All About Donor Egg Banks: How They Work, Costs, and More

donor egg bank

You’ve heard of sperm banks. You’ve heard of blood banks. But if you’ve just heard of donor egg banks, you’re definitely not alone.

Egg donation can play a vital role in helping intended parents grow their family, but we don’t really hear about donor egg banks on TV shows or in magazines, do we? So what the heck are they? And if you’re looking for an egg donor, how can egg banks help? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

How does a donor egg bank work?

Donor egg banks are pretty similar to sperm banks. Someone who wants to donate their eggs gets in contact with the egg bank. The egg bank then does a ton of screening to see if the individual is a good candidate for donation.

Egg donor screening

Based on rules from both the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), those screenings must include medical evaluations to determine if the potential egg donor is healthy, as well as tests to rule out infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. Egg banks also evaluate any potential health information that could affect a future child, such as a family history of diseases or genetic birth defects.

Finally, potential egg donors undergo a psychological evaluation. Are they up for all the aspects of egg donation on an emotional level? Are they prepared for not having contact with genetic offspring or being contacted by them down the road?

Once a donor passes the screenings, a donor egg bank typically covers the costs of a donor’s egg retrieval. These costs include any injectable medicines they might take, the process of having eggs retrieved by a doctor, as well as the costs of freezing the eggs.

The matching process

The donor egg bank then adds the egg donor’s information to their collection of information for intended parents to review. They typically include information like a donor’s education background, health history, and even photographs.

With egg banks, intended parents do not have a legal contract with the donor. Instead, donor egg banks typically sign a contract with the egg donor. The parents then sign a separate contract with the egg bank when they select the eggs.

Because the eggs are already collected and frozen, donor egg bank can reduce the treatment wait time for intended parents as they don’t have to wait for an egg retrieval.

What are the costs of using a donor egg bank?

Most donor egg banks allow you to review their egg donor databases for free. If you find a candidate in the database who is right for your family, the fees range from $2,500 for just one egg to $19,000 for a donor package, depending on the bank.

Included in that cost: A donor egg bank pays egg donors a fee for their time and effort, and also pays for all medical and genetic screenings of donors. Donor egg banks also typically pay a donor’s expenses to retrieve the eggs, such as covering the cost of medicines that help her body produce more eggs and the cost of cryopreservation.

Getting started

Not sure if donor egg banks are the right place for you — or even if egg donation is the right start? We’ve just thrown a whole lot of information at you. Let it sink in, and while you’re at it, check out our Find Answers section to get more answers to the tons of questions that come up during any family-building journey. We’re here to hold your hand through it all.