Donor Egg IVF Program
Our donor egg in vitro fertilization (IVF) program has been helping families grow since 1995 by providing an option for women who cannot conceive due to poor quality or low number of eggs. See below for requirements and payment for egg donors, information about the egg donation process, and information about infertility, IVF, and success rates.
Becoming an Egg Donor
Egg donors are young females who meet specific requirements (depending on the program), and who choose to donate their eggs for a variety of reasons. In many cases, the egg donor has a sincere desire to help infertile couples realize their dreams of having a baby.
An egg donor must be a healthy woman between 21 and 32 years old who meets the following requirements:
- Has both ovaries
- Is a non-smoker
- Has a high school diploma
- Has a generally healthy family medical history
- Has a flexible work schedule for screening and donation process.
- Has a body mass index < 30 kg/m2 (not obese)
- Has a Day #3 FSH and antral follicle count showing good prognosis
- Meets FDA donor eligibility screening
Screening and Counseling
Donors will meet with the donor egg nurse coordinator and a psychological counselor for screening, and will learn about the process before any decision is made. Donors are screened extensively to assure that they are both physically and emotionally appropriate for the Donor Egg Program.
There are several steps to the screening process:
- Preliminary online application
- Telephone interview
- Detailed written questionnaire
- Psychological evaluation
- Nursing consultation
- Blood screening
- Meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist
- Consultation and physical exam with a reproductive endocrinologist
Some women who need donor eggs decide to use a known egg donor. Known donors are frequently relatives, but can also be friends or acquaintances. Known donors must be screened the same way that anonymous donors are screened and must fit within the infertility program’s donor eligibility standards.
Once matched with a recipient, the donor will come in for education on medication and injection technique. Once medications begin the donor is expected to come in for monitoring as required by the program. The retrieval procedure is done under light anesthesia and there is minimal discomfort. The egg donation process poses a very low health risk for the egg donor. All cycle expenses are paid by the recipient couple.
Egg Donation Process
The egg donation process is simple and relatively painless for most donors. We will ask you to come in three or four times before 9:30 am during the nearly three weeks prior to egg retrieval for monitoring and tests.
Prior to Retrieval
The process prior to egg retrieval involves:
- 10-12 days of self-administered hormone injections to induce ovaries to produce several eggs per cycle (instead of one).
- Ultrasound and blood screening to monitor egg development.
- A different hormone injection to stimulate ovulation.
Egg Retrieval Procedure
This is a day-stay procedure in the IVF Unit at the Chestnut Surgery Center at Baystate Medical Center. You will not have to stay overnight, and you will be able to return to work or your usual activities by the following day.
Once egg retrieval is done, your donation process is complete. You will need to have a follow-up ultrasound approximately two weeks after the retrieval.
- Work/normal daily activity: You may work and maintain usual activity during the cycle. However, you will need to visit the program three or four early mornings during the cycle and take the day off for retrieval.
- Sexual relations: We encourage donors to refrain from sexual intercourse from retrieval to next menses (approximately two weeks).
- Breast feeding: Women will not be accepted as donors while they are breast feeding.
- Diet: We encourage donors to maintain a healthy diet during the cycle.
- Exercise/physical activity: You may maintain your normal routine.
- Alcohol: We encourage donors to refrain from drinking alcohol during stimulation.
- Prescription drugs: Please make sure you discuss all your current medications with your program physician and follow his/her advice.
- Recreational drugs: Donors must not use recreational drugs.
Egg Donor Payment
Baystate's Egg Donor Program pays donors $7,000 upon completion of egg retrieval. From initial application to egg retrieval takes about three months.
If retrieval is complete, but no eggs are retrieved, the donor will still receive $7,000.
If ovarian stimulation is started but not completed, the donor will receive $750.
Donors receive payment whether or not their eggs result in the birth of a baby.
There are no medical costs to donors or their health insurers. Supplemental insurance is purchased by the recipient to cover the donor through the course of the donor egg treatment cycle. All other medical costs are paid by the program.
The entire egg donation process is confidential and discreet:
We safeguard the privacy of the information you share with us during the screening process.
We do not reveal your identity to recipients or prospective recipients. Sometimes, with the donor's permission, we show the recipient a baby picture of the donor, but never an adult photo.
Donors and recipients never meet.
Baystate Reproductive Medicine will not match egg donors with more than one recipient in any given community.
Donor Egg Background and Success Rates
Women are born with a lifetime supply of eggs within their ovaries. Ovaries contain 1-2 million eggs at birth and approximately 300,000 to 400,000 at puberty. Every month during the ovulatory cycle, one or more of these eggs are recruited and develop under the influence of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
Why Donor Eggs are Needed
Declining egg quality is a natural process that culminates in menopause. Many women prematurely enter menopause in their thirties and some as early as their twenties. This condition is termed premature ovarian failure (or primary ovarian insufficiency). In some cases, donor egg IVF may be a first line treatment.
In rare cases, a woman may be born with no ovaries. Absence of the ovaries, or prior surgical removal of ovaries, is an indication for donor egg. In some cases, genetic disease present in the recipient can be an indication for donor egg IVF. However, with the advent of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), embryos can be screened for many genetic diseases prior to transfer to the uterus.
When To Consider Donor Egg
Donor egg IVF is being performed much more frequently than in the past. Infertility specialists are seeing an increase in female infertility, partly due to changes in societal goals. With the freedom provided by family planning, education, and career choices, many women are waiting until their late thirties to marry and start a family. Unfortunately, nature does not recognize these societal changes. As women age, their chances of having infertility issues increases.
Women in their late 30s or 40s, or those with abnormally high FSH levels, should be evaluated by a board certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist as soon as possible when they begin attempting to conceive. Some women may have very little time to achieve pregnancy using their own eggs before donor egg IVF may be required.
Donor Egg Success Rates
Success rates for donor egg in vitro fertilization (IVF) are directly related to the age of the eggs used. Therefore, if the eggs from a fertile 22 year old woman are used in a cycle where the recipient is 45, the success rates are consistent with those of a 22 year old woman, which is high. Our program currently limits the maximum age of the donor egg recipient to 47 years.
Apply to Become an Egg Donor