For some patients, IVF treatment using a donor egg is the only option in order to achieve conception. For many of these patients, donor egg banks provide an invaluable service, without which, their dreams of becoming parents would become unfulfilled. The majority of egg donation treatments offered globally are anonymous with patients knowing very little about the donors apart from the fact they have been selected on the basis that they are physically, psychologically and genetically healthy.
Donor egg banks offer patients and IVF clinics the opportunity to have a ready-made supply of donor eggs that have been legitimately and legally given by fully consented women. Many donor egg banks are also able to provide enhanced profiles of their donors so recipients are able to learn more about them. This information may include reference to donors’ details such as their race, hair and eye colour, height, level of education, religion and so on.
Table of Contents
- 1 How do egg donor banks work?
- 2 Who can use donor eggs from a bank?
- 3 Egg donor banks – guarantees
- 4 How do donor egg banks screen donors?
- 5 Egg donation packages at IVF clinics
- 6 Best egg donor banks – what to consider?
- 7 Egg donor banks – a summary
- 8 Egg Donor Database – Clinics
- 9 Egg donor database – Frequently Asked Questions
- 9.1 Is it difficult to find an egg donor?
- 9.2 How much do donor eggs cost?
- 9.3 Can I buy donor eggs from a specific donor to undergo IVF treatment in a clinic of my choice?
- 9.4 If I select an egg donor, can I be sure that she has been reserved only for me?
- 9.5 What if it turns out that the egg donor I’m interested in is no longer available?
- 9.6 What egg donor details are available in the database?
- 9.7 Can I choose an egg donor based only on her looks?
- 9.8 Where can I find an egg donor as I have a very unique phenotype?
- 9.9 If I find an egg donor and I would like to have the eggs transported to my country or to a selected clinic, will I have to pay extra for shipping?
- 9.10 I don’t want to use egg shipping. Can the egg donor come to my country and have egg retrieval done in a selected clinic?
- 9.11 What information about an egg donor can I receive? What information is made available by egg banks?
- 9.12 Is there a centralized information/egg bank where I can find all available donors?
- 9.13 If I use donor eggs from my treatment, will the baby look like me?
- 9.14 I would like to become a donor. Can you help me?
How do egg donor banks work?
There are a number of donor egg banks around the world and they openly recruit donors. Depending on the country in which the bank is based donors may be compensated for donating their oocytes and there might be limits on the number of times they can donate. During the recruitment process donors are screened to ensure their physical and psychological health and ordinarily receive initial assessment and ongoing support from experienced counsellors and coordinators.
Due to the logistical difficulties of having to synchronise the donor’s menstrual cycle with the recipients, no guarantee of the donor being able to produce the required number of eggs and transport donor egg banks hold frozen eggs. Recipients who use the services of donor egg banks have often waited a considerable time to be in a position to achieve a pregnancy therefore they are paying for a service which provides a certain degree of certainty. Egg banks provide this by selling specific quantities of eggs obtained by highly screened donors which are viable and are ready to be shipped (if necessary), thawed and used in the assisted reproductive process.
Once donors have undergone a rigorous assessment and screening process they are required to take a number of injections to stimulate their ovaries and enable the eggs to mature before the collection procedure which normally takes around 30 minutes. The donor is sedated during the treatment and most women find the process relatively painless and are able to return to normal activities the following day. The mature eggs are then frozen by the bank’s embryologists in liquid nitrogen and stored in a secure location until ready for shipment and use.
Many donor egg banks will offer specialised plans based on your requirements. Consequently, they might offer oocyte packages, a specific number of frozen eggs that you can use now or retain in an IVF clinic for future treatments.
Who can use donor eggs from a bank?
Egg donor banks obtain eggs from donors. As such they are permitted to provide donated eggs to the IVF clinic for use as long as it is legally permitted in the country in which the eggs are transported and then used. Women who have poor ovarian health, who experience medical conditions which prevent them from achieving and maintaining a pregnancy or who are acting as a surrogate can benefit from using eggs obtained from an egg bank. Depending on the law of the country in which the IVF clinic is based recipients do not necessarily have to have a partner and could be in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship. For more information visit our IVF Abroad – Questions and Answers section.
Egg donor banks – guarantees
Many donor egg banks offer success guarantees and these will vary bank by bank or will be packaged differently. Guarantees may be related to the number of oocytes after thawing and being used for the fertilization. Some banks may offer “pregnancy guarantee” packages.
