Not everyone who wants to have children can do so on their own. For single parents and LGBT people who want to expand their families, egg donation plays a crucial role in helping them realize their dream of becoming parents. In this article, we’ll look at how egg donation can benefit LGBT-intended parents and those who want to have biological children but don’t have a partner.
What Is Egg Donation and How Does It Work?
Egg donation is a process where a woman donates her eggs to be used in assisted reproduction procedures for another couple or individual. It’s a wonderful option for people who otherwise cannot have children due to a lack of a female partner.
Here are the steps you can expect to take as a single intended parent or LGBT couple looking to have children through egg donation:
- You will have to look for a woman to donate eggs for you. This may be someone you know or an unknown person recruited by an egg agency or fertility clinic.
- The chosen donor will then undergo a thorough screening process to be sure that she is physically, medically, and emotionally fit to donate eggs.
- Once she’s approved, the donor will receive hormone injections to stimulate her ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs. Your fertility doctor will schedule the egg retrieval procedure when the donor’s eggs are grown enough and ready to be collected,
- During this procedure, the doctor will insert a small needle into her ovaries through the vagina to collect the eggs. This typically takes place under mild sedation and with the help of an ultrasound.
- The retrieved eggs are then mixed with sperm from you or your partner (if you have one) to form embryos (in vitro fertilization). Donor sperm can also be used.
- These embryo(s) are then transferred into the womb of a surrogate who will carry the pregnancy until delivery.
Benefits of Using Donor Eggs
- Opportunity to Have Biologically Related Children
Unlike adoption or fostering, using an egg donor gives the intended parents a chance to share a genetic connection with their babies. When you use donated eggs, half of your baby’s genetic material will come from the donor, while the remaining half will be from you or your partner.
- Sex Selection and Genetic Testing
Egg donation allows would-be parents to select the sex of their future baby and test the embryos for chromosomal abnormalities before transfer. Gender selection can be especially important for those who want a specific gender to balance their family or prevent the transfer of a sex-linked genetic condition to their babies.
3. Allows for a Larger Family
Another advantage of using donor eggs is that it allows you to build a larger family. A single batch of donor eggs may produce up to 3 embryos, giving the intended parents the opportunity to create a big family of genetically-related siblings.
4. High Success Rates
Egg donation is the most successful of all fertility treatments. This is because these eggs are typically collected from young, fertile women, which increases the chances of achieving a pregnancy. And this high success rate is true for both frozen and fresh donor eggs, thanks to advances in egg-freezing techniques.
Finding an egg donor
The first and most important step in the egg donation process is finding an egg donor. Single-intended parents and LGBT people have several options to consider when looking for donor eggs to build their families. These include:
● An Egg Donor Agency
If you want to use fresh donor eggs for your IVF treatment, you may want to work with an egg donor agency. These agencies look for qualified women who are interested in egg donation and match them with those who need donor eggs to become parents. While getting a donor through this route can be costly, you are more likely to find your ideal egg donors with agencies as they tend to have a large pool of donors that you can select from.
● Fertility Clinic
Many IVF clinics do have an in-house egg donor program for their patients. Although some clinics will ask you to work with a donor affiliated with them, others will allow you to use a donor from an external source. So, it’s important to verify with your would-be fertility clinic to know if they can help you get a donor.
● Egg Bank
Alternatively, intended parents may also decide to use frozen eggs from an egg bank. These eggs are already collected from screened donors, so they are available for immediate use. Another advantage of choosing this option is that it can significantly reduce the cost of IVF treatment cycles.
● Sourcing for Your Egg Donor
Lastly, intended parents may choose to search for an egg donor themselves. They can ask a family member or friend to donate for them or place ads on social media and in newspapers. However, looking for an egg donor on your own can be difficult and take-consuming. That is why it is better to consider other options, such as using frozen donor eggs, if you want to begin your IVF treatment quicker and more efficiently.
How Much Does It Cost to Use Donor Eggs?
The cost of having a baby through egg donation varies based on the type of eggs to be used. Fresh eggs can cost twice as much as frozen ones. On average, the cost of an egg donor program in the United States is around $20,000 to $35,000. This does not usually include other expenses like the donor’s travel fees, doctor appointments, legal fees, and other expenses.
And chances are that you will need more than one IVF cycle to achieve a pregnancy, which can increase the cost of your treatment. Fortunately, frozen donor eggs are less costly. You only need to pay for the cost of the donor eggs plus shipping, as well as the cost of your IVF treatment. And the good news is that the live birth rates with frozen eggs are comparable to that of fresh ones.
Egg donation is an excellent option for single parents and LGBT-intended families who want to grow a family. It gives these people a chance to have a biological connection to the child through IVF but also has a higher success rate than any other assisted reproduction option. However, having a baby with donor eggs is a complex process. So, it is best to work with surrogacy professionals and seek support from friends and families to help you navigate this fulfilling and life-changing journey.