Berkeley Parents Network
Google Custom Search
Home Members Post a Msg Reviews Advice Subscribe Help/FAQ What's New

Egg Donation

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > ObGyns > Fertility Practitioners & Services > Egg Donation


Questions Related Pages

Using donor eggs for second child

Feb 2012

I am beginning to think about the process of using a donor egg, as I can not conceive using my own. I already have a great child (through my own egg), and wanted to get some thoughts from people who have gone through this particular scenario (one child with own egg, one child with donor). I worry that I won't feel as connected to the 2nd b/c it's not my own egg, that there will be discord between the two siblings as a result, that the donor egg child will feel less part of the family, etc. I would love to have a 2nd and would love my 1st to have a sibling, but would like to hear from others who have gone through this. In choosing a donor, do you feel like certain traits were more important than others (i.e. donor looked like you?) Curious how the choice was made. Finally, I'm wondering if you can recommend specific donor egg sites, and/or sites that may provide support around this issue or forums for other egg donor recipients. Thanks


I'm sorry you are having trouble conceiving on your own, but donor eggs are a great way to go if you are open to the experience. I wouldn't worry much about feeling less connected to the donor egg child. Honestly after carrying the baby and delivery it won't feel very different I don't think. I love my child just like any mother of a child who shares their biology. I would however say it is nice to find a donor who looks like you because it's nice when your siblings share certain traits. My child looks very different than his cousins and I think that can be a bummer sometimes. My child does look like other members of my family though and every child is a crapshoot genetically anyway. I look absolutely nothing like my mother . I did my IVF through Alta Bates IVF unit and they were absolutely wonderful and they have their own egg donors on file. Good luck in the process. proud mom
Hi there - I went through exactly what you are contemplating. My first child was born naturally, then I wasn't able to conceive again. We used a donor egg (complete with sperm-spinning to increase chances of having a girl) and do now have a daughter, and I am so in love with this little girl I can't even tell you. She's 4 now and my son is 8, and they are 100% brother and sister - there is no issue of her being a lesser part of the family because she's from a donor egg. While we're totally open with the kids about that, it takes years for them to be able to really understand it, and in the meantime we're just a family like any other. I did choose a donor (a friend) who looks a lot like me, and it made it much easier because I don't have to explain the donor egg thing when I don't want to (we're open about it with friends and family but it's nice when a stranger in the park tells me my daughter looks just like me, and I can just say ''thanks!''). Before my friend offered to donate an egg, we were about to go forward with an agency in South Africa that another friend had used. Here is a support forum I used back then: http://www.network54.com/Forum/57451/ I don't think you would regret using a donor egg, or feel any differently about your second child, and I will also add that being pregnant after experiencing infertility was immensely healing. Good luck!! happy donor egg recipient
There's a great website with a lot of info about families with kids conceived with donor egg or sperm: http://www.dcnetwork.org/ As a therapist, I see lots of families with this kind of configuration who are doing great. I would say honesty with your kids from the outset and finding your own comfort with it are the biggest keys to success. Good luck.
I can't help with your question re: the issue of having one biological child and one non-biological child via donor egg. But I can say after using donor eggs to have both our children that I can't imagine loving any other babies the way I love them. We used Fertility Connections in Mill Valley and had a great experience with them. My husband and I chose our donor based on her looks (she looked quite a bit like me...in fact the women at Fertility Connections said we could be sisters) and based on the answers she gave in FC's questionnaire. Her answers were very thoughtful and insightful and she came across as very bright and focused and kind. We also decided to meet with our donor to make sure this was the person we wanted to move forward with and that was amazing. Good luck to you I wish you all the best in expanding your family. Experience with DE
We also have a natural child and one born from egg dontation. We had two different donors--successful with the second but not with the first. We used Jackie Gorton (jackiegortonnurseattorney.com) in San Raphael as our ''donor broker''. Fertility centers also usually recruit donors. The first time, we tried to match the donor as closely to me as possible. The second time, we just looked for intelligent, light complexion (I am fair), and evidence of compassion. Neither child knows one was a donor baby. Our donor child (currently 10), doesn't look like me but does share physical traits with her father. No one has ever said any part of her looks like me. But she has lots of my character traits. There's a lot to be said for being the gestational mother. Since you asked, she and I NEVER had any bonding issues. Regarding groups that can discuss the issues with you: check out RESOLVE (resolve.org). Complete family
I have my first with my own egg and my second with a donor egg and I cannot tell any difference in the way I feel about my two children. I love them both the same (immensely), although my donor egg baby (now child) is the easiest of the two, and gives me the least grief. I went through a long process finding a donor, and finally after a couple initial choices did not work out due to timing, I selected one that the agency seemed to be advocating, and I can't help but wonder whether her sweet, charming personality was passed on to my child. I also selected the donor because I felt she looked a bit like my husband and first child, and that turned out to be a good choice because they all look alike, even if none of them look particularly like me. I am so happy that I went ahead with a donor egg, and I hope it works out as well for you. I believe the name of the agency I went through was Fertility Connections in Marin County. Anon