The survival rate of frozen oocytes from donors has significantly increased over the years. According to ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) there is no significant difference in treatment outcomes when comparing fresh and frozen donor eggs used for the treatment.
“It is recommended to tell recipients that previously cryopreserved donor oocytes are a reasonable option compared with fresh donor oocytes, given that there is good evidence that there are no significant differences in per transfer pregnancy rates compared with those with fresh donor oocytes.”
The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine
If you do however check to see if this guarantee applies to donated eggs that are shipped to any IVF clinic – remember it is best that you have a say in what clinic you have your treatment in and you not be guided solely by any guaranteed product. In addition to these product guarantees egg donor banks in general guarantee a convenient process whereby viable eggs and embryos are offered in order that your treatment can begin immediately and you are able to choose oocytes from the same donor ensuring biological siblings.
How do donor egg banks screen donors?
All banks will perform a number of standard screening procedures to ensure the personal and fertility health of the donor. Donors have an initial fertility assessment which includes a pelvic ultrasound scan and blood test to check their level of ovarian reserve. They will also participate in a psychological evaluation to ensure they have emotionally processed the act of donation and to assess their level of mental health. Finally they will also undertake a number of medical tests to rule out such things as:
- sexually transmitted diseases,
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
- some genetic tests to rule out any hereditary diseases.
The donor will also be asked for their consent for all of the required tests, assessments and the donation procedure itself.
Banks will also enquire whether the donor has previously got pregnant and given birth. The response will be important as someone who has proved to be fertile will usually be a strong donor candidate.
Egg donation packages at IVF clinics
IVF clinics may calculate the treatment costs based on specific numbers of eggs (oocytes from the bank) included in the package. Check with the clinic directly to assess which package is right for you now and for potential use in future treatments.
Best egg donor banks – what to consider?
Please note, there is no “best egg bank” for everyone. Different banks will offer unique packages or pricing plans, others may specialise in specific types of donors. For instance, in Eastern European egg banks you may have difficulties finding donors of African ethnicity. The banks in the USA and in Europe offer the great choice of donors. Oocytes in the USA are considerably more expensive than in Europe so you need to shop around and may have to personally contact banks to get specific prices as many do not publish these on their websites. You may want to also ask about how many times a donor can donate at a specific bank.
You may be interested in reading our Best Egg Donor Banks Worldwide Guide.
Egg donor banks – a summary
If you are told that you require an egg donor to achieve a pregnancy you have many options. Many IVF clinics will offer their own egg banks or you have the option to use the services of a number of national and international donation banks.
Accessing egg donor eggs can be expensive but obtaining them from established banks ensures a certain level of quality which will enhance your chances of getting pregnant.
Your IVF clinic will advise you regarding the use of donor eggs but spend time researching your options; look at the services offered by dedicated egg donor banks and assess which will give you the greatest chance of success.
Ensure that the country in which you are having your treatment can accept eggs collected by the bank and where always ask about the matching policy and procedure of the bank to ensure your baby will have similar characteristics to you and/or your partner.
There is a lot of help out there for anyone requiring egg donation treatment – seek as much as you can before committing to anything. Remember forewarned is forearmed!
Are you searching for an egg donor in the UK?
Finding an egg donor for IVF can be difficult as phenotypes vary from patient to patient. According to medical organisation guidelines, you should look for the donor who matches your phenotype – at least – race, skin color, height, hair color, and eye color. As there are countries like the UK where egg donation is allowed – there are restrictions with donor’s compensation and anonymity. UK donors have to be non-anonymous according to the law. That makes it really difficult to find donors who are willing to donate their eggs. This is one of the reasons patients from the UK are going abroad for donor egg treatment. There’s also a financial reason – as treatment abroad is often cheaper than in the UK.
Are you searching for an egg donor in Australia?
There’s a similar situation in Australia as donors are non-anonymous so there are not many of them available and donor egg treatment is expensive. That’s why Australian patients going abroad as well as patients from the UK.
The UK and Australia are just examples of what causing patients to go abroad that we have discussed in the post Australians go to Europe for IVF with donor eggs.
Egg donors in other countries
Obviously, there are other countries struggling with similar problems or countries where egg donation is not allowed at all – for example – Germany where egg donation treatment is not allowed at all. German patients are forced to go abroad looking both for donors and IVF clinics.
Where to find an egg donor?
Most of the IVF clinics that offer egg donation treatment options are running their own egg banks – so they recruit egg donors directly. Don’t be afraid to look for a specific donor directly in IVF clinics – check IVF clinics with an in-house egg donor database here >>>
You may also be interested in using our unique tool – Clinic Matching Test, where you can specify the donor race you’re looking for. Our tool will find IVF clinics in Europe that support patients with selected donors.
