Donor egg treatment is a procedure in which one woman becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization using donated eggs. Depending on the situation, the woman might carry the pregnancy for her own child or be a surrogate for another couple.
Who uses donor eggs?
Donor eggs play an important role in making parenthood more attainable for:
- Women who are unable to get pregnant or have a healthy pregnancy due to poor egg quality (e.g., women of advanced reproductive age), primary ovarian sufficiency (e.g., caused by cancer treatment) or lack of ovaries
- LGBTQ+ couples and individuals, specifically same-sex male couples and transgender individuals who use donor eggs and gestational carriers
- Women who are carriers of a genetic disease who cannot or choose not to undergo pre-implantation genetic testing
- Women who have been unsuccessful with other fertility treatments
Donor Egg Treatment: What to Expect
Finding and Choosing an Egg Donor
At Johns Hopkins, we have extensive experience connecting our patients with third-party reproduction agencies, including donor egg banks, attorneys, psychologists and others who specialize in the egg donation process.
You will meet with our third-party reproduction coordinator and discuss your family-building goals. Then, we will help you select the right egg donor agency for you based on your preferences (e.g., ethnic background of donor), budget (e.g., frozen eggs may be considered as a lower cost option), and other factors. The donor eggs can be from a known donor (female relative or friend), through a donor agency or through a donor egg bank.
In addition to our resources, some patients have also found it helpful to use a search service such as Donor Concierge at an additional cost.
Process of Using Donor Eggs
Once you have chosen your egg donor, we will begin the fertility treatment process. What the process looks like depends on your situation. Women who choose to use donor eggs to achieve pregnancy will undergo in vitro fertilization with the donor eggs. Gay men and transgender individuals and couples will find a gestational surrogate to carry the pregnancy for them. The gestational carrier is frequently a woman who provides this service through a fee-based agreement facilitated by an agency or an attorney, but may also be a family member or friend.
To minimize the risk of future legal issues, all intended parents using donor eggs should have a third-party reproduction attorney prepare a contract that includes explicit language regarding parental rights. The donor and the intended parent(s) should have separate legal representation. Contract language will differ depending on whether it is a known donor or an unknown donor through an agency. We will work with you to find an attorney who specializes in third-party reproduction.
Donor Egg Costs
Unfortunately, most fees associated with egg donation are not covered by insurance. While we recommend that you check with your insurance company, we also encourage you to explore the ramifications of bearing the financial burden yourself.