Donor eggs offer the only chance of a live birth to a large number of women whose ovaries do not work, whose eggs are no longer viable, who may carry a genetic disorder or who have failed multiple other fertility treatments. While coming to accept the need for donated eggs can in itself be difficult, the high cost of the procedure adds yet another obstacle to the family-building journey.
Many couples and single women simply cannot afford the standard cost of donor egg IVF in the United States. In many centers the total cost of donor egg IVF exceeds $30,000. To make matters worse, very few insurance policies include coverage for this highly effective but complex fertility treatment.
At the Alta Bates IVF Program we have developed several different strategies to make donor egg IVF more affordable. Expanding patient access to fertility treatments is central to our overall program philosophy: http://www.abivf.com.
Using a younger sister or a relative to altruistically provide eggs can greatly reduce the cost of treatment. These types of donations require careful psychological evaluation of all the parties involved but may be the right solution for many families. However, many women requiring donor eggs do not have relatives who can or are willing to provide the eggs.
Another approach widely used in our fertility clinic is to match two recipients to a single donor in the same treatment cycle. In an anonymous arrangement the recipients typically do not know or meet each other but they share the cost of donor treatment and compensation. The total donor egg IVF treatment cycle cost fpr each recipient is about $21,000: http://www.abivf.com/finances/donoreggs.html.
Since compensated egg donors typically provide more than 16 mature eggs, a recipient receiving half of the eggs is very likely to have several embryos for transfer or freezing. In our experience the live birth rate per transfer of fresh embryos is the same with 2:1 and 1:1 matching albeit the number of extra embryos available for freezing is likely to be lower with the 2:1 match.
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