When researching egg donor and embryo donation agencies, it can be difficult to determine which agency is the best fit for you. Many patients choose an agency that was recommended by a physician or friend, an agency that has a specific donor they like, or an agency that offers cycle guarantees or re-matching options.
Other patients are looking for an agency that offers non-traditional programs. Non-traditional egg and embryo donation programs are ideal for patients who cannot afford a 1 on 1 egg donor cycle, who would like to limit the number of extra embryos they have, or who are looking for an alternative to traditional adoption.
Regardless of what you are looking for, it can be a daunting and difficult task to find the solution that is right for you. The good news is that there are many reputable agencies across the United States that will help you through the process. It is, however, important to ensure you are armed with the knowledge and understanding of the process in its entirety before committing to a specific donor or agency. Below is a brief list of questions that will help reduce risk and increase the likelihood that your journey through egg or embryo donation will be successful.
It is estimated that about 1 in 4 egg donors does not pass prescreen evaluations. With traditional 1 on 1 cycles, the Intended Parent is responsible for prescreen evaluations completed prior to the egg donor being disqualified. This can range from $300-$3,000. The Intended Parent is then responsible for the prescreen evaluations for the next donor of their choosing. Confirm with the agency which, if any, of the prescreen evaluations the donor has already completed. It is important to also confirm with the egg donor agency what their policy is on re-matching you to another donor.
Although it is rare, it is important that you are aware of the below situations. An egg donor cycle may be cancelled after the start of stimulation medications (or right before the start of stimulation medications) for one of three reasons:
i. The donor does not respond adequately to the medications and the physician cancels the cycle
ii. The donor tests positive for drugs or a sexually transmitted infection: all egg donors are screened for both drugs and sexually transmitted infections when they are medically screened. The FDA mandates that donors are tested again within 10 days of the egg retrieval. It is possible for the egg donors to contract an STI or take illicit drugs in between the medical screening and IVF cycle.
iii. The donor is noncompliant. She may refuse to take the medications or miss appointments resulting in the cycle being canceled.
In any of the above situations, the Intended Parent is not responsible for compensating the egg donor, covering the cost of donor medications or ultrasounds/blood tests already performed on the egg donor. 100% of the cycle fee is transferred to another cycle. The Intended Parent also has the ability to use frozen donor eggs or donor embryos to ensure an embryo transfer.
Many egg donation agencies now offer multi cycle plans that allow you to cycle a donor multiple times in the event the first cycle does not result in a positive pregnancy or live birth. The multiple cycle plans are more expensive than a single traditional cycle but act as an insurance plan. You can also inquire if the egg donor agency has access to frozen donor eggs. If they do you can plan to use frozen donor eggs as a back up plan.
One of the benefits of Donor Nexus is that we offer Donor Embryo Cycles, Fresh Donor Egg Cycles and Frozen Donor Egg Cycles.
If there are only one or two donor embryos available from your elected batch, ask what the policy is if the embryo(s) does not survive the thaw. We recommend that Intended Parents choose a back up embryo. If there is not another embryo available of your choosing, you will receive a partial refund/credit.
We hope that these questions and explanations provide you with the insight you need to make the most informative decision.