I always check recommendations and standards before working with a company on behalf of the Choice Mom community. Integrity of product… transparency of policy… openness to the LGBTQ and single community. I admittedly have had little experience working with egg banks until this year, but when I put out the call, one recommendation was that I consider collaborating with Donor Egg Bank USA. And they were eager to work with us as well. Here’s what I know.
Fertility practices in the Donor Egg Bank USA collaboration have provided more than 100 donors to the egg bank selection pool. Currently all donors are anonymous, however they plan to roll out an option for offspring to make contact with their donor at the age of 18. Check with them for up-to-date details regarding the timing of this program launch, including how they maintain contact with the donor over time… what kind of information they give to the offspring if the time comes (direct contact information? a mediator? last known information?)
Because egg banks are particularly sensitive to proper technique at a clinic — it is more involved than thawing sperm — Donor Egg Bank USA is one that works only with specific high-level programs (roughly 100 locations) and specific highly qualified doctors (roughly 180). Participating fertility practices in the network complete an application process to be considered for acceptance. If the program is invited to join, the embryologists are trained in the vitrification freeze and thaw techniques.
Once trained, the embryologist must demonstrate on-going proficiency of the techniques quarterly. Pregnancy rates can vary across the United States, therefore, Donor Egg Bank USA is selective regarding additions to the network.
Each participating practice must report the success rates of each egg lot. Very few egg banks report the data of eggs that are shipped outside of the retrieval laboratory. Donor Egg Bank USA follows up with each program to ensure every egg is reported.
Donor egg recipients receive photos as adults, information on physical traits, aptitudes, skill sets, work history, medical history, multi-generational family history, genetic history and motivation for donating.
All donors are fully screened, receiving a history and physical, pap smear, infectious disease testing, risk assessment, drug testing, psychological screening, hormonal screening and genetic testing. Donors retrieved as of 1/1/15 are screened with the latest technology in gene sequencing for 102 carrier disorders.
Donor Egg Bank USA guarantees that a minimum of a 6-cell embryo with less than 20% fragmentation will be available by day 3; 48% of cycles have had additional embryos to cryopreserve outside of the initial day 3 or day 5 transfer. Donor Egg Bank USA also offers a financial guarantee program called Assured Refund®. In order to qualify for the guarantee, however, the recipient must be able to achieve a uterine lining of 8mm or greater. (This is to assure that a recipient has the proper physiological environment for implantation to occur.)
If achieved, Donor Egg Bank USA will provide eggs for up to six attempts and unlimited frozen embryo transfers for one fixed fee. There is a full refund if the recipient doesn’t deliver a baby.
They have program choices with slightly varying prices. Egg lots consist of 5 to 8 eggs — frozen by the advanced vitrification method — and cost $12,000 to $13,500 depending on the program selected. Egg lots are discounted as part of a packaged treatment plan at one of the network fertility programs. A packaged treatment plan includes the cycle, monitoring, ultrasounds, egg thaw, ICSI, assisted hatching, embryo culture and uterine transfer.
On-going pregnancy and delivery rate from one egg lot in the United States is 66% for 2014 over 558 transfers.
Donor Egg Bank USA was founded by Michael Levy, MD and Heidi Hayes, MA. Dr. Levy is a co-founder of Shady Grove Fertility Reproductive Science Center and has introduced split donor cycles and shared risk financial programs. Heidi Hayes, who herself struggled with fertility, has over 20 years of experience in healthcare business operations. After unsuccessfully pursuing IVF with her own eggs, Heidi and her husband completed an international adoption, and added twins to their family using donor eggs.