Coming To Terms With Needing a Donor

Many women spend years and countless funds on failed IVF cycles, when donor eggs could offer an immediate solution to the trauma of repeated loss. While it can be hard to come to terms with giving up on your own eggs, Growing Families works with many fertility counsellors and peer support workers globally who can help you navigate your family building dreams. We can refer you to confidential support.

What Makes a Good Egg Donor?

Age is the most important factor predicting egg quality in a woman, so younger is better! Doctors can measure Anti-Mullerian Hormone levels in a potential donor as an indication of egg supply. However egg quality is very hard to ascertain until eggs have been ‘harvested’. 

As a result, working with a ‘proven’ donor can lead to best chances of success. A proven donor is one who has either had her own children already, or who has donated to one or more other recipients and this has lead to a successful pregnancy.



There is significant medical preparation and appointments required of your prospective donor. In many countries, your IVF clinic will also require your donor undertake a counselling session so she understands the implications before going ahead.

 Remember that you need to be able to pay for all out-of-pocket costs for your donor, including medications and travel. 

Anonymous or Known Donors?

Different countries have different rules about donor anonymity, specific to their cultural norms. ID release donors are those that agree to provide contact details to the child once they turn 18. Research shows that 50% of children have a desire to connect with their donor when they are older.

Donors must be anonymous in countries such as Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Argentina, Colombia. In such environments, only images of donors as children may be provided.

Donors must be known or ID release in other countries (eg Australia, UK, New Zealand or Georgia)

In countries such as Canada, USA and Ukraine, intended parents have the choice of working with an anonymous, ID release or known donor.

However, all donors should be counselled that in the current environment where DNA testing and facial recognition software are common, ongoing anonymity can not be guaranteed.

What are the Options?

Friend or relative

A number of women are fortunate to have a younger friend or family member offer to donate her eggs altruistically. This can be a great pathway, given you and your child will then have an ongoing connection with your donor.

Altruistic Donor met online

There are many online forums and groups available where egg donors and recipients might self-match. In such circumstances, there will usually not be consistent and verifiable information available about the donor. If you do agree to work together, remember that many jurisdictions have limits on how many times a woman can donate, so your donor may be declined by your IVF clinic if she has donated more than this.

Clinic-recruited Egg Donor

In some countries, IVF clinics can recruit their own egg donors. There are advantages to this, as clinics have already medically screened the donors. There are IVF clinics with sizable egg donor databases in the USA, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Czech Republic and Georgia. All of these countries welcome foreign patients. Note that clinics in many countries are not able or not allowed to recruit significant numbers of egg donors given they cannot compensate donors. These countries include Canada, Australia, Ireland & New Zealand

Egg Donor Agency

For those looking for a donor with specific characteristics (eg ethnicity, high college grades), some countries offer agencies with larger databases of donors (eg USA, Ukraine, Malaysia). These donors are often charged at a premium.


Can  international donor eggs be shipped to my own country?

In some countries with poor access to local donors, some clinics develop partnerships with international egg donor companies to supply overseas (frozen) donor eggs into their clinic. In Australia for example, there are clinics who can provide access to US, Chinese, Ukrainian or Georgian eggs. However importing eggs into Australia means donors must meet specific requirements including counselling, altruism, donor limits and ID release. This means there is always only a limited number of donors who meet these requirements for import.

Sample costs for Australian patients (including shipping) are:

  • US Donor eggs:          $15,000 – $33,000
  • Ukraine donor eggs:  $15,500 – $19,000
  • Georgian donor eggs: $14,000 – $21,300
  • Asian donor eggs:       $15,800-19,000

Costs vary based on how many Day 3 or Day 5 embryos a program will guarantee. It is recommended to consider programs which guarantee Day Five embryos as Day 5 embryos are more viable. Donor IVF programs do not guarantee a live birth.

Can I ship Donor-egg embryos back to my home country?

This  will depend on your home country’s requirements. If you are in UK, Ireland or Australia for example, embryos made with an anonymous donor overseas cannot be imported

How Can Growing Families Help?

  • Put you in touch with reliable donor providers
  • Organise shared shipping of eggs, sperm or embryos
  • Advise on availability, wait times and logistical issues
  • Advise on a medical professional to work with