Donor Egg/Embryo Recipient
Assisted reproductive technology (ART), which includes in vitro fertilization, resulted in 65,996 live births and 76,930 live-born infants in 2016. An estimated 75% percent of women over age 45 turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) as a treatment option using donor eggs or embryos to conceive a child. Each year, this method accounts for about 5,800 babies born in the United States.
Who is a good candidate for a donor egg?
A woman experiencing the following issues may be eligible for a donor egg/embryo.
- Reduced ovarian function, such as premature ovarian failure, menopause, diminished ovarian reserve
- Poor egg and/or embryo quality
- Multiple previous failed attempts to conceive via assisted reproductive technology
- Sterility due to previous surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy
- Recurrent pregnancy loss
- Genetic diseases which may be passed on to offspring
- Advanced reproductive age
- Male gender
All recipients of the Carolinas Fertility Institute (CFI) are expected to complete several screenings.
- Strongly recommend psychological counseling by a licensed mental health professional specializing in reproductive issues.
- Semen analysis for the recipient male (unless using donor embryo)
- Standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) testing and screening
- Uterine cavity evaluation, Sonohysterogram (SHG)
If the recipient female is 45 years old or older, additional screenings will need to be completed within one year of treatment including a mammogram and comprehensive cardiovascular and metabolic screening. Counseling of increased medical risks related to pregnancy by a physician familiar with managing high-risk pregnancy.
Recipients interested in receiving donor eggs will be provided with a username and password to the Carolinas Fertility Institute’s secure and confidential online donor profiles. If you have a username and password:
Consents are due prior to starting the cycle coordination.
Availability of Donors
Online donor profiles include 2 different types of donors.
- Screened donors have completed a psychological and medical evaluation and have been deemed eligible for donation by the provider.
- Candidate donors have applied to be a donor and their information containing health, sexual, and social history is acceptable. The psychological and medical evaluation and acceptance of donor eligibility are pending.
Available donors are for anonymous donation only. If you desire a directed donation, you may solicit your own donor candidate. Some of the screened donors listed may have frozen eggs available. CFI prefers to only work with outside donation agencies if there are no acceptable donors based on religious, ethnic or racial preference. Carolinas Fertility Institute abides by the FDA regulations for tissue donation.
Egg Donation Options
CFI offers several options for egg donation:
(all donor options are selected online at www.carolinasfertilityinstitute.com)
1. Fresh cycle — The donor must be available for a single cycle. CFI will coordinate your menstrual cycle with that of the donor.
- Advantage: You have the potential ability to receive more eggs and ultimately have more embryos. Desirable option, if you want to try to have biological siblings, not guaranteed, but more likely than the other options.
- Disadvantage: You need to synchronize your menstrual cycle with that of the egg donor. This can take several months and is dependent on the availability of the donor. Costs significantly more than the other options.
2. Frozen Egg Bank — The donor must have frozen eggs available. Your menstrual cycle is manipulated with medication and does not need to be synchronized with the donor since we already have her eggs.
- Advantage: You can start a cycle within weeks and avoid a potentially lengthy wait time. The cost is less than fresh egg donation.
- Disadvantage: There are fewer eggs for fertilization and thus, fewer embryos. Success rates are slightly lower than fresh egg donation.
3. Shared Egg Donor Cycle –The donor must be available for a shared cycle. CFI will coordinate your menstrual cycle with that of the donor.
- Advantage: The donor cycle costs are shared between recipients. CFI coordinates the match with the other shared recipient.
- Disadvantage: Time is needed to synchronize your menstrual cycle with that of the egg donor and potentially the other recipient. The donor eggs are split, so fewer eggs for fertilization and thus, fewer embryos than fresh cycles but potentially more than frozen cycles.
Recipients select their chosen donor online. Upon request, the third-party reproductive coordinator will contact you to provide a password to access the donor profiles.
The coordinators are:
No Guarantee of Outcome
CFI offers no guarantee due to the following:
- The donor may decide to not complete the donation process as it is a 100% voluntary process.
- The donor may not respond to medications to stimulate egg production.
- The donor may overstimulate to medications necessitating the cancellation of the cycle.
- A candidate donor may not pass the medical or psychological screening.
- The donor is not obligated to proceed after a canceled cycle.
From the Society of American Reproductive Technology National Data summary in 2016, the percentage of live birth rate from fresh donor egg was 50.7%, frozen donor egg was 36.5%, thawed embryos from donor egg was 41%, and donated embryos 41%. There is no warranty regarding the success rate of egg/embryo donation or the health and characteristics of any child or children that may be conceived by these procedures. We are proud to say that Carolinas Fertility Institute has a 63% live birth rate with fresh egg donation!
Where do the donor eggs come from?
First, you’ll decide whether to use a friend or family member’s eggs, anonymous donor’s eggs or, if your partner’s sperm isn’t healthy, donor embryos — the combined sperm and eggs of known or anonymous donors.
If you decide on an anonymous egg donor, CFI will assist in this process. You’ll be able to choose a donor based on preferred physical characteristics, ethnic background, educational record, occupation, and family history. Most donors are between 21 and 29 years old and have undergone psychological, medical, and genetic screening. Most donors voluntarily elect to submit a childhood photo, we do not allow adult photos because the donors travel from a close geographical location. If you choose to use donor embryos, you can either select unrelated egg and sperm donors to create embryos or use a frozen embryo(s) donated anonymously by another CFI patient.
What happens after I am matched with a donor?
Once you are matched with a donor (fresh and shared), both you and she will take Lupron, a synthetic hormone, and/or birth control pills to get your reproductive cycles in sync — she needs to ovulate when your uterine lining can support an embryo. She’ll also take a fertility drug to help her develop several mature eggs for fertilization, while you will receive estrogen and progesterone to prepare your uterus for pregnancy. Once her eggs are mature, our doctor will give her an anesthetic and remove her eggs from her ovaries by inserting a needle through her vaginal wall using an ultrasound for guidance.
From here on out, the procedure is just like that of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Your partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm will be combined with your donor’s eggs in a dish in a laboratory on the day of the egg retrieval. After an egg is fertilized it is called an embryo. Our embryologists will keep you updated on your embryo development. Our doctor will insert one embryo into your uterus through your cervix using a small, flexible catheter. Many experts say patients should consider the transfer of a single embryo to avoid the risk of twins or triplets. Extra embryos, if there are any, may be frozen for your future use. If the treatment succeeds, the embryo will implant in your uterine wall and continue to grow into a baby. In some cases, the doctor may allow a transfer of more than one embryo based on individual circumstances. If more than one embryo is transferred using donor egg, about 40 percent of the pregnancies include a multiple gestation.
How soon do you find out if you’re pregnant?
You’ll be able to take a pregnancy test about two weeks after the embryo(s) is placed in your uterus. The pregnancy test is done with a blood draw and the results show how much of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, is in your bloodstream. It is very important that you do not stop your medication until instructed by the provider. The hormones that you are taking will help maintain a pregnancy at this point, make sure you have refills!
Contact Carolinas Fertility Institute
At the Carolinas Fertility Institute, we provide state-of-the-art technologies that maximize the fertility options available to our patients, including the use of donor eggs and donor embryos. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (336) 448-9100 (Triad) or (980) 256-2233 (Charlotte).