Donor eggs are an increasingly common fertility treatment option. The most common reasons why patients choose donor eggs are:
- advancing reproductive age
- low ovarian reserve
- previous unsuccessful IVF attempts
- early menopause
- LGBTQIA+ families
- the female partner carries a genetic problem she does not want to pass on
- women age 45 and older who are not eligible for IVF with their own eggs
Donor eggs can come from an ‘anonymous’ donor or a ‘known’ donor. ‘Anonymous’ donor eggs are the most common route. This process involves using an egg bank to purchase frozen eggs, which are then shipped to PCRM for fertilization with sperm. Because it is illegal to pay donors for their eggs in Canada, donor eggs come from banks in the United States, where woman are allowed to be financially compensated. Our third party coordinators will help you create a profile with which you’ll be able to browse online to search for potential donors. The egg banks provide a wealth of information about donors such as photos, medical history, genetic testing and infectious diseases screening. Once you order your eggs, they usually take 1 – 3 weeks to ship to PCRM. The eggs can be fertilized with your partner’s sperm, or with donor sperm, to create embryos. After the embryo has grown for 5 days in our laboratory, a blastocyst embryo is transferred into the uterus and extra embryos are frozen for future use.
‘Known’ egg donor is when a friend or family member chooses to give you eggs. This is legal in Canada provided that the rules laid out in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act and by Health Canada are strictly adhered to. The biggest difference between donor eggs in Canada and the USA is that Canada does not permit payment for eggs, sperm or surrogacy services. That means your donor must be altruistic and only receipt-able expenses can be paid (e.g. fertility treatment, medications). Your donor would have to undergo a standard IVF cycle, including injections of ovarian stimulation medications and an egg retrieval procedure. The eggs would then be fertilized with the intended father’s sperm, or with donor sperm, and the resulting embryos transferred into the intended mother’s uterus.
Anyone undergoing third party reproduction is required to see a counselor with expertise in assisted reproduction before starting a cycle. Our coordinators can help you arrange this visit.
PCRM works with the following validated egg banks:
- My Egg Bank
- Donor Egg Bank USA
- Asian Egg Bank (access through CAN-AM Cryo)
- Fairfax Egg Bank (access through CAN-AM Cryo)
- Cryos (access through CAN-AM Cryo)
- NWCryoBank (access through CAN-AM Cryo)
Note: Some banks may require additional information from PCRM before viewing donor profiles. Please contact one of our third party coordinators for more information.
PCRM Burnaby was recognized as one of the highest performing fertility centres in North America by Donor Egg Bank USA!
Check out the following links for articles about donor eggs, written by our doctors:
- British Columbia Medical Journal – Donor eggs for the treatment of infertility
- Today’s Parent – 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Donor Eggs
- Medium – Buying time: The rise of the solo mom
- Huffington Post – Paying Sperm and Egg Donors will Help LGBTQ Couples Build Families
- Global TV News – Rule change makes it easer for women undergoing fertility treatment to access sperm from known donors