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

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 all parties (intended parents, egg donors and gestational surrogates) through the process.

Recipients over the age of 45 are referred for 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.

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)
  • Banked eggs donated by anonymous donors and provided by egg banks

All donors must meet our program’s criteria for acceptance: 21-32 years of age, medically and psychologically in good health, intelligent and educated. 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 egg donors are healthy, 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 (if applicable).

Egg 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. Alternatively, some intended parents may wish to meet the donor before participation, a request that cannot be furthered for the anonymous Yale egg donors. 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 egg 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 the intended donor meets our criteria for acceptance, but it should be noted that cycles using directed donors tend to be less successful.

Donor egg banks. Yale Fertility Center has agreements with My Egg Bank and Fairfax Egg Bank.

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.

Intended parents using a Yale Fertility Center egg donor are not required to have an 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 the donor waives all rights regarding the 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 donor. Intended parents using agency donors also need to have an outside legal contract, which is usually provided by the agency.

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

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.

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 response of the uterine lining to the medications that are used to prepare the uterus for implantation (attachment) of an embryo. We believe that our program’s high success rates, despite a diverse and international patient population, are in part due to careful execution of the mock cycles.

Once all medical testing requirements are completed participants are ready to be matched. Our 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 personal and family health history, genetic testing, previous donation history, and sets up the treatment cycle for donor and recipient.

The treatment cycle in the recipient most commonly involves pituitary suppression using daily injection of Lupron, and endometrial preparation using estrogen and progesterone. Hormonal treatment of the recipient continues until the 12th week of pregnancy. The details of medication protocol and instructions on how to administer the medications are reviewed with the coordinators.

The male intended parent provides semen on the day eggs are retrieved from the donor. If necessary or needed, his stored frozen sperm or sperm from a previously chosen sperm donor may also be used. Transfer of embryo/s into the recipient’s uterus occurs 3 to 5 days after the retrieval. The day of the transfer is determined based on the number and development of the embryos.

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

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 embryo transfer, we suggest avoiding air travel for 3 days.

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.

Egg Donor Screening Form
If you are interested in egg donation at the Yale Fertility Center please fill out the Donor Questionnaire.
Joanne Williams, RN

For more information, please contact:

Joanne Williams, 3rd Party Coordinator
(203)764-6477 | joanne.williams@yale.edu