Egg Donation

For women who can't conceive due to problems with their eggs, using donor eggs could be a way to become pregnant. The fertility specialists at UI Health offer expertise in using this procedure.

Who is a Candidate for Egg Donation?

This procedure may be appropriate for women who were born without ovaries, whose ovaries have been removed due to endometriosis or tumors, whose ovaries have been damaged by radiation or chemotherapy, or whose ovaries are now producing eggs with decreased viability due to advanced maternal age, premature menopause, or chromosomal abnormalities. An increasing number of women are choosing egg donor programs when other traditional infertility therapies, including in vitro fertilization, have been unsuccessful.

When deciding whether egg donation is an acceptable alternative to help a couple become parents, there are several things to consider. Often, there are emotional, psychological, and sometimes legal issues that need to be resolved before egg donation is decided upon. Our program works with several professional counselors who are experienced in helping couples make this decision.

The Egg Donation Process

A woman serving as the egg donor undergoes stimulation of her ovaries with medication to try to produce several eggs. The eggs are then removed from her ovaries through the vagina using ultrasound. These eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with the sperm from the partner of the embryo recipient (who has been on a medication regimen to help prepare the lining of the uterus to receive embryos).

Finding an Egg Donor

After deciding to pursue egg donation, the next major decision is choosing an egg donor. A couple may choose to have either an anonymous donor or someone they designate. Sisters and close friends often become excellent egg donors.

If a couple chooses to use a designated donor (someone known to them), we require that she have a separate consultation visit with us and arrange for screening tests at that time. Recipients are welcome to come along for that visit, but we will meet with the donor privately for part of the consultation. We also will make arrangements for the donor, the recipient, and the recipient's partner to participate in counseling to gain insight and support throughout the process.

Donors also can be identified through an outside egg donor recruitment agency. The agency coordinates some of the screening and then works with our program at the appropriate time. All donors are screened for any family history of birth defects or hereditary diseases. They also undergo a medical and social history, physical examination, psychological screening, and laboratory screening. The recruited donor may remain anonymous or agree to be interviewed by the recipient. The recipient may even accompany the donor through the entire in vitro fertilization process.

Egg Donor Agencies

Alternative Reproductive Resources
2000 N. Racine Ave # 4500
Chicago, IL 60614

2 North Riverside Plaza, Suite 1430
Chicago, IL 60606

Center for Egg Options
3100 N. Dundee Rd. Suite 101
Northbrook, IL 60062