Egg Donation Agencies and Process

July 2011

I am interested in recommendations for Egg Donation Agencies as well as any specific provider recommendations. We are just starting to learn about the process so any advice would be helpful (cost, length of process, resources etc). Wanna be momma


I used an egg donor and a local clinic and would be very happy to tell you about my experience. Email the moderator for my contact information. anon
I had egg donation IVF success. My Reproductive Endocrinologist (Dr Susan Willman) suggested 2 agencies and I went to visit both of them and chose one.

They were pretty similar. It is all pretty emotional and you will choose according to your criteria anyway. So, flip books of wannabe donors profiles... you look at them, make some choices, they are contacted to take physical and psychiatric examinations. If they pass both (!a few didn't! whole tales in both catagories!) you make a contract and proceed. The Dr coordinates your two cycles and hopefully, you get pregnant.

There are as many deals as different people so,... you will do what you do. The Nurse Coordinators have a lot to do! I just followed directions and it worked out. My kids are really normal after all that! Hooray!


First of all, good for you for being open to this family building process. We have the most incredible kids because of it. We used Diane Michelsen in Lafayette 10 years ago and were impressed with their operation, especially after checking out 3 other egg donor organizations and having previously gone through the adoption process with different organizations and law firms. We were on a fast track and because the egg donor that we selected was available we were doing the transfer within about 4 months of meeting with Michelsen's facilitator - Donna.

We were very lucky with a lot of things: Michelsen's office was so professional to work with, the most incredible reproductive endocrinologist Susan Wilman of Orinda (with Reproductive Science Center), and our donor, who is still very much a part of our life. Can't help with costs since they would not be relevent today. Have a great journey. very blessed with all who helped us


Hi Its a long road to travel. We tried several agencies and finally found Jackie Gorton. See...http://www.jackiegortonnurseattorney.com/ She found us a great donor in 1998 and we are most happy with our 11 year old son.

IVF with donor eggs

Feb 2010

After several IUIs and two unsuccessful IVF treatments, we have come to a point where we must decide whether to spend more money on another IVF or try IVF with a donor egg since I'm 41 (or just give up the process). I'm looking for advice on two issues - has anyone been successful with conceiving through IVF with their own eggs after 2 or more IVF attempts? Also, has anyone had success with donor eggs? My only reservation with a donor egg is that I'll feel a sense of loss that the child is not biologically mine. My daughter is a ''mini me'' in looks and personality and it is so wonderful when I see her do something that reminds me of me. I'm slightly afraid if I proceed with a donor egg, I'll always feel a sense of loss not seeing my personality or looks in the child and this wouldn't be fair to the child. I know my fears are not exactly rational and I know even if I have another biological child, it doesn't mean they are going to be like me. I know people adopt all the time and it doesn't change how much they love their children. I know I would love any child that came into our lives, but I want to be sure it is the right situation before proceeding. If anyone has done IVF with a donor egg and can add their thoughts I would appreciate it. Anonymous


Even if both children are ''your's'' it doesn't mean both will look like you. In fact my biological brother looks nothing like anyone in the family. Statistically the offspring of two people can be a massive number.. something like 7 million different combinations.