You may also check the clinics that offer:
- IVF with donor eggs in Spain
- IVF with donor eggs in the Czech Republic
- IVF with donor eggs in Greece
- IVF with donor eggs in North Cyprus
- IVF with donor eggs in Portugal
- IVF with donor eggs in Latvia
- IVF with donor eggs in Estonia
Most of the clinics will not be able to transport eggs internationally – however, if you think one of those destinations might be a good option for your IVF treatment, it may be worth looking at it.
Egg donors in the USA
If we look at donor availability – the best destination is the USA as you’ll find all types of donors over there. However treatment costs are very high – the average donor cost is $8,000-12,000 and it doesn’t include the IVF treatment procedures (fertilization, lab procedures, embryo transfer, etc.). There are many well-established egg banks in the USA, however, not all of them offer transportation of oocytes to Europe.
Is it possible to ship frozen eggs from the US to any country in Europe?
Yes, it is possible to order frozen eggs from the US to any country in Europe as long as the legal regulations in that country allow egg donation. Cryos International has an egg bank located in the US, from where it is possible to order donor eggs, but only to fertility clinics in countries where egg donation is legal. If donor eggs are not allowed in your treatment country, you need to travel to another country to receive treatment.
The insight provided by Saghar Kasiri, Director of European Operations, Cryos International
Quality of donor eggs
Egg banks which can guarantee to have full control over their entire donation process from the recruitment of their donors to the medical procedures including egg collection and freezing of the eggs, have shown very high-quality standards of their eggs. In popular IVF destinations, egg donors are qualified in accordance with the rigorous testing process, usually resulting from law restrictions. Apart from that, most of the donor egg banks qualify donors according to medical organisations’ guidelines and recommendations. Egg donors are healthy young women – between 18-35 years old – depending on the country.
Egg Donor Database – Clinics
Below you will find a list of clinics with their own egg banks which may provide donor oocytes. The donor oocytes are available as fresh or frozen eggs depending on the patient’s needs depending on the destination. The egg donors in our participating Clinics have been accepted according to international regulations and recommendations.
What are the best egg donor banks?
IVF treatment should be personalised and therefore your choice of donor bank will be subjective and led by your personal requirements.
The best egg banks will most importantly offer high quality eggs with proven results and high internal standards for control of the whole donation process and vitrification of the eggs. They will also offer good donor availability with variety of ethnicities to ensure you can access a good match, can transport donations safely and efficiently and collaborate with the best IVF clinics across the globe. A selection of European and American banks for reference is provided below:
Egg donor database and egg banks in Europe
- Cryos International – Cyprus
- Aphrodite Egg Bank – Cyprus
- Gametia Biobank – Spain
- Innova Cryobank – Spain
- NewLife Bank – Spain
- ProCrear Egg Bank – Spain
- Ovogenbank – Ukraine
- OvoBank – Spain
- OVORIA – Ukraine.
Egg donor database and egg banks in the USA
- Cryos International
- Fairfax Egg Bank
- Donor Egg Bank
- The World Egg Bank
- Egg Donor America
- My Egg Bank
- Global Donor Egg Bank
- Egg Donation – Elite Donors
- Lucina Egg Bank
- International Egg Bank
Egg donor database and egg banks in Georgia
- New Life Georgia
Check the list of egg banks worldwide >>>
Egg donor database – Frequently Asked Questions
Is it difficult to find an egg donor?
Well, it depends on the recipient’s requirements. However, in popular IVF destinations in Europe – there is no waiting list for egg donors. Most of the phenotypes are available immediately.
The most common donor races available across Europe in the most popular IVF destinations:
- Caucasian, white (Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Russia, Estonia,)
- Spanish / Latino (Spain, Portugal)
- Black / Indian (Cyprus, Spain)
- Mixed races (Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece)
The least frequent egg donor races in European egg banks and clinics (however still possible to find in Europe)
- Native American,
- Middle Eastern
How much do donor eggs cost?
Depending on the egg bank or the clinic the cost of oocytes from the donor varies. European egg banks offer oocytes at an average cost of EUR 500 per egg/oocyte. You will need, on average, minimum 6-8 oocytes. In the USA, where access to egg donors is open – there are many donors available, the prices are higher and average $16,000 for 6 – 12 oocytes (including shipping).
Can I buy donor eggs from a specific donor to undergo IVF treatment in a clinic of my choice?
