How do I know if I’m ready for egg donation?
Looking to another person to help create your family can feel like a huge step. The egg donation process can raise many issues for couples, singles and families, so don’t be afraid to talk to a therapist who specializes in third-party reproduction. They can help you process the natural feelings that may arise and help you make a plan for how you’ll talk to friends, family and your future child about your family’s journey. Your Tulip Fertility Coach can give you the names of specialized fertility therapists if you’d like help gaining confidence in your fertility journey.
Once you’ve made the decision to move forward with egg donation, you'll want to start by discussing your plan with your reproductive endocrinologist and choosing which egg donation path to pursue.
The Tulip database accesses egg donor agency databases and fertility clinic in-house donor programs. Here are some pros and cons of working with an agency donor vs. a clinic program.
- With over 100 agencies, there are more donors available and you are more likely to find one you like.
- Agencies often provide more flexibility in matching - for example, matching for future contact, meeting your donor, or receiving more information about her.
- You can usually see pictures of donors at all ages and some even provide photos of the donor’s family.
- Because agencies are less constrained, donors can request higher compensation for cycling and therefore you can often find donors with specific qualities.
- Most agencies do not do any ovarian reserve testing, medical, or genetic screening until you are officially matched. Agencies don’t want to invest in donors who may not be picked.
- Donors are not pre-screened psychologically until you match. They will then have a psychological evaluation with a specialist third party fertility psychologist at your cost.
- Cost may be higher - you will pay an agency fee, donor’s travel, compensation and testing costs.
- All donors are pre-screened medically (including genetic testing) at no cost to you.
- All donors are screened psychologically at no cost to you.
- There's no agency fee so costs are usually lower.
- Your donor is usually local so travel costs are minimized.
- There are fewer available donors to choose from in general.
- Smaller clinic databases mean there are fewer donors who meet your ideal criteria.
- If you do find someone you like, you will most likely have to wait your turn to do a cycle with her.
- Your turn may never come. Donors are free agents - she may change her mind about future cycles and she has the right not to do a donor cycle.
- Clinics offer egg donors a lower fee than agencies, which means many donors go elsewhere.
Costs can range from $10k to $50k+. There’s a wide range because some costs are variable, but here’s a general breakdown of what costs you can expect:
- Agency fee
- Donor compensation ($8000+ as donors are free to set their own compensation)
- Donor travel
- Screening fees
- Attorney fees
- Clinic fees
Which type of egg you use depends on your personal needs. A conversation with your fertility doctor can help you choose the right path based on several factors, including how many children you'd like to have. Frozen eggs are typically available in cohorts of six which may yield one or two embryos. This could impact your ability to have genetically related siblings. Research has also shown that doing a fresh donor egg cycle may have better outcomes than frozen. Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate what makes the most sense for your family.
Plan for a timeline of about 2-3 months from your match to your donor’s retrieval. Give yourself some time to search for your donor using the Tulip database -- but remember that donors sometimes get matched quickly. You will need to complete an agency agreement, your donor will have to be screened by your clinic, and legal contracts will need to be signed. Then the donor will start her IVF medication which is timed to when she starts her period.
When you engage an egg donor, all parties will sign contracts. The donor agrees to relinquish rights to her eggs. While egg donor contracts are fairly standard, it’s important to have an attorney who is a specialist in reproductive law to go over some of the finer details. The egg donor will also have her own legal counsel to explain the contracts to her. The cycle can’t start until the legal contracts are signed.