I also grew up in a household of foster/adopted children. And one of my adoptive sisters and I look almost identical. Whereas like I said before my biological brother and I look nothing alike.

The sense of loss not seeing my personality or looks in the child - could seem to be the case, or what could happen but believe me its not the case unless you put your energy into believing it is. However- it's not silly or wrong to think that might happen (especially if this is a new process).

It's always a wise idea to make sure your heart, thoughts, and energy are in balance.


Hi there - our first child (son) was conceived naturally and I had him at age 39, then wasn't able to get pregnant again (tried IVF but couldn't get that far, no eggs!) so we did IVF with a donor egg. I had the exact same fears you are having, and maybe more grief because I always wanted a girl and now there would be no hope of the ''mini me''. Well, we got a daughter (one benefit of IVF is the ability to do sperm-spinning to try for a specific sex), and I couldn't be happier. She is gorgeous and my donor looks a lot like me, so most people would never guess (though we've been open with friends). And whether it's nurture or wishful thinking, her personality isn't so different that I ever think ''wow, she's not related to me!'' Do I ever think about the fact that we're not genetically connected? Sure. But I love her as much as my son, and who is ''more mine'' really never occurs to me. Love is beautifully complex and I can almost guarantee you won't have regrets if you choose this path.
Oh - please don't waste anymore money w/ the 41 yo eggs unless you just have the extra money. I have a bio. child and then a set of twins through IVF - donor egg ROCKS ! I absolutely adore my children - and there - is NO difference w/ the love. It just does NOT matter. They are your sweet babies - the bonding is incredible. We - older Mamas- really are so incredibly fortunate to have this an an option. My mother suffered from infertility issues during the late 60's when she had me. They had no clue how to help my Mother. Please please don't worry too much - wish I could hug you - donor egg is just incredible !
I did 5 IVF rounds! 3 with my crusty old eggs and the 4th was with donor eggs & my husband's sperm. The donor looked like me but the kids do not look like either of us. I had a good pregnancy & birth, froze the ''leftover'' embryos and had round 5 a couple of years later. The boys are both perfect and normal. (Dr Willman in Orinda and Dr Sakamoto in Berkeley) Good experiences. Donated the remaining 18 frozen embryos to 'in house training' and stem cell research... Weird and lovely. I recommend it!
You've brought up a lot of issues, so I will try to address some of them without making this post too long. Background: 6 IUI's with two pregancies that both ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks. My eggs were just too old, so we went to Donor Eggs. We had 6 eggs, so decided to spread them out over 3 IVFs. Only the third was successful. An important point I want to make is that the Dr. I was working with believed, and I firmly now believe, that the most important factor of an IVF is preparing your womb to receieve the eggs. After two failed IVF's, I pulled out all the stops, worked with an acupunturist in ''preparing my womb'', drank no alcohol or caffeine, rested, ate healthy, laid on the couch for 3 straight days after receiving the eggs, etc. Not all Dr's will be emphatic about the womb lining, but my Dr's philosophy was that no matter how many eggs you put in, if it is not the right environment, they will not take. On the second issue, the Dr.'s office worked with me on chosing a donor who had a similar background and looks. In honesty, I don't think about my son being a DE very often, but I do sometimes. He is beautiful, and smart, but I do sometime feel a pang when someone tells me he looks like me (which is not too often as he is the spitting image of his father). I have never regretted making the decision. I wish the two other IFV's had worked as I wanted more children. So good luck with your decision, but also spend some time thinking about increasing your odds of the IVF working, whether it is your eggs or a donors. anon
AT 40, I had my first child, a boy, by IVF donor egg after two failed IVFs with my own. I don't regret it one bit. We also have close friends who privately adopted two beautiful girls (domestically) a few years before us. The way they went the cost was comparable to our IVF donor cycle, which for us was about double the IVF cycle. We went through an agency in SF.

