Donor Egg Journey for Same Sex Couples

 

Gestational surrogacy with donor eggs is an exciting family building option for gay couples hoping to become parents. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the process is easy—or cheap. Gay couples have many steps and decisions to make—and one of the most important is whether to use fresh donor eggs, or frozen donor eggs.

 

The Challenges and the Costs

Gay male couples who use a gestational surrogate with donor eggs for IVF face a time and cost-intensive process. The steps include:

  • Finding and screening gestational surrogates, including time, travel expenses, legal fees, and agency fees can reach $50,000 to $75,000.
  • Legal costs to prevent red tape and custody issues.
  • The costs of the IVF treatment itself.
  • Finding and screening egg donors, including another set of time, travel, and agency costs.

It’s a huge emotional and monetary investment for men committed to building a family. How does the choice of fresh or frozen donor eggs affect this investment?

 

The Risks of Fresh Donor Eggs

Fresh egg donors are often recruited through an agency. Once a couple selects an egg donor, it is recommended for the health of the unborn child that the donor is screened for any medical or psychological conditions. She usually goes through lengthy medical and psychological testing—and if you have your heart set on particular egg donor, there’s no guarantee that she’ll pass this screening.

After an egg donor passes the screening, synchronizing her menstrual schedule with your surrogate’s schedule takes time. Both women may need to travel to your location and need to work around their own busy personal lives as well—more waiting for you. There’s also no guarantee on how an egg donor will respond to treatment or how many eggs will be retrieved. A whole cycle may need to be canceled due to reasons beyond anyone’s control, and for eager dads-to-be, this delay can be very tough.

 

The Value of Frozen Donor Eggs

Frozen donor eggs have already been retrieved from carefully screened and healthy donors, in set cohorts (amounts of eggs), that are shipped to the IVF clinic of your choice. There’s no waiting for the egg donor to undergo screening, and no donor travel costs either. You also don’t have to wait for the donor and the surrogate to synchronize their schedules—you only need to worry about your surrogate, her travel expenses, and her schedule, along with any legal or agency costs.

Frozen donor eggs can make this complicated process not only simpler for gay couples, but also faster, more affordable and more convenient. This also means lower potential costs for gay couples facing legal fees and high surrogacy costs.

 

When Are Fresh Donor Eggs a Better Choice?

With all this in mind, there are some circumstances where fresh donor eggs may be a better option. There’s a greater chance that a higher number of eggs can be retrieved from a fresh donor, which means more embryos. If growing your family with multiple biological siblings is important, fresh donor eggs may give you a greater chance to fulfill that dream.

 

What Makes Fairfax EggBank Special?

Fairfax EggBank is a pioneer in egg freezing technology with many years of experience in vitrification and ART. What sets us apart from other donor egg banks?

  • Excellent customer service: Our warm, supportive, efficient customer service, plus our centralized logistics and shipping, help make the process easier and less stressful for our couples.
  • Diverse egg donors: Our frozen donor eggs have been donated by very special women held to high standards: highly screened, educated, and ethnically diverse. Feel free to browse through our egg donor database.
  • ID Option: What happens when children ask who their egg donor was? In response to parent requests, we offer a choice between anonymous egg donors and ID Option.
  • Find out more about what makes us the leading frozen egg bank.

At Fairfax EggBank, we’re proud to help gay male couples become parents. Have more questions? Please contact us.


Trisha’s Journey Part V: Donor Egg Resources I Used

[Download Trisha’s entire blog series in PDF form here]

The following blog is the fifth part to Trisha H’s journey to motherhood. The words are all her own.
To read about her fertility journey that led her to the decision to use donor eggs, click here.
If you want to learn more about how she evaluated using fresh vs. frozen donor eggs, click here.
To learn how she decided on her donor, click here.
To see what the process was after she purchased her donor’s cohort of eggs, click here.

Resources I Used Throughout the Donor Egg Process

Okay – I am probably telling you something you already know, but I will just go ahead and share it again… going through the process of deciding which donor egg options to select is NOT an easy task.  For some of us, when we opt for a donor egg cycle, we are literally putting all of our eggs in one basket.  As such, the last thing we want to do is make a wrong decision, right?  However, with so many choices and so many protocols that result successfully for other women, how do we know which are the right and wrong decisions for ourselves?  While I don’t have the answer to this question, especially because I second-guessed every decision I ever made for myself, I can tell you a good old, healthy scream worked for me whenever I encountered an indecisive moment.

