Where do I find an egg donor?
There are three typical paths to finding an egg donor – clinic, frozen egg bank, or agency. Clinics are less expensive and include screenings but often have fewer donors and longer waitlists. Frozen egg banks are also less expensive, include screenings and have eggs ready for whatever timeline you’re working with. However, frozen egg quantities are limited per donor which require parents to choose quickly. You may not be able to create more than a few embryos so frozen egg banks are best if you’re looking to have just one child. Egg donor agencies have higher costs because they allow parents to choose their donor from a wider pool.
A good way to start your search is by spending time thinking about the qualities that are important to you and your family. Read each donor’s profile and consider each as an individual. Start with the basics: Is the donor herself healthy, and does she come from a healthy family background? Is she within the age range required by your clinic? Does she have qualities about her that make you like her as a person? And finally, is she someone you might like to be friends with, or at least sit down to talk with over coffee?
Using frozen eggs can be a great option, but there are important considerations to keep in mind. Frozen egg donors usually have a limited supply available, which makes it key to do your research and be prepared to move quickly. Frozen egg banks offer “lots,” generally in cohorts of five or six. Unless you purchase more than one cohort, you can expect to create one to two embryos. Because donors may not have additional frozen eggs available in the future, this may not be the option for you if your plan is to have more than one child.
On the plus side, frozen eggs are available and ready to go, which may be the best option for families on a specific timeline. Check with your fertility clinic and make sure that the egg bank you choose is one that is compatible with your clinic’s embryology lab.
Nope - if your ideal donor is in a different area, travel cycles are an option. Your fertility specialist will oversee all elements of the cycle while a clinic near your egg donor handles the early monitoring appointments. Your egg donor will make one or two trips to your clinic for monitoring and retrieval. Travel cycles can be cost effective or more costly, based on fees in your donor’s state and which agency you are using. But they're a good option if you're casting a wider location net in your egg donor search.
Most egg donors are women aged 21-29 years old who meet strict psychological and physical health requirements. Many learn about egg donation after witnessing loved ones struggle with infertility, or simply have the desire to help others start a family. Just as every parent is different, so is every egg donor -- women from all religious, ethnic and geographic backgrounds choose to become egg donors.