7 Potential Disadvantages of Using Donor Eggs to Consider Jun 13, 2024 | by Lucy Solie-Vilker, Program Director

Like most things in life, using donor eggs comes with its own set of pros and cons. While there are tremendous benefits, such as giving individuals and couples the chance to have a baby when it might not have been possible otherwise, there are also potential disadvantages of using donor eggs to consider. 

7 Potential Disadvantages of Using Donor Eggs

In this blog, we explore seven considerations — including physical, emotional, and financial aspects —  to ensure that you’re fully informed when weighing the pros and cons of using donor eggs.

1. The Child Shares No Genetic Link with the Birth Mother

Using donor eggs allows the mother to experience pregnancy, share a gestational bond, and influence the baby's development through epigenetics. However, unless the egg donor is related to the birth mother, it's important to understand that the mother won't pass on her genetics to the child.

At first, this realization can be heartbreaking for many couples and individuals as they come to terms with donor egg IVF being their only realistic path to parenthood.

However, research and personal experiences show that this concern diminishes over time and typically becomes a non-issue as the parents raise the child. Studies comparing parent-child relationships at age 12 reveal that the bond between parents and their donor-conceived child is just as strong as with non-donor-conceived children.

Becoming a mother is not about what you give up, it’s about all that you gain. Becoming a mother the hard way, just means you gain that much more.

- Victoria Nino, Mother via Donor Eggs

2. Choosing an Egg Donor Can Be Overwhelming

With so many factors to consider — such as physical attributes, medical history, and personal characteristics — selecting an egg donor can be a tough choice. It’s normal to feel pressure from the weight of this decision.

It’s important to work with a reputable fertility clinic, egg donor agency, or egg bank to help guide you through your options with compassion and expertise. 

3. Navigating How to Tell Your Child and Family

Next, you’ll have to decide how you will approach the topic with your family and how you will talk to your child about donor conception. It is beneficial to start talking to your child about donor conception at a very young age, as shown by studies. We’ve personally seen it work best when the parent(s) incorporate this information into everyday, age-appropriate conversations as early as the child’s first few years of life. This will help the story naturally unfold; avoiding the anxiety of having a big “reveal” moment since the child won't remember a time of not knowing. Having these honest conversations will ultimately strengthen your bond with your child.

What are the disadvantages of using donor eggs? Like most things in life, using donor eggs has its own set of pros and cons. Learn more in this blog.

4. Donor Egg IVF Is Typically Not Covered by Insurance

Like many other paths to parenthood, such as traditional adoption, donor egg IVF involves a significant financial investment. The cost of donor eggs is separate from the cost of IVF, and unfortunately, neither is typically covered by insurance plans.

One disadvantage of using donor eggs is that IVF is not typically covered by insurance plans. Find more pros and cons of using donor eggs in this blog!

Fortunately, many clinics and agencies partner with fertility loan companies to help make donor-assisted IVF treatments accessible to all families. Additionally, we encourage intended parents to explore IVF grants for other opportunities to apply for financial assistance. If you are facing financial hardship covering the costs associated with IVF, reach out to your clinic to see if they have resources available. Many clinics have financial counselors available to walk you through your options and provide guidance.

5. Potential Increased Risk of Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Studies show a heightened risk of preeclampsia in IVF pregnancies, particularly those involving donor eggs. A systematic review of data from 1995-2016 found that women who conceived through egg donation had an increased risk of developing preeclampsia compared to those using their own eggs. This heightened risk is believed to be related to the mother’s immune response to the implantation of non-autologous (donor) eggs.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, affecting approximately 1 in every 25 pregnancies in the U.S. Despite the risks, with proper medical care and monitoring, most women with preeclampsia have healthy babies.

6. Emotional and Psychological Impact

Using donor eggs can bring about complex emotional and psychological challenges. In addition to the genetic grief we discussed earlier, the process can be stressful, requiring emotional resilience and support. At Donor Nexus, our personalized and boutique approach helps intended parents navigate the complexities of the process and make informed decisions each step of the way.

If emotional or psychological factors are holding you back, there are several amazing online donor egg support groups that provide a wealth of knowledge from personal DEIVF experiences. Talking with others who have been through similar experiences can help shift your perspective and open your heart to the possibilities. Additionally, many counselors specialize in infertility and egg donation and can be an excellent resource. 

7. It May Take Some Patience and Perseverance

Donor eggs tend to work 40-60% of the time, often significantly increasing your chances of success compared to using your own eggs. However, it could still take several cycles before success. While it may require perseverance, each step brings you closer to your dream.

For hopeful parents who are interested in expediting the process, frozen donor eggs offer a straightforward process that can save months of waiting since the donor has already completed the screening process, stimulation cycle, and egg retrieval.

On the other hand, choosing a fresh egg donor allows you to receive all viable eggs retrieved, maximizing your opportunities for genetic siblings in the future.

Often, Perspectives Shift Over Time

While using donor eggs may not be for everyone, many patients who were initially hesitant find their perspective changes over time. Fertility physicians will note that often, after about six months to a year of contemplation, patients come back excited and hopeful about what donor eggs can provide for their families.

In the video below, mother via egg donation, Victoria Nino, shares her journey:

Related: Victoria's Succesful Journey to Baby #2 via Frozen Donor Egg

Seek Support and Resources to Help You Weigh the Pros and Cons of Using Donor Eggs

As you explore the possibility of using donor eggs, it's natural to want to understand the potential disadvantages to ensure you have realistic expectations. Deciding to use donor eggs is a significant and deeply personal choice. It’s important to do thorough research, weigh your options, and make an informed decision that feels right for you. 

The challenges are real, but the ultimate reward is immeasurable.

In this blog, we share seven potential disadvantages of using donor eggs to consider. Learn more!

Though using a donor egg might be a loss of one dream, it also can be the beginning of another with the embrace of a proven technology that has created thousands of babies and happy parents for over four decades.

- Dr. Daniel Potter, Reproductive Endocrinologist

About Donor Nexus

At Donor Nexus, we provide intended parents with transparent information on egg donation. In this blog, we share 7 potential disadvantages of using donor eggs to consider. Learn more!

Donor Nexus is a boutique egg bank and fresh egg donor agency in Newport Beach, California, working with intended parents and egg donors worldwide. We offer a personalized experience delivered through our proven donor egg and donor embryo programs. Since our establishment in 2012, over 1,200 babies have been born through our programs. Looking for an egg donor? Register for free access to our online donor database to explore your options with us. We look forward to assisting you in any way we can!

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The information provided in this blog is not to be considered medical advice. Please consult with your physician for actual medical advice specific to you.

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