So, what resources did I use throughout the donor egg process?  Let me preface this response by assuring you I do NOT work for Google.  But yes, Google was my very best friend throughout this process (Obviously, if your preference is another web browser, that option is equally as fine).  I “Googled” nearly every aspect of my donor egg process.

Finding the Right Donor Egg Bank/Agency

I would be remiss if I do not let you know that before deciding to use Fairfax EggBank, I researched other donor egg banks and donor egg agencies as well.  This research provided me the knowledge I needed to make the decision between frozen and fresh donor eggs.  It also helped to confirm Fairfax as the best choice for me.  As mentioned in one of the earlier blogs, before realizing we would need to use donor eggs, I was oblivious to our different options, although I notice other women mentioned donor eggs in a few IVF blogs.  Still, I did not realize this to be an option for me.

Before deciding to use Fairfax EggBank, I contacted perhaps a dozen other donor egg banks and donor egg agencies, and reviewed profiles of hundreds and hundreds of donors – in America and other countries.  I kept a log of each clinic and donor I was interested in learning more about.  By keeping all the information on a single spreadsheet, I was able to prioritize and eliminate donors more easily, many being fresh donors… which equaled an even longer wait and more costs.

Deciding on a Reproductive Endocrinologist and IVF Clinic

Another topic I Googled heavily is the research on different doctors.  First, I narrowed my list down to the top doctors, who have notable IVF success rates.  Next, I ordered them by donor egg program costs.  Because this was perhaps our one shot, I looked at doctors nationwide.  Although we live in Georgia, we decided to use a doctor in Arizona.  From what I gathered, in addition to their impressive success rates, the doctor worked with many other PCOS patients.  This was thumbs up in my book.

My research in this area started with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and once I had the list of doctors that interested me, I did a more granular review of each of the top doctors and their fertility programs, while also meeting face-to-face with most of the doctors.  I did this because I also wanted the chemistry to be a good match,,, I mean, if we were going to make a baby together, we had to make sure we loved him/her (our doctor) too, right?

Figuring out How to Pay for Donor Egg Costs

The cost involved in fertility treatments can be enough to make you lose your breath, even if you have outstanding medical insurance.  I have top-notch insurance, but it does not cover the donor egg portion of the process.  We had to purchase the eggs outright before our insurance actually kicked in.  To ensure we would have enough money to cover all expenses, we researched different options for financing, even high interest loans, because we wanted to understand all of our financing options should we not be able to get one through our personal bank.

ARC Fertility was the first financing firm we contacted.  They are an excellent source for financing, offering a variety of packages that are nearly tailor-made for all approved applicants.  The issue, however, is while they offer a donor package with a money back guarantee option, it is only available for fresh egg cycles.

Online crowd funding, like GoFundMe, is also an option.  We actually used this and raised more than $10K.  In addition to sending the fundraiser link to our family and friends, we had ‘request for donation’ postcards made with our picture and a snippet of our story printed on the front, and sent them to celebrities (seriously!), who have also experienced fertility issues and to the different medical doctors (offices) within a 10-mile radius of our home.  I am not sure if any of the postcard solicitations worked, but I can tell you we had several anonymous donors – so who knows?!

If the personal bank or crowdfunding options do not work and you still need financing, there are other lenders. Fairfax EggBank offers financing through CapEx and Prosper. There are also other options you can consider such as Lending Tree, Lending Club, and Avant.

 

Through the Internet, you have all the information you need at your fingertips.  I can only stress to you, do your research and try not to stress. Perhaps the most vital resource you will have and not yet mentioned is your own doctor.  Ask him/her about options related to funding and other helpful resources.  Through my doctor, I not only found Fairfax EggBank but also my acupuncturist, who came to the doctor’s office to give me two treatments on the day of transfer.  My doctor was a rich source of information.

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Let’s Chat!

I like to talk a lot – not only vocally but with my fingers.  Send me your thoughts and questions to success@fairfaxeggbank.com.  I promise to respond as promptly as possible.  Below is a list of planned blog topics, but if you have additional topics to suggest, as they relate to trying to conceive through donor options, please let me know.

Series:

The decision journey Part I: The beginning of my fertility journey and the decision to use donor eggs

The decision journey Part II: Deliberating fresh v. frozen eggs

The decision journey Part III: Finding the right donor

Part IV: How the process worked once I found my donor, and the cradle-to-grave (or “big fat positive” [BFP]) process

Part V: Resources I used throughout the decision process- Current blog

Part VI: Our future – What stories will we share with friends/family and our child(ren)