Egg Donation for the Recipient

The Yale Fertility Center Egg Donation Program has achieved successful results for couples from around the country and all over the world since 1989, when the first baby born through egg donation in New England was conceived in the Yale program. We offer state of the art treatment, high success rates, and rapid matching to a pool of intelligent, articulate and successful young donors.


Egg donation is indicated in any clinical condition in which pregnancy is desired and the female partner cannot provide eggs for fertilization, or when eggs are available but unacceptable for use, such as by certain chromosomal and genetic conditions. Candidates for egg donation include:

  • Women born without functioning ovaries.
  • Women whose ovaries were surgically removed.
  • Women with premature ovarian failure.
  • Women who are postmenopausal.
  • Women with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Women with a history of multiple failed IVF cycles and/or who are poor responders to ovarian stimulation
  • Male same-sex couples
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Intended parents seeking egg donation should be medically and psychologically healthy and able to provide written consent to participate. We offer complete comprehensive medical screening, teaching and preparation for participation in our program. We also provide psychological support and counseling to help guide intended parents through the process.

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Women over the age of 45 are provided with cardiovascular testing and a high-risk obstetrical consultation with the Yale Maternal Fetal Health Program before undertaking IVF with donor eggs. We recommend that recipients of donor oocytes be no older than 52 years of age at the estimated time of embryo transfer.

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Our program offers potential recipients of egg donation the opportunity to select:

  • Yale recruited anonymous donors
  • Donors from private recruiting agencies
  • Directed donors (such as sisters, other relatives and friends)

All donors must meet our criteria for acceptance: intelligent, educated, 21-32 years of age, and medically and psychologically in good health. In addition to a comprehensive medical and psychological screening, egg donors undergo laboratory testing for transmissible, hormonal, and common genetic disorders. It is important to note that egg donor testing is regulated by the Federal Drug Association (FDA). Yale Egg Donation and Gestational Surrogacy Program strictly adheres to FDA regulations on donor screening.

Anonymous donors are recruited and screened by our program. Yale donors are educated, attractive, articulate and bright young women. Intended parents are provided with a current photo of the donor and comprehensive information including her health history, family health history, eye color, hair color, height, weight, blood type, ancestry, educational level, occupation, interests, and outcome of previous donations.

Donors from private recruiting agencies. In some cases intended parents may be looking for characteristics in the donor that we are not able to provide, or may wish to meet the donor before participation. We work with donor agencies who recruit donors around the country and locally. We are happy to provide a recommended list to interested participants.

Directed donors are generally recruited by the recipients, and are screened by our program. Intergenerational donations (i.e. daughter to mother) are not acceptable and all donations by family members are evaluated on a case by case basis. Intended parents are welcome to bring their own donor as long as she meets our criteria for acceptance, but it should be noted that cycles using directed donors tend to be less successful.

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There is no waiting list in our program and it typically takes about one month to be matched to a donor following completion of entry requirements.

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Intended parents using a Yale Fertility Center donor are not required to have a outside legal contract because they and the donors are protected under the legal guidelines provided by the university. An important part of the consent process is that donors waive all rights regarding their donated oocytes which become the property of the intended parents.

Intended parents using a directed donor are required to have an outside legal contract with their donors. Intended parents using agency donors also need to have an outside legal contract which is usually provided by the agency.

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The first step in learning more about our program is to have a consultation with Dorothy Greenfeld,our program counselor. This meeting is designed to educate potential intended parents about program issues including donor recruitment, donor screening, the matching process, treatment protocols and program costs. This meeting also includes a discussion of the social and psychological aspects of egg donation.

Following that meeting couples interested in entering the egg donation program make an appointment with Dr. Emre Seli, the Director of Yale Fertility Center Egg Donation and Gestational Surrogacy Program, for a medical consultation (generally the same day). This meeting includes a comprehensive description of the donation process as well as a thorough evaluation and review of the recipient couple’s medical history, a medical examination, a review of treatment protocols and a discussion of possible side effects and medical complications.

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Required screening includes blood tests for both partners, semen analysis, and evaluation of the uterine cavity by sonohysterography. Additional testing may be indicated based on age and medical/genetic history. For example, women over the age of 45 have cardiovascular testing and a high-risk obstetrical consultation before undertaking IVF with donor eggs. Once the diagnostic testing is completed, a Trial (Mock) Cycle will be scheduled.

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This is a trial cycle that mimics the medication protocol that the recipient follows during an oocyte donation transfer cycle. The purpose of the Mock Cycle is to evaluate the uterine lining response to the medications used to prepare the uterus for the implantation of an embryo. We believe that our high success rates despite a diverse and international patient population are in part due to careful execution of mock cycles.

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Once all medical testing requirements are completed participants are ready to be matched. Our egg donation team takes into careful consideration intended parents’ preferences for donor characteristics. These include, but are not limited to: eye color, hair color, height, weight, ancestry, educational level, and previous donation history. Once intended parents agree on a suitable match, they meet with the physician who goes over the donor’s family health history including her previous donation history, and sets up the treatment cycle for donor and recipient.

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The treatment cycle in the recipient most commonly involves pituitary suppression using Lupron daily injection, and endometrial preparation using estrogen and progesterone. The details of medication protocol and instructions on how to administer the medications are reviewed with the coordinators.

The partner of the recipient collects semen on the day of the retrieval. If necessary, frozen sperm of the partner or a sperm donor may also be used. Embryo transfer occurs 3 to 5 days after the retrieval. The day of the transfer is determined based on the number and morphology of available embryos.

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In total, the treatment cycle is completed in 4 to 8 weeks.

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Overseas patients may perform most of their testing in their home country. During the treatment cycle recipients are instructed to arrive to Connecticut on a Saturday preceding the egg retrieval, which usually occurs on Monday or Tuesday of the following week. Following transfer, we suggest avoiding air travel for 3 days.

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Total costs may vary depending on whether the intended parents have coverage for their testing and/or medications. You will meet with our financial coordinator, Rebecca Rodriguez, at the time of your initial visit, for a complete review of our fee schedule.

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