Initiating the process of having a baby through egg (ovum) donation may seem complicated at first, but take comfort in knowing that our experienced physicians, nurses, counselors, and staff will guide you step-by-step through the entire process.
Choosing an Egg Donor
An important step in the ovum donation process is choosing a donor. At UCSF, we respect that the process of determining the right donor is a uniquely personal decision. We have several resources, including a psychologist with expertise in fertility and family building, to assist in the decision-making process.
There are two basic types of ovum donors:
Known donors: A known donor is usually a relative or a friend. All known donors must pass minimum screening criteria. They may or may not receive compensation for their egg donation.
Recruited donors: These are usually young women with excellent reproductive potential who are compensated for the time and effort involved in assisting patients to become pregnancy. Recruited donors may be found through egg donor agencies or through the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health in-house donor program.
Using a Donor from the UCSF CRH Donor Program
The team at UCSF recruits and screens a pool of in-house donors who are available for selection by our patients. The cornerstone of our program is our highly selective and comprehensive screening process. In recruiting and screening donors, we adhere to the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the United States Food and Drug Administration and our own institutional Board of Ethics. Our donors are recruited and screened by our Donor Program Team, which includes a reproductive endocrinologist, a clinical psychologist, certified genetic counselors, and program coordinators. Donors become available for matching only after their screening has been fully completed and candidates are deemed to be suitable candidates per all guidelines. This includes a review of medical and family history, a thorough physical examination, genetic and mental health screening, and testing for infectious diseases.
Our multidisciplinary team works together to ensure that donors in our pool are eligible candidates for donation. This means that you are unlikely to experience the disappointment of carefully choosing a donor from an agency only to find out they are ineligible once they are medically screened. You may also find that working with a donor from our internal program is often less expensive than working with an agency donor.
Choosing an Agency Donor
The benefit of going through an outside agency is having access to a larger pool of donors. However, agencies often only perform partial screenings on their donors, so our program usually needs to do additional screening according to our standard policies. If you are interested in using a donor from an outside donor agency, we will provide you with a list of recommended donor agencies we have worked with in the past. We recommend that you ask the agency about their policies and procedures for recruitment and screening directly. Donors from outside agencies must have a mental health screening arranged through the agency and must meet specific criteria for eligibility, such as recent infectious disease screening, in order to proceed with a cycle with our center. Once selected, the donor will undergo an exam performed by one of our physicians prior to cycle planning.
Egg Donation FAQs
Our donors are between the ages of 21 and 33. To maximize the likelihood of success, we recommend that you choose a donor who is under the age of 35. Other factors related to likelihood of success are having previously carried a pregnancy to term, or having previously completed an ovum donor cycle with positive results. Other factors that many patients consider are physical characteristics, ethnic background, family medical history, educational background, and personality characteristics. Our team can help you with any questions you have about the selection process.
Our in-house donors undergo an extensive screening process. Prospective donors complete a detailed questionnaire that is reviewed by our team. Donors that meet specific criteria will be invited to undergo additional screening by our team. A reproductive endocrinologist the donor’s medical screening, while our psychologist conducts the donor’s psychological screening.
Our board-certified genetic counselor screens for family history of birth defects or hereditary diseases via a comprehensive family history intake. The prospective donor must also undergo a physical exam, urine cultures and blood tests to rule out the presence of infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. In addition, our donors are screened for over 170 autosomal recessive conditions as well as their blood type. The ASRM and FDA guidelines are followed for all screening procedures.
Donors are often willing to meet recipients. If you would like to request a meeting, please let us know, if the donor agrees we will arrange this for you. The meeting is an opportunity for you to thank the donor for her donation and to build a bridge of goodwill for possible future communication. Meetings are facilitated by our clinical psychologist. They can only take place after an official match has been made.
The first step is to discuss your known donor with your reproductive endocrinologist. He or she will help determine if your known donor is a good candidate. Known donors are usually younger than 35 years old, in good health, and have a healthy family background.
Your donor will sign a consent form in which she relinquishing all rights and responsibilities regarding the donated eggs. In California, the woman who delivers the baby is the legal mother except in pre-arranged gestational carrier arrangements. Thus, for women using ovum donation to conceive, there is no need to file any legal documents to establish the parentage of the child.
Laws regarding the use of donor ovum vary in different states and countries. We can provide resources for legal assistance if desired.
Ovum donation can be a wonderful way for those who are unable to conceive on their own to become parents. Nonetheless, arriving at the decision to pursue ovum donation can be a difficult process. Patients often come to this decision after giving a lot of thought to what becoming parents means to them. patients may consider other options at this time as well, including adoption or not having children. Our psychologists are available to help you think through your thoughts and feelings about the varied family building options available to you.
Visit us in San Francisco
Academic standards. Pioneering research. Personalized care. Start your journey at the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, located in Northern California's San Francisco Bay Area.