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    Facts About Egg, Sperm, or Embryo Donation

    What is an egg, sperm, or embryo donation?

    • A donation is when you use the eggs, sperm, or embryos from someone else in an effort to help an intended parent achieve a pregnancy.

    Why would you use a donated egg, sperm, or embryo?

    • Couples use donated eggs, sperm, or embryos when they cannot provide their own.
    • A donation is when you use the eggs, sperm, or embryos from someone else in an effort to help an intended parent achieve a pregnancy.

    Why would you use a donated egg, sperm, or embryo?

    • Couples use donated eggs, sperm, or embryos when they cannot provide their own.
    • Using egg or sperm donations allows one of the intended parents to be genetically related to their child(ren).
    • Same sex couples need a donor to help create embryos to be used in an attempt to achieve pregnancy.
    • Donated eggs, sperm, or embryos allow the female intended parent to carry a pregnancy.

    Where do the donated materials come from?

    • Sperm donors can be known or anonymous (from an agency).
    • Egg donors can be known, anonymous through our in-house egg donor program, or from an egg donor agency.
    • Embryo donors are usually unknown and the embryos come from our in-house embryo adoption program.

    Should I tell my child that he or she was conceived using donated eggs, sperm, or embryos?

    • This is one of the hardest decisions that an intended parent will face.
    • The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Ethics Committee report states, “While ultimately the choice of the recipient parents, disclosure to the donor-conceived persons of the use of donor gametes [egg or sperm] or embryos in their conception is strongly encouraged.”
    • Mental health professionals specializing in family and fertility are available to discuss the pros and cons of the intended parents’ choice.

    What is involved in egg, sperm, or embryo donation?


    • The clinic (e.g.InVia Fertility Specialists) is responsible for testing and screening of all parties involved.
    • Including medical history, testing for sexually transmitted infections, physical exam, and an evaluation for potential genetic risks.


    Legal agreements should be drawn up so that both donors and recipients understand the following:

    • Obligations
    • Roles
    • Expectations

    This includes financial responsibilities, plans for future contact, and other arrangements. Laws vary between states and countries and it is important to understand the laws of parentage that will apply in each case for all parties involved.


    Consulting with a mental health professional is critical to the long-term health and well-being of the donor(s), intended parent(s), and child(ren). Donation can be an emotional experience for everyone involved and preparation for this with counseling can be very helpful. Donors must be evaluated for their mental health status and ability to make an informed decision about the donation. They need to understand following:

    • The possible long-term effects of the process, and
    • Explore the underlying motivations about their decision to donate.

    Intended parents benefit from exploring any concerns and their feelings about having a child with someone else’s genetic material. This is the time to decide about when, how, what, to whom, and if to disclose. In situations where the donors and recipients are known to each other, contact arrangements can be agreed upon to avoid unmet expectations or disappointments in the future.

    Special Considerations

    Consult with specialists in reproductive medicine who are qualified and experienced.

    Use legal counsel that is well-versed in reproductive law in locations where both the donor and recipients reside.

    Work with a mental health professional who is experienced and familiar with the issues of third party family building.

    Consider if, when, what, and how to disclose this to the child and others.

    Understand that:

    • Laws regarding reproductive rights are constantly changing.
    • Files regarding donation identities may be opened at any time (if they are challenged in court or if current laws change).
    • Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
    • Secrets are difficult to keep and information can be unintentionally shared or discovered with science and technology that are advanced and more widely accessible.
    • Making peace with your personal feelings about donation must be done before sharing this information.

    Most importantly, egg, sperm, or embryo donation can be an effective option for those struggling with fertility. With appropriate medical, legal, and psychological preparation, egg, sperm, or embryo donation can help build families and provide a rewarding experience for all involved.

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    Vicki Meagher

    Vicki Meagher

    Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.



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