryo, the male's age is of much less importance for embryo quality.

For Prospective Donors, How Our Egg Donation Program is Different

CHR is not an egg donation agency or a donor egg bank, and we are very different from the typical egg donor agency. As a world-renowned reproductive medicine center with one of the best egg donor programs out there, we take pride in managing the entire process for families -- from egg donation to donor egg IVF and follow-up -- using tailored treatment plans and advanced treatment protocols that maximize each woman’s pregnancy chances.

Since we are a fertility center with patients of our own, CHR treats our egg donors with the same high standard of clinical care that we offer to our fertility patients. Your health and wellbeing are top priority throughout the egg donation process.

By donating eggs, you are making an incredible difference for a woman or couple who, in the vast majority of cases, are otherwise unable to start a family. Becoming an egg donor does come with substantial responsibility to follow all protocols of the screening process (as stipulated by the FDA and our center), the egg donation cycle, and egg retrieval. Medical screening involves a physical exam, blood tests, a family and medical history, psychological screening, and genetic screening. You may choose to donate eggs up to a total of six times, which is aligned with American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidance.4

Matching Donors and Recipients

The application process at CHR is selective. After a woman is approved to become an egg donor, she is eligible to be matched with a recipient. Intended parents have an opportunity to browse potential donors in our egg donor database. Donated eggs may all go to one recipient or to multiple recipients.

If you are interested in having a baby with donor eggs at CHR, don’t hesitate to contact us today to discuss egg donation. 

If you are interested in becoming a donor, please start your application here.

Sources

  1. View ART Data: National Data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Accessed August 29, 2020. Link.
  2. Gleicher N, Kushnir V, Weghofer A, Barad D. The “graying” of infertility services: an impending revolution nobody is ready for. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2014 July 9; 12:63. Link.
  3. Gleicher N, David H, Adashi EY. Why is use of donor eggs not viewed as treatment failure? A call for improvements in treatments with autologous oocytes. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2020 June 6; 37:1583-1588. Link.
  4. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Repetitive oocyte donation: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2020. June; 113(6). Link. Accessed November 13, 2020.
Sign Up to See Our Donor Database

Read more about Egg Donation

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

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.

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1/3 of women who have been told they need egg donation actually wind up conceiving at the CHR with their own eggs.

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