Considering Donor Eggs and Embryos

Success Rates

The success rates of pregnancy with egg donation will depend on a number of factors; however, it is generally independent of the age of the recipient. For the year 2009, the success rates compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed the average live-birth rate per fresh embryo transfer was 55.1 percent for all egg-donor programs. Of the 6,553 pregnancies in 2009 conceived with egg donation, 5,595 resulted in a live birth. Of these, the multiple pregnancy rate was 39.9 percent, with 37.1 percent being twins and 2.8 percent being triplets or greater.
Pregnancy rates following embryo donation depend on the quality of the embryos that were frozen, the age of the woman who donated the eggs, and the number of embryos transferred. At this time, there are no national statistics on the pregnancy rates with embryo donation due to the limited number of embryo donation cases in the United States.

What Are the Costs?

The cost of egg and embryo donation will vary, depending on which clinic you choose. However, if you choose egg donation, it is important to understand that it can be quite expensive. Because egg donation involves the IVF process for the donor, the IVF costs are paid by you. The average cost of an IVF cycle in the United States is around $12,400. However, with egg donation, there are additional costs, including:
  • Recruiting and screening egg donors
  • Compensation for the donor's time and commitment
  • Medical insurance covering the donor during the procedure
  • Legal contracts
  • Coordination of care.
It's also important to understand that many insurance companies will not cover the costs of fertility treatment. At this time, only a few states have laws that require insurers to either cover or offer to cover some types of infertility procedures. However, the laws in these states vary significantly in regard to what is and is not required to be covered.
The amount compensated to an egg donor can vary substantially. Although there is no consensus on the amount an egg donor should receive as compensation, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has issued a report addressing this ethical issue. According to the ethics committee for ASRM, sums of $5,000 or more for egg donation require justification, and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate.
For embryo donation, it is a common myth that it is just as expensive and hard as IVF with a donor egg. However, embryo donation should be easier and less expensive than IVF with a donor egg. In embryo donation, the embryos have already been created and are likely frozen. Therefore, there are no IVF fees, no medication fees, no stimulation fees, and embryo donors (unlike egg donors) cannot be compensated.
With embryo donation, you will have to pay the IVF program's medical and transfer fees, along with any extra costs of all FDA-required or recommended testing of the embryos or donors. You will also have to pay for any additional storage fees from the time you decide to use any embryos.
However, it is physically easier to use donor embryos because the embryos are already created, so you don't have to coordinate your cycle with a donor's cycle.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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