Which is Best? Egg Donor Agency, Fertility Clinic or Egg Bank?

Dawn Davenport

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Where to find an egg donor?I dread the “what’s best” type questions we often get on the Creating a Family show. I freeze on all types of best of favorite questions: What’s your favorite color? Is football or basketball the hardest sport? What is your favorite food?  I basically stumble around giving way too much information until the subject changes. It’s not that I don’t think they’re fair questions, it’s just that they are so darn hard to answer.

On a Creating a Family show a couple of week’s ago on Legal Issues you MUST Consider When Creating Your Family Through Egg Donation, Sperm Donation, or Surrogacy, we got a question about whether it was best to select your egg donor from an egg donation agency, or from your infertility clinic’s donor pool, or from a frozen egg bank.

My answer to any “what’s best” question always begins with “It depends…”.

Egg Donor Agency, Clinic, or Bank???

In this case, it depends on the recipient’s priorities. I’m a big believer that people make the right choices for themselves if they are given unbiased accurate information. (In case you don’t know, that’s the mission of Creating a Family—literally, that is our mission statement. :-))

After thinking about it, it seems that the most helpful answer we can give is to highlight the differences between egg donation agencies, infertility clinic egg donor programs, and frozen egg banks. Here’s my stab at these distinctions, but I’d love your input! PLEASE.

Egg Donation Agency Fertility Clinic Egg Donor Program Egg Bank
Choices (appearance, education, interests, etc.) Widest selection of egg donors. Less variety of donors. Currently the selection of donor eggs is not as wide as egg donation agencies since the banks are relatively new, but that will change soon. Ultimately, they will likely have a selection to rival agencies.
Success Rate Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) 2011 data (last year available): 54.9% of fresh embryo transfers resulting in live births (35.7% for frozen embryo transfer) SART 2011 data (last year available): 54.9% of fresh embryo transfers resulting in live births (35.7% for frozen embryo transfer) SART does not maintain data for live birth rates from frozen donor eggs. Various egg banks report pregnancy rates (not live birth rates) of 60%.
Geographic Location of Donor Usually have donors throughout the US. You pay the donor travel cost if required. Local donors Usually local donors
Number of Eggs The intended parents receive all the eggs retrieved from the donor (unless it is a shared cycle), which potentially could be a large #, thus providing the possibility of future frozen embryo transfers. However, they run the risk of getting few or no eggs. The intended parents get all the eggs retrieved from the donor (unless it is a shared cycle), which potentially could be a large #, thus providing the possibility of future frozen embryo transfers. However, they run the risk of getting few or no eggs. Eggs are usually purchased in lots of around 6 eggs. Additional eggs are usually available on a cost per egg basis.
Timing Usually you must wait 4-9 months after choosing a donor before beginning the cycle in order to work around the donor’s schedule, donor screening, and syncing or your cycle with the donor’s cycle. Usually you must wait 4-9 months after choosing a donor before beginning the cycle in order to work around the donor’s schedule, donor screening, and syncing or your cycle with the donor’s cycle. Eggs are available for immediate transfer. No cycle syncing is required.
Convenience Recipient and donor cycles must be synced. Donors must be screened before cycle can begin. Recipient and donor cycles must be synced. Donors must be screened before cycle can begin. No syncing of cycles is necessary and donors have already been screened.
Predictability While the agency can give you an average cost, # of eggs to be retrieved, and donor’s availability and compliance, nothing is guaranteed. While the agency can give you an average cost, # of eggs to be retrieved, and donor’s availability and compliance, nothing is guaranteed. Cost and availability are known and predictable.
Possibility of Genetic Siblings Entirely dependent on how many eggs are retrieved from a donor, how many fertilize to become embryos, and how many embryos grow until transfer. If all goes according to plan, most people are able to get enough embryos for a fresh transfer and at least one frozen transfer. This is not likely with a shared donor egg cycle. Also may be possible to contact the donor for a future cycle if enough embryos are not available for a genetic sibling. Entirely dependent on how many eggs are retrieved from a donor, how many fertilize to become embryos, and how many embryos grow until transfer. If all goes according to plan, most people are able to get enough embryos for a fresh transfer and at least one frozen transfer. This is not likely with a shared donor egg cycle. Also may be possible to contact the donor for a future cycle if enough embryos are not available for a genetic sibling. Frozen egg banks vary, but most sell eggs in lots of around 6 eggs, with the expectation that this will be enough for one fresh embryo transfer. Additional eggs from the same donor are usually available at the time of your first purchase for a fee/egg basis. After that time, the odds of genetic siblings are not high.
Future Contact with Donor Many egg donation agencies are set up to maintain contact information on donors. Usually this option costs more. Most clinics are not set up to maintain contact information on the donors far into the future. Most egg banks are not set up to maintain contact information on the donors far into the future.
Cost $21,000 – 45,000 (shared cycles cost approximately half) $21,000 – 45,000 (shared cycles cost approximately half) $16,000 – 18,000
 
Image credit: massdistraction

10/12/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog, Infertility Resources | 4 Comments



4 Responses to Which is Best? Egg Donor Agency, Fertility Clinic or Egg Bank?

  1. Erika says:

    According to Wikipedia “In the United States, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has issued guidelines for these procedures, and the FDA has a number of guidelines as well. There are boards in countries outside of the US who have the same regulations. However, egg donation agencies in the U.S. can legally choose whether to abide by ASRM regulations or not.”

    Are the Egg Banks that follow ASRM at least the ones we should trust more?

  2. Erika says:

    I think being able to freeze your eggs is a modern medical miracle. So many of us delay having kids either because of career or just not meeting the right person. There are also many women experiencing fertility issues. Egg banks are allowing women that cannot have children the chance to become mothers.

  3. marilynn says:

    If all that was purchased was an egg there would be no problem. Their agreements deal mostly with them relinquishing their children not their eggs. They sign promising not to take responsibility for their offspring as parents once they are born.

  4. marilynn says:

    Would anyone want the egg if they did not get to keep the baby? So what are people really buying from these women? Their children.

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