5 Tips for Beginning the Donor Egg Process

One of our volunteers shares her experiences with IVF with donor egg and offers tips to beginning the process. Learn more at our Donor Egg/Surrogacy Connect & Learn Seminar on Saturday, June 2nd.

Donor Egg Hands Holding Egg

How would I describe the donor egg process? I may compare it to riding in the back seat of a New York City cab… you have an idea of where you’re going, but getting there can be a bit of an adventure. If you’ve recently made the decision to move forward with a donor egg cycle, you might be asking yourself “now what”?

Here are a few tips that may help prepare you as you begin the donor egg process:

1. Gather Insurance Information

Contact your insurance company and the financial coordinator at your chosen clinic to determine exactly what your specific insurance plan will cover regarding the cycle. Consider the following:

  • Are there specific criteria that your insurance company has for you to be approved for the cycle?
  • Do you meet those criteria?
  • Will your egg donor be covered by insurance for the procedure?
  • Will the donor’s IVF medications be covered?

Having an idea of what is covered by your insurance company and what your anticipated out-of-pocket costs will be will help you determine your overall budget.

2. Research & Compare Agencies

If you decide to use an egg donation agency to find your egg donor, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine website is a great place to start for a list of egg donation agencies. Be sure to ask the following questions of the agency representatives:

  • What is the agency fee? What does the fee include?
  • What are the donor fees? (Donor fees, agency fees and agency policies vary from agency to agency.)
  • What are estimated travel costs for out-of-state donors?
  • What is the agency’s refund policy if either party changes their mind? (Not all agencies list their refund policies on their websites.)

Email an agency representative and ask any questions that you have (having things in writing is always a good idea). It may also be helpful to make a detailed list of each agency when comparing costs and policies. Being able to compare policies and fees may help you when making your final decision on an egg donor.

3. Calculate Additional Costs

You will likely have additional out-of-pocket expenses as you pursue the donor egg path, outside of medical costs. You will most likely have to pay out-of-pocket for legal counsel for both you and your egg donor. Your clinic may also require additional expenses such as blood screening tests and supplemental insurance for your egg donor, and a coordination fee for the clinic. Your egg donor will also have to undergo mental health screening that is not typically covered by insurance. These items should be discussed with the financial coordinator at your clinic to determine all anticipated costs before moving forward.

Selecting a local donor vs. an out-of-state donor will save you travel costs. If you do select an out-of-state donor, keep in mind that you will be responsible for any travel costs associated with the cycle. This may include airfare, hotel, cab fare, and food allowances for the donor and her companion during the time of retrieval (as well as an initial visit to the clinic). The agencies will be able to give you a general estimate of these costs up front.

Be aware that some agencies also charge additional fees for lost wages for the donor during the time she is cycling, and/or childcare costs if the donor has children. These costs are not always listed on the agency websites, so be sure to ask questions.

4. Establish your Overall Budget

Once you have gathered your information, it is important to establish your overall budget. Having a good idea of what your anticipated out-of-pocket expenses may affect other decisions you make– such as whether you select a local or out-of-state donor. You may decide to save the cost of the egg donation agency fee altogether by using an egg donor known to you or selecting a clinic that has its own in-house pool of donors. Now is a good time to identify any potential cost savings, and determine what is important to you.

5. Find a Support Network

One of the most important things you can do for yourself during this process is to reach out for support. RESOLVE New England is a great resource for finding local support and discussion groups focusing on a variety of topics. Connecting with other people who are experiencing similar circumstances can be a powerful tool in the healing process. It is also a great place to exchange useful information with people who understand what you are going through.

Although this process can be overwhelming, remember that the decision to welcome donor egg as your family building path can also bring a sense of relief and new hope. Although all of this can be unpredictable at times, arming yourself with as much information as possible may help you in navigating the process.

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