There were several reasons why I chose donor egg IVF over adoption. With my first child, I wanted the whole experience of pregnancy, child birth, breast feeding, etc. Also, after having 2 failed IVF cycles which is heartbreaking itself, the donor cycle just seemed like one more step, in which someone else does the first half. I felt more in control. I pick the donor, rather than waiting to be ''picked'' by an adoptive mother.

The other advantage of donor cycle is that during pregnancy, your risk of genetic issues is more similar to that of your donor (late 20s) rather than yours (40s).

I'm a nurture vs. nature person, and believe that my son has alot of my characteristics and personality, even though he doesn't have any of my genes. I did pick a donor who looks similar to me, but I do get that he looks alot like me. Good luck and do what's best for you and your family! Anon


If you decide to try to have a biological child and feel you can only try one time, I would pull out all stops and do the following... 1. make an appt with CCRM in Colorado - they have by far and away the best live birth results for older women. It sounds daunting to go that far but it's really doable. We flew Frontier Airlines (not sure if they're still in business) and stayed at TownePlace Suites by Marriott (was $45 per night for a cute room with full kitchen a couple of yaears ago). I took a medical leave for 1.5 or 2 weeks during the transfer but husband only there for 5 days or so. 2. join www.ivfconnections.org - go to ALL BOARDS to see overview, this was my best source of info. Under the Colorado section is a big group for CCRM but you'll also find the over 40 and others important 3. start seeing an acupuncturist right away, but not just anyone, go to one specifically focused on fertility 4. if you truly want to do everything you can, go on a fertility diet - remove all gluten (wheat stuff), dairy, sugar of any kind, caffeine and alcohol. Take a good prenatal and consider co-q10. 5. Do the diet and acupuncture for at least 3 months before you do your transfer. CCRM can have a acupuncturist come right in the room after the transfer so that's taken care of. 6. also, save all receipts - medical expenses above a certain amount can be deducted from your taxes. Depending on how much a difference you & your husband earn, you may find it beneficial to file separately - our tax person said we were the first couple he had were it made sense to file separately because of this large medical expense we deducted from my taxes. Also if you do that, of course consider doing all other medical stuff you may need that same year. I know it's frustrating to do all this stuff when some women get pregnant eating junk food or partying but in the end I found it a small price to pay, I never wanted to feel 'what if..'. That's my 2 cents...

Have you had a baby via egg donation?

August 2009

I am 39. We have a 4 year old biological daughter and have been trying to conceive a second without success. After almost a year of fertility-focused acupuncture and herbs to help combat my High FSH/Low Antral Follicle Count(4)/Diminished Ovarian Reserve, my doctor has advised us that the only realistic way to build our family is through adoption or having a baby with a donor egg.

We are looking into both options, while also trying to grieve the loss of a biological child we assumed would come to our family. We've been to both adoption agencies and fertility clinics with egg donation programs and have done our homework. We also know several lovely adoptive families and have been lucky enough to hear their beautiful stories and feedback on their processes, etc.

What we don't have are real stories from families who've grown via donor eggs. This is a lonely process for me and I am wondering if any mothers out there who are raising children birthed with the gift of a donor egg would be willing to share their experiences or advice in how to navigate this? I am especially interested in hearing from families whose first child may be a fully biological child, with the second only genetically connected to the father (assuming a straight family). We've read ''How to Have Your Baby Through Egg Donation,'' but some advice or words of encouragement from real live local moms would go a long way.

We are working with Pacific Fertility Center in SF & Eldon Schriock is our doc. We've yet to pursue any fertility treatments as IVF with my own eggs stands a very low chance (5% vs. 60% with donor egg).

Again, no need for adoption advice or encouragement as we're set there. Advice and feedback on egg donation is so, so welcome.

