Who Can Benefit | Emotional Issues | Financial | Selecting a Donor | Screening Process | FAQ | Words from Recipients

WHO CAN BENEFIT?

  • Egg Recipient - Alabama's Fertility Specialist in Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.Women who have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, menopause or diminished ovarian reserve.
  • Women who have had their ovaries damaged due to disease, surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
  • Women who have had their ovaries removed or women born without ovaries.
  • Women who carry a genetic disease or trait which might be passed to their children.

There is much discussion regarding when a woman is “too old” to be pregnant. At the ART Fertility Program, the physician individually evaluates women over age 49. Additional health screening tests are required.

EMOTIONAL ISSUES

Fertility treatment is a long uphill road. The path leading to Egg Donation is even more mountainous than the one you currently travel. Most couples facing egg donation as a therapeutic option are not newcomers to fertility treatment. Receiving bad news from their physician may have been the rule rather than the exception during the course of their journey. Even so, when the physician explains to a couple that egg donation may be their best, or only treatment option, most couples experience a myriad of emotions. Some couples feel shock or disbelief, some express anger and others may feel desperate or hopeless. Most couples have many questions, including “Why me?” and “How can this be fixed?”

Some women have difficulty adjusting to the idea that they will never have their own genetic child. Many women experience feelings of ambivalence, confusion, fear, grief or inadequacy regarding their role in the pregnancy and parenting process. Understanding and acceptance of these feelings as “normal” is essential. The woman must realize that being a good mother is not genetic. Parenting is an acquired skill. Through years of practice, a fierce desire and a great deal of love, parenting may be learned but it is never perfected. We highly recommend the services of a counselor who is specially trained in working with family issues to help the couple work through these feelings. The ART nurse will be happy to help arrange an appointment with one of the counselors.

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FINANCIAL INFORMATION

  • There are donor-related costs and recipient related costs.
  • The costs related to the donor (which are not covered by insurance) include her screening, education and recruitment, her compensation, IVF medications, special insurance carried on the donor for the donation process, her lab work and visits for monitoring usually with ultrasounds, the IVF egg retrieval and laboratory costs.
  • This may total between $22,000 and $23,000.
  • The recipient related costs include required testing, monitoring, laboratory services and office visits, the mock cycle test visits and procedures, special semen procedures, insemination, embryo transfer and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Some insurance carriers may cover some of the costs incurred by the egg recipient and her spouse.
  • If insurance does not cover anything, the recipient couple can expect to pay $7,000 to $9,000 for the services named above (i.e., recipient related costs) in addition to the $21,000 to $22,000 fee.
  • There may be additional costs of special procedures on an individual basis. This could include cryopreservation of excess embryos or the use of donor sperm.
  • We also offer a Shared Risk Refund Plan for Egg Recipients. Please click here.

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SCREENING PROCESS OF THE RECIPIENT

1.   The Endometrial/Uterine Cavity Evaluation

  • Mock Cycle
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood Tests
  • Sonar Insufflation Study

2.   The Semen Evaluation

  • Semen Analysis
  • Semen Penetration Assay
  • Physician may require additional screening

3.   Communicable Disease Screening (both husband and wife)

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HTLV
  • HIV
  • RPR
  • CMV

4.   Hormonal Assays On Wife

  • TSH
  • Free T4
  • Prolactin Level
  • FSH
  • Estradiol

5.   Cervical Screening On The Wife

  • Gonorrhea Culture
  • Chlamydia Culture
  • Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma Culture
  • Affirm test for trichomonas, yeast and bacterial vaginosis
  • Pap Smear

6.   General Health Screening On The Wife

  • Physical Exam
  • Breast Exam
  • CBC
  • Urinalysis
  • EKG or Treadmill Test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Fasting lab work including lipids, liver, kidney function, glucose and insulin levels

7.   Psychological Consultation

  • Required for all recipient couples

8.   Maternal Fetal Medicine consult if recipient is 45 years of age or older

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SELECTING A DONOR

The Known Donor

The recipient couple can bring a relative or friend to the Program to donate specifically for them. This woman would have to complete all the screening required of anonymous donors. In addition, the donor and spouse if she is married, and the recipient couple are required to meet with a psychological counselor to discuss the issues associated with having a life-long relationship with the egg donor.