After selecting your egg donor from an external egg bank you will be able to have IVF treatment with her eggs in a clinic that has accepted the donor. Please bear in mind you need to check with an egg bank if they support your destination as there may be different law requirements as per country.
If I select an egg donor, can I be sure that she has been reserved only for me?
Egg banks are used by Patients from around the globe. A patient can select eggs from a specific donor or reserve eggs for later use directly from the egg bank. It is also possible that the clinic places the order from the egg bank. You must be sure that the donor you have selected meets all the relevant regulatory requirements in your intended treatment country. In some countries, your selected IVF clinic may have to order or reserve the eggs on your behalf.
If you decide to select the donor directly from the clinics´ own donor database – unless you arrange the details of your proposed IVF treatment with donor eggs with the clinic, you cannot be certain that your selected egg donor will be available.
What if it turns out that the egg donor I’m interested in is no longer available?
If this is the case the clinic or egg bank will contact you and suggest a similar egg donor.
What egg donor details are available in the database?
If you select eggs from an egg bank, depending on the country where the egg bank is located, you will have access to a lot of information about the donor when entering their website.
IVF clinics do generally not offer a database with donors to choose from on their website, but they can provide you with basic information about their donors upon request.
Can I choose an egg donor based only on her looks?
Theoretically yes. However, in most countries that offer egg donation programs, full or partial donor-recipient phenotype compatibility is required. This means that in order to have an IVF program, the basic characteristics of the donor and recipient need to be very similar, for example, ethnicity, eye/hair colour and height. Such practice is recommended by international medical associations like ESHRE or ASRM The idea is that the baby’s appearance would not differ much from the looks of at least one parent.
Where can I find an egg donor as I have a very unique phenotype?
If you are searching for an egg donor with a rare phenotype, you should ask the egg bank or a clinic for advice. There are some phenotypes that are quite rare, for example, blonde hair,185 cm/6 foot tall, and a specific body type.
If I find an egg donor and I would like to have the eggs transported to my country or to a selected clinic, will I have to pay extra for shipping?
Yes. The cost for oocyte shipping can be quite high, in Europe, EUR 1,000 or more. Oocytes are genetic material and they have to be transported in a special container. There are IVF courier companies that deal with egg shipping and their services are usually expensive. From a financial point of view, it pays off to have an egg donation program in a clinic that is located near the egg bank.
I don’t want to use egg shipping. Can the egg donor come to my country and have egg retrieval done in a selected clinic?
It is rarely practiced but it is possible. There are agencies that can help you find such a donor. This is a very expensive option as the patient needs to pay a fee to the agency. This, in most cases, includes the egg donor compensation and their travel costs. In addition, you need to cover the cost of their assessment tests, clinic visits, the stimulation process, medicines and egg retrieval. Remember, before you decide, find out if you are allowed to use a donor from abroad in your home country.
What information about an egg donor can I receive? What information is made available by egg banks?
It depends on the egg bank and the country where the bank is located. Spanish egg banks do not reveal information, while in Cyprus, Greece, USA, Ukraine or Russia you can learn much more about donors and the information often available online.
On their websites, the banks provide not only basic information such as on the height, weight, race, education, blood group, eye and hair colour and hair structure, but some also offer more extensive data like voice recording, information about hobbies, interests, handwritten notes and child and adult photos of the donors.
Is there a centralized information/egg bank where I can find all available donors?
Unfortunately, there isn’t one. Every egg bank has their own regulations and terms of operation. Some of the banks provide access to their donor database and some do not. Instead, some banks deal with every donor inquiry separately. Some egg banks offer a possibility of booking and purchasing oocytes via their website. However, there is no central egg donor database.
If I use donor eggs from my treatment, will the baby look like me?
It’s a difficult question. Please refer to the article: Will the baby look like me? Donor egg IVF concerns. You will find all the IVF recipient concerns explained. Please also ask the doctor at the clinic where you are going to undertake your treatment. Most of the IVF clinics will match the egg donor characteristics to yours – phenotype matching (egg donation matching) – as it is assumed it may give the best chance the baby will look like you.
I would like to become a donor. Can you help me?
For those of you who wish to donate your eggs (either to an egg bank or directly to a couple in need) we are going to create a special egg donor database. This online database will soon be available on our website. You will be able to create a donor profile that will visible to thousands of couples in need and participating IVF clinics. Once the tool is up and running we will inform you about it on our social media channels. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you want to start donating your eggs sooner, browse the clinics or egg banks in your area.