How to Select an Egg Donor Program
Intended parents can obtain, and select, egg donors from various sources, including:
- IVF clinic:
Many IVF clinics now have their own pools of egg donors. In most of these cases, the IVF clinic will provide you with a list of their donors and you may select one of the donors. Some clinics may, however, select a donor for you.
- Egg donor agency:
Another option is to secure a donor through an egg donor agency which maintains a pool of qualified donors. You might find an egg donor agency on your own (via referrals, ads, or online donor agency listings) or your IVF clinic might refer you to an external egg donor agency.
- Known donor which you find yourself:
You may find and select an egg donor on your own. This might be a friend or relative, or you might advertise for an egg donor.
This page discusses options 1 and 2 above. We use the words "egg donor program" to refer to any donor program that is run by either an IVF clinic or an independent egg donor agency.
- Providing egg donors is a relatively new service and there are
no licenses or degrees required. There are no legal guidelines to
determine what egg donor providers should, or shouldn't, be required to do
when matching donors and recipients.
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) offers a list
of egg donor programs that have signed an agreement with the
Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). The agreement
states that the egg donor program will abide by the ASRM Ethics Committee Guidelines governing the
payment of egg donors (PDF file). This information is self-reported
and has not been verified by either ASRM or SART.
- Much of the process of selecting an egg donor program is similar to
selecting any professional service. You would want to know how long they have been in
business and their background. Additionally, you would pay attention to
whether they are adequately answering your questions and whether you
feel comfortable with them.
- Donor Concierge provides
on how to select a donor and a donor program.
- Although, the vast majority of egg donation agencies are not
fraudulent, there have been a few incidences of fraudulent agencies over the years
which should alert prospective recipients to do their due diligence when
selecting an agency. Refer to the following IHR.com page for more
How to Avoid a Fraudulent Egg Donor or Surrogacy Agency
Some guidelines and questions to ask
Here are some common guidelines and questions to ask that may make your search more effective.
Egg donor program background information
- How long has the egg donor program been operating? This is an
especially important question for an egg donor agency. Has the agency been in business under the current name or
- Does the agency have recipient references?
- How many donors has the agency matched with recipients in the last
- What kinds of records and information are kept on anonymous donors,
where and for how long? There may be some reason in the future to
contact an anonymous donor.
- What does the agency do to ensure that a donor hasn't donated too many times before?
Potential donors need to be adequately screened on many levels, including psychological, financial, personal medical, family medical, and genetic.
- In order to keep costs down, many donor programs conduct only basic
initial screening for all donors. Then, after a recipient selects a
particular donor, they provide additional donor screening for that
donor. So, ask what kind of screening the program requires before, and
after, donor selection.
- What is the psychological screening, and who performs it, the clinic
or a third party? Is there an extra charge for psychological testing (i.e., MMPI)?
- Can you have the donor tested by a third party of your own choosing?
- Can you see the results of the testing?
- What kind of medical screening has the donor had? Who will do it if you choose a donor? Is the medical screening included in the cost or is it separate? Has testing be done to give an indication of how well a donor will stimulate with fertility drugs.
- Does the donor program work with anonymous donors, known donors, or both?
- Does the donor program facilitate a meeting between you and the donor, if
you wish to meet?
- If successful pregnancies have resulted for a particular donor, in what general geographic area do the recipients currently live?
- Does agency work with the donor during the actual cycle and, if so, in
what capacity? For example, the agency can get the donor's daily estradiol level from the doctor's office and then pass the information
on to you.
- Does the agency keep a medical record of each stimulation the donor
- Does the agency help the uninsured donor find medical coverage?
- What is the legal contract the donor program requires the recipient(s) to
- Does the donor program require that the recipient work only with
- What is the legal contract the donor program requires the donor to sign? Is the donor required to work only with that program for any specific period of time? Has the donor worked with other programs?
Intended parents fees
- What is the fee structure for the provider's services?
- Do you have to pay a fee up front?
- Is the fee refundable if you change your mind about a donor or don't want to work with any of the donors currently on file.
- What do all the fees cover?
- Do you have to pay a separate fee if you don't want to work with any of the donors currently on file and the agency needs to advertise for a donor?
- How long and how much effort will the agency put into finding a donor with specific characteristics?
- Does the broker charge differently if you pay cash, check or credit card?
- What is the fee for the donor herself?
- Can the donor set her reimbursement herself?
- Does the program charge the same price for every donor, or is there a higher charge for certain donors (e.g. for donors with successful previous cycles)?
- If the recipient pays the donor's expenses, does the agency provide an itemized list of expenses?