You might need donor eggs to be part of your fertility treatment journey for a number of reasons. It could be due to medical complications, factors as simple as age, or maybe you’re a same-sex couple who need donor eggs so you can go ahead and use a surrogate mum.

Whatever the reason you need donor eggs, there are a different pathways to treatment, depending upon who your donor eggs come from.

There are four different types of donor; UK and overseas altruistic donors, known donors, and egg sharers.

  • UK donors are women you have donated their eggs in the hope of giving other women the opportunity to have a family. They will not know who they have donated to, or the details of any children born with the help of their donation. Once any children born reach 18 years of age, UK law allows them to access information that could lead them to find out the identity of the donor, if they wish
  • Overseas donors have also donated eggs in the hope of giving others the opportunity to start a family. The difference here is that the neither the donor or child are able to trace each other. The woman receiving eggs (and possibly her partner) will need to travel overseas for treatment.
  • Known donors – perhaps obviously – are people who agree to donate eggs to an individual or couple they know. Because all parties involved know each other’s identities, and perhaps know each other quite well personally, it’s important give this option careful thought, and essential to seek counselling.
  • Egg sharers are women undergoing IVF treatment who decide to donate some of the eggs collected during their cycle, if they produce more than are needed for their own treatment.

All donors are fully screened before donating eggs. A donor can be chosen whose physical characteristics match those of the parent.

The journey

As a couple or individual receiving donor eggs for IVF treatment, the fertility treatment journey follows the pattern outlined below – you can find the full patient journey here (Link to other patient journey – FET/other). We’ll match you with a donor and conduct all the necessary tests before treatment starts. We do place additional emphasis on implications counselling for couples receiving donor eggs, particularly if a known donor is involved.

  • Referral
  • Pre-treatment – preliminary tests and screening, initial consultation
  • Counselling – implications counselling, support counselling
  • Consents and Planning – consent forms, how to use treatment drugs, payment
  • Egg collection – (Donor coordination – donor goes through stimulation/monitor/trigger/egg collection)
  • Sperm collection
  • Insemination – IVF/ICSI
  • Monitoring
  • Embryo transfer
  • (Embryo freezing)
  • Pregnancy test
  • Outcome

The stages underlined will happen overseas for people using donor eggs from overseas e.g. Spain or the USA.