Donor Eggs: What You Need to Know

group of young women at coffee shop

Donor Eggs: What You Need to Know

Egg donation began in 1984 as an alternative to using a woman’s own eggs to build a family. Over the last 18 years, FSMG and our magnificent egg donors have helped hundreds of couples achieve their dreams of parenthood.

The reproductive endocrinologists at FSMG want to educate future patients on the process of donor egg treatment in California — and support every individual on their journey to parenthood.

Why Do Intended Parents Build a Family through Egg Donation?

  • Age
  • Cancer
  • Loss of ovaries or ovarian function due to illness or injury
  • Carriers of a genetic abnormality

In the egg donation process, eggs are retrieved from a donor’s ovaries, fertilized in the laboratory by way of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the sperm of the recipient’s partner or donor sperm, and then the resulting embryo(s) are transferred into the recipient’s prepared uterus. These embryos may also be frozen for future family building.

The Egg Donation Process

Brief outline of the donor egg process:

  1. Hormones are administered to stimulate the ovaries of the egg donor to produce multiple follicles (fluid-filled sacs that contain the eggs).
  2. Multiple ultrasounds and estrogen levels will be performed to monitor the growth of the follicles. Monitoring aids in adjusting medication doses and deciding the timing of the egg retrieval. Most monitoring occurs in a 10-12 day window.
  3. Egg(s) are obtained from the ovary just prior to the expected time of ovulation. A small needle is passed through the vagina into the ovary under ultrasound guidance. This technique is performed on an outpatient basis while the donor is under intravenous sedation and analgesia. The eggs are aspirated from the ovaries and passed off the embryology team.
  4. The recipient will provide a sperm source to fertilize these retrieved eggs (this could be the partner, anonymous donor sperm or known donor sperm.)
  5. Fertilization of the egg is performed through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.
  6. Embryos are typically cultured in the lab until the 5th, 6th or 7th day of development. These embryos can be transferred into the recipient’s (or gestational carrier’s) uterus as a fresh embryo transfer, or later in a frozen transfer if chromosomal testing is desired and/or for future use.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an egg donor or additional information on the egg donor process, please visit PureOvum’s egg collective.

For Intended Parents — Where Do I Start?

Infertility can be challenging — and heartbreaking — for the individuals and couples facing it. Our egg donation program is a life-changing gift that can make the dream of becoming a parent a reality.

Selecting and Completing Your Egg Donor’s Cycle

While the process may seem difficult, the team at FSMG will walk you through each step. We start by performing a complete review of your medical records and a careful assessment to individualize your treatment.

The other components include:

  • Identifying a donor candidate for a fresh donor cycle or frozen donor cohort (2 to 12 weeks)
  • Additional donor testing (1-4 weeks), if indicated
  • Donor stimulation cycle (2 weeks) (unless using frozen eggs)

Fresh Donor Cycles. In a fresh donor cycle, your donor will be screened and complete her cycle after selection and completion of any necessary testing. The eggs will be fertilized with your sperm source on the day of the egg retrieval, and although the embryos may be frozen for future use, the eggs will not be frozen.

Frozen Donor Egg Cohorts. In a frozen donor cohort cycle, the donor will have already completed her cycle in the previous months (or years) and the eggs will be frozen in groups, or cohorts, of 6-8 eggs. These cohorts of eggs may be purchased directly from FSMG or other egg banks and shipped to our clinic for egg thaw and fertilization.

IVF with Egg Donation Success Rates

Many people seeking fertility success rates start their research with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), an organization that assists in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics in the United States in reporting their outcome data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The use of IVF with donor eggs is highly successful at FSMG and overcomes most of the natural barriers to conception and live birth — barriers such as problems with ovulation, fertilization, and egg quality (including chromosomal abnormalities).

At FSMG, we pride ourselves in assisting all patients who present with infertility, even the most challenging of medical situations. Helping our patients pursue fertility treatment to grow their families is what we do.

Learn more about Fertility Specialists Medical Group



You’re unique.
Your fertility plan should be too.