| What Are Egg Donation Clinics?
An egg donation clinic is an fertility clinic which offers advanced fertility (reproduction) treatments including egg donation. Most clinics as well as offering egg donation, offer a range of other infertility treatments for men and women. Some fertility therapies have names which sound like something NASA would launch into space: IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI procedure), Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), micro epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) and testicular sperm aspiration (TESA). While egg donation might sound slightly less spacey, it is still a highly advanced treatment. It is where a woman (the egg donor) has her eggs surgically removed to assist another woman with fertility issues (the recipient). The eggs are fertilized in a lab usually with the recipient's partner's sperm and then inserted in the recipient's womb using IVF (in vitro fertilization). For more details, read how does egg donation work?. If you are interested in egg donation, a clinic will match you with a suitable donor and arrange the procedure from start to finish. See also, what is egg donation? and what are the pros and cons of egg donation?
Matching Donors And Recipients
Most clinics have a database of pre-screened donors who are willing to donate their eggs. Each donor has a profile which the prospective parents can read, which includes a photo, medical history, education, hobbies and a personal essay about themselves. It also includes the prospective donor's ethical heritage, age, height, weight, eyes and hair color.
As the average cost of one egg donation cycle is expensive (between $25,000 and $30,000), most clinics offer finance plans so that you can spread the payments over a number of years. Some, but not all, also offer a shared program where you can split the costs with another couple by agreeing to share the eggs taken from the egg donor. The donor will be put on infertility drugs for several weeks to boost her egg production, so she could produce anywhere between 10 and 15 eggs. Not all of these eggs will be viable, but if she is healthy and fertile a good portion should be. Usually donors who have already gone through the procedure with other couples and who have produced a bountiful supply of eggs will be in greatest demand (but you may have to pay more or go on a waiting list for their services). See, what is the cost of egg donation?
7 Questions To Ask A Clinic Before Parting With Your Money
If you are considering using a clinic, here is a list of questions you should ask them:
1. How long have you been in business?
As this is a relatively new industry, you won't get an answer like the last 50 years. However a well established clinic should have opened its doors by the mid 1990s.
2. What are your opening hours?
Some clinics close at weekends, while others are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This may turn out to be important because fertility treatments are very time-sensitive.
3. Do you guarantee a certain number of eggs?
One of the biggest concerns about egg donation is, you can't know for sure how many eggs your donor will produce until the last minute. Some clinics offer no guarantees while others do. A clinic who offers a guarantee usually has a backup plan like a donor egg bank to supplement any shortfall. An egg bank is sort of convenience store for eggs - whereby the clinic freezes excess eggs it doesn't use immediately. These may be the eggs of proven egg donors who are no longer donating.
4. Is the procedure kept completely in-house?
Some fertility clinics manage to keep their costs down by outsourcing elements of the treatment, such as the ultrasound or blood tests. Doing so may prove a false saving because the costs from third parties can be just as high if not more expensive. Ideally you want to keep the treatment completely in-house.
5. What sort of screening do you carry out on egg donors?
Ask the clinic what percentage of donor applications do they accept into their database. A rate of about 1 in 20 or 25 would be considered fine. Also ask them what tests they perform on the successful applicants, such as genetic, psychosocial and medical testing.
6. How long do I have to wait for a donor?
Some clinics have a waiting list of several weeks to months, whereas others with a larger database may have instant access. However, if you are looking for a designer baby - that is you are highly specific about the genetic material you want (such as an Ivy League educated women with specific looks or ethnicity), you may have to wait longer while the clinic actively searches for a candidate.
7. Can I meet the donor?
Some donors prefer to remain anonymous, whereas others are open to talking or skyping with prospective parents. Ask your clinic what percentage of their donors are non-anonymous.
Next: How can I find an egg donation clinic?
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• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions and our Guide to Infertility
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