Fertility Partnership-recognized by the CDC in Atlanta as a top program.
The Shared Cycle-The Affordable Donor Eggs
Helping couples who need donor eggs but find it too expensive and younger couples need IVF but cannot afford it.
Many people who are struggling to have a baby discover that their egg supply is depleted and they need donor eggs. The medical jargon is “Diminished Ovarian Reserve”. If adoption is not for you, the next step towards having a pregnancy growing inside your own body is to make peace with donor eggs. In order to achieve a baby with the sperm of your choice, (embryo adoption is also an option) you will need to find donor eggs. The reality is that this is a very expensive process. Depending on where you’re located in the country you can spend easily over $30,000+ per cycle with donor eggs. Many spend much more.
At Fertility Partnership we are willing to perform a service called a Shared Cycle that is significantly cheaper and yet just as successful (or better than) as other techniques. Unfortunately, very few clinics are willing to offer shared cycles. Why? Perhaps it’s because they tend to be a bit more difficult to coordinate for the clinic staff, but probably the main reason is because the clinic makes significantly less money these cycles. I know that’s a dark and cynical statement-but I stand by it.
A quick review of the various sources of eggs:
- Egg donor-from an agency- probably the most expensive route but offers the most options
- Known egg donor (friend or relative)- you save on “finder’s fees”
- frozen eggs from an egg bank-cost can be high per egg: you still have lab fees to fertilize culture the embryos
- a shared cycle-explained below
A shared cycle is when a couple with an excellent egg supply goes through the IVF process and anonymously shares half of the mature eggs retrieved with a couple that is in need of eggs. Typically it is a younger couple who donates that needs IVF but cannot afford it. At Fertility Partnership we ask that the recipient couple cover half the price of the IVF of the donor cycle, the medications, and any laboratory expenses. And so, basically it is two couples splitting the cost of one IVF. Using the other sources of eggs listed above, the clinic would have been reimbursed for 2 IVF cycles or 1 ½ in the case of frozen eggs from an egg bank and have earned significantly more money. In this scenario, each couple saves thousands of dollars.
To expand the shared cycle concept: The donor gets vetted and worked up like any other donor for genetic, communicable, or psychological disease. The woman must be under 32 years old and have ample ovarian reserve based on ultrasound and blood test parameters. It is an anonymous process. At Fertility Partnership we require that at least six mature eggs be available to give to the recipient couple in order for the process to be completed.
Probably the biggest disadvantage is that you cannot flip through a list of donors you would at the sperm or egg bank. If you want that option then you had better be of solid financial means. In other words your options and choices are limited compared to the others but you will save a lot of money. At Fertility Partnership we will provide you with basic information such as race, this city, weight and height, education and some other details if you require them.
At Fertility Partnership we’ve seen a rise in the number of shared cycles that we are doing over the last few years. Perhaps it is a result of changing economy but partially driven by us at our clinic. This is because frozen embryo transfer success rates are now as high or higher than fresh cycles. This has made the process of matching donors and recipients so much easier. We first focus on the donor and getting her eggs and make embryos for her. At the time of the egg retrieval, we split the eggs and we can then make embryos for a fresh transfer to the recipient (embryos from fresh donor eggs have absolutely the highest success rate or live birth rate of all scenarios). Or, if reality dictates it, we freeze those embryos for the recipient for later FET.
So if you need an egg donor and are finding it cost prohibitive or if you’re young and can’t afford IVF and are willing to share eggs, contact us at our office at 314-614-7770, or 636-441-7770. At Fertility Partnership we are thrilled to be able to be able to help two couples by having them split the cost of one IVF.