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Welcome to our guide to IVF with donor eggs treatment: digestible, comprehensive and medically reviewed. Whether you’re brand new to fertility treatment or a pro already, this guide is for you to better understand the ins and outs of IVF treatment.
Dr. Salim
Reviewed by Dr. Rehan Salim
Medical Director at Lister Fertility
Consultant gynaecologist and expert in reproductive medicine
A few quick facts
People use egg donors for all kinds of reasons — their own eggs aren’t fertilising correctly; they have low ovarian reserve or can’t use their own eggs; they have a medical condition they don’t want their children to inherit; or they’re a same sex male couple or a single parent
An egg bank is a facility where you can buy eggs for fertility treatment. While it sounds like a bank where you’d deposit checks, it looks like a lab
Using an egg bank means being able to choose your donor to suit your needs. Many people consider donors’ body types, eye colour, hair colour, and education before selecting one
hands of a woman, a woman taking a pill - collage stylea woman taking a bill and a couple holding hands

What is IVF with donor eggs?

IVF with donor eggs is very similar to Standard IVF, with one key difference — the egg comes from someone other than the female partner. 

How much does IVF with donor eggs cost?

IVF Treatment process

Base cost of IVF:  
£6,000

IVF Treatment process

Donor eggs:

£4,000

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Additional procedures:

£850

Two needles and a doctor's hands

Medication:

£700

IVF Treatment process - needles, test tubes and doctor's hands

Total average cost:
£11,550

If you are having IVF treatment privately, the cost of IVF with donor eggs depends on the clinic you choose and the protocol that your fertility doctor prescribes.

Clinics’ listed prices can leave out essential procedures and medications, such as embryo freezing and storage for additional embryos created, sedation during egg collection and medication. They also might not include the egg donor admin fees that are required when purchasing donor eggs.

How does IVF with donor eggs work?

If the egg is frozen already, it can be thawed and fertilised with sperm right away. If you’re using fresh eggs, your donor will go through a few weeks-long egg collection process before it’s fertilised with sperm. 

In a lab, an embryologist will fertilise eggs with sperm and monitor those embryos for several days as they grow. Good quality, healthy embryos can be transferred to a woman’s womb, and any extras can be frozen and stored to use later.

What are the success rates for IVF with donor eggs?

On average, egg donor success rates are higher than standard IVF rates1, and that’s largely because of stricter requirements about who can donate eggs to an egg bank. Depending on your age, some clinics report pregnancy rates between 64-74%.

a woman holding flowers in her hand, she is the egg donor

The bottom line

IVF with donor eggs can be a great option for people who need assistance fertilising sperm and healthy eggs. It’s also a great option for people who want to become parents later in life, because it’s possible to go through treatment with donor eggs into your mid-50s. You’ll have to pay additional fees to use donor eggs, but you can select a donor to fit your specific preferences.

Common questions about IVF with donor eggs

Your fertility doctor will be able to answer your specific questions about your unique treatment plan, but there are a handful of questions that nearly every patient asks:

How long does IVF treatment with donor eggs take?
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It depends on whether you’re purchasing fresh eggs or frozen eggs from a bank. Because you can choose the eggs you want to use, sometimes it can take time to complete the matching process. 

Just like a standard IVF cycle, once treatment starts, it takes 4-6 weeks.6

Are egg donors anonymous?
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There are new regulations in place. In the UK, a child has the right to access identifying information about their donor(s) at the age of 18.4

If you have concerns, there’s an alternative option: if you purchase your donor eggs in Europe, there are stricter anonymity rules in place. These rules mean that no identifiable information can be shared with the recipient.5 Read more about IVF abroad. 

Is there an age limit to do IVF with donor eggs?
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Yes. In the UK, it’s 54 and 3 months.3

How can I find donor eggs?
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Your clinic is a great place to start.2 They’ll have connections and recommendations depending on your unique situation. You can also use eggs from a friend or family member.

Does an egg donor have any rights to the child?
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If you go through treatment at a licensed clinic in the UK, the donors don’t have any rights or obligations, including being listed on the birth certificate or owing financial support. If you complete treatment at a clinic that isn’t licensed, your donor could be considered a parent by law. Your clinic can help address any concerns you have about using donor eggs.

Am I eligible for IVF with donor eggs?

Your fertility doctor will be able to best advise you. In general, IVF with donor eggs benefits people who can’t use their own eggs for conception, have decreased ovarian function, are cancer survivors, or are same sex male couples or single men.7

Depending on factors including your age, health, and fertility history, you might be eligible for a Gaia Plan to finance your IVF with donor eggs treatment.

Is IVF with donor eggs suitable for me?

IVF with donor eggs is a suitable option for anyone with low ovarian reserve or poor egg quality, or even to avoid passing on known genetic disorders or medical conditions. IVF with donor eggs is also suitable for LGBTQ+ couples who may not be providing eggs, such as same sex male couples. Read our guides for other treatments that could be suitable for you.

Still have questions?

If you have any other questions about IVF we haven’t answered, DM us on Instagram  or join our community group

“Looking back on the start of our journey it really was such a whirlwind and all very consuming. Things I have learnt and urge others to do is just breathe. Let go where you can, enjoy the process and don’t get lost along the way.”

A smiling couple

Stella and Toby

Age: 39 and 42
Diagnosis: Tubal factor and male factor
Treatment: IVF with donor eggs
Treatment history: 4 IVF treatments

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All fertility treatments

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