The Anonymous Donor

The ART Fertility Program of Alabama recruits, screens and educates young women to be anonymous egg donors for our Program. The recipient couple can choose from a list of donors available at the time they are ready to begin their donation cycle. The recipient couple is provided with detailed information about the donor’s physical appearance, education, occupation, medical and social history, pregnancy and donation history and family medical history. No identifying information is revealed about the donor.

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FINDING A DONOR FROM AN AGENCY OR THE INTERNET

We at the ART Fertility Program will work with a recipient couple bringing a donor they find themselves. We would consider this a “known donor” situation. Any payment to the donor, travel arrangements, out of town screening or monitoring, etc. is to be arranged by the recipient couple and at the expense of the recipient couple. The donor must complete all the screening required of an anonymous donor.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q:  I have heard that some donors charge $50,000 for their eggs. Is that true?

A:  Some donors are solicited by donor brokerage firms and can require the recipient couple to pay whatever the market will bear. There are no laws defining what a person can charge for this service. There are laws preventing payment for human organs. The fee a recipient pays to her donor is for her time, travel and inconvenience to complete the donation process. The ART Fertility Program recruits, screens and educates the donors we offer to our recipient patients. The fee, which is set by the Program, is $4,000 for the cycle donation reimbursement.

Q:   I am afraid that if I have a child from an egg donor he or she will grow up, meet and marry their genetic half sibling. Could this happen?

A:  Theoretically, this could happen. However, the likelihood of this occurrence is very slim. This is called consanguinity.

Q:   I would like to meet my egg donor or at least, see a picture of her. Can I do this?

A:  The ART Fertility Program policy prohibits a donor and recipient from meeting. The donors come to the program with the understanding that they are anonymous. We do not show the recipient couples pictures of the adult donor; however, baby pictures may be available. This too, is to protect the donor’s identity. We have no objection to a recipient couple bringing their own donor. However, the “known” donor must meet the same screening requirements that an anonymous donor must meet.

Q:   I am afraid that the donor will come looking for me or my child. Is this a problem?

A:  In the State of Alabama, the birth mother’s name and her legal husband’s name will appear on the birth certificate. The recipient couple’s medical records may not be released by a physician unless the patient authorizes the release in writing. The donor probably could not find you without your permission.

Q:  Should I tell my child that we used an egg donor, or should we not tell?

A:  This is an age-old question. There is really no perfect answer. Some psychologists feel it is best to tell the child from a very early age that their parents used an egg (or sperm) donor. However, others feel it is best not discussed. Things that most authorities agree upon is:

  • The parents should be in agreement about what the child should be told.
  • If the child is not going to be told, then no one, other than the parents should know about the donor.
  • The worst that can happen is for the child to find out accidentally or intentionally the details of his/her conception from someone other than his or her parents.

At the ART Fertility Program, we encourage the recipient to seek the advice of a counselor or psychologist to discuss the pros and cons of this issue.

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WORDS FROM RECIPIENTS

“My experience as an egg recipient has been very positive. As a result of my experiences I have three lovely children. Anxiously waiting for an egg donor was very difficult for me. I had a few let downs and it was a very stressful time. I felt sad and I had an “empty” feeling because I needed an egg donor to begin with, but when I look at my three children I know that they are little miracles. I think about my egg donors every day. They are very special people to do this for other women and they will be blessed. I do not regret using an egg donor and I would do it again. Carrying my children for nine months and giving birth to them made me forget about those sad and “empty” feelings that I had earlier. I could not be happier now!”

“As I write this I have just completed the embryo transfer and have begun the two-week wait.

It has been a long road to get here … 5 surgeries, 4 years of treatments, and finally accepting that my only option to be able to carry a baby was with donor eggs. It’s hard to explain how I felt when they called me and said they were mailing donor profiles. There was a lot of excitement but also anxiety about choosing a donor. It’s hard to imagine that someone you don’t even know would be willing to give you this opportunity. I’m so thankful God sent me to the ART Program. My doctor and the nurses have made a difficult journey much easier.

I would encourage you if you’re considering being a donor to realize what a difference you’re making in the lives of infertile couples. All recipients would say thank you for giving us a chance to carry a baby and be a Mother. For those of you who already have children, thank God each day for this precious gift.

If you’re considering being an egg recipient go into it with an open mind and a thankful heart for the opportunity. It’s the most difficult decision we have ever made, but one I know we will never regret.”

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THE ART FERTILITY PROGRAM OF ALABAMA