Thanks in advance, Hopeful Mama


I would be glad to share my (happy!) story with you about having my children through egg donation. Its been almost 9 years now, so some of the details have faded, but the emotion and gratitude I feel are as clear today as ever. Email me and we can set up a time to talk on the phone. Debbie
Our second child, now 10 y.o., was conceived via egg donation, while our first is our biological child. I was 40 when I had my first son,44 for #2. Dr Schriock was our doctor as well. As we went through the decision process we spoke with a therapist specializing in these issues, Ellie Schwartzman in Oakland, to help us with our decision to go this route. We used Women to Women Fertility Center in Alamo to find the donor. Shelley Tarnoff in Piedmont was the attorney who reviewed our contract. We chose the donor based on her compassion to help in this situation, that she already had children and didn't want more. She is willing to meet our son if he chooses. We met her as part of the choice process.

We harvested 18 eggs. The first try I became pregnant and miscarried. We then tried 6 more times before I became pregnant again. We had two more embryos left. After our son was born we exchanged 1 or 2 letters with the donor. We have each others addresses in case medical information is needed. Other than that she has left us completely alone.

Our son is a wonderful child. He is completely different than his older brother. It makes me wonder at times, what if ... My first son is like me and my second is exactly like my husband, his biological father. However this is no different than a lot of families we know with very different kids.D

Do we treat him differently? No, I don't think so. Do I sometimes tease my husband in private that they aren't my genes? Yes. The only people we have told about the donor is my mother and sister, she was guardian for a while and the pediatrician. We have talked to my son about the donor, but nobody else, not even his brother. It is up to him to tell people if he wants. My husband and I feel blessed that he is in our lives and lucky to have had all the medical procedures to help us. Lucky and Blessed


I had my baby through egg donation....I was too old by the time that I was ready to have a baby and I am lucky enough to have a sister who is 8 years younger than I am and I am lucky enough to have a sister that was ok with donating. I now have a beautiful baby and he's 100% mine. I fully feel that I am his mother and my sister feels no claims to him.

I know that I was very fortunate with my situation but, other than that, we had a 60% chance of success compared to many IVF situations and everything seemed to go well. I also used PFC and was very happy. I talk to some other mothers who used egg donation and realize that everyone has different feelings and that using a paid donor can bring different feelings/issues in to the mix. Recognize them and think them through so that you are comfortable with your choice. Every day I look at my son and am thankful for my precious gift. I am including my email address so that you can contact me if I can be of help. Best of luck to you. steppi


Both of my children are from donor eggs. (sorry, I know that's a whole avenue of thought and emotion...one egg from you & one not...) Anyway, I was really surprised that I couldn't have a baby. Years of trying not to get pregnant and then years of trying to and nothing? So, we shopped for eggs. WOW what an experience! She was nice, had decided she wasn't going to have kids herself, was in graduate school...a genetic match with me, pretty much...we met twice and I send her photos through our doctor in common. She didn't want to know anything just have the option to see photos if she wanted to some day.

I was 42 and 45 years old. The two pregnancies are from the same donor cycle. The first fresh and the second frozen. They are both perfect children. Really! They are 10 & 7 years old and big tooth cute, smart, funny, really average in most ways = perfect, right? I mean, I think they are brilliant of course but the main thing is that there is nothing wrong with them.

OK. so how is it for me that they are my husband's sperm and not my egg? The donor was very similar to me physically, just 14 years younger.... She felt that her genes were good. There is a lot of insanity in my family so, I could never say that I had good genes with a straight face! I sort of get comfort knowing they aren't prone to senility, pack ratty ocd etc. and they don't look that much like him either so... people always think we are the grandparents...and that doesn't really bother us.

I guess I am writing to tell you that basically, it mattered a lot when, like you are now, we were thinking it through. I felt sad and ashamed. But now? I just fuss about and worry and want the best for them like everyone else's mom.

I did breast feed them 2 1/2 & 3 years. So that's a bit longer than most but not as long as some! And, we turned out to be ''attachment parenting'' people which I never even heard of before and was perhaps, me compensating for them not being my eggs but I don't know, when they are born you just get so engrossed, I think everyone surprises themselves.

One last idea is that you are sort of adopting the eggs. Good luck to you!


Hi, I found a website: www.donorsiblingregistry.com to have very useful information. While the site was designed to help parents of kids born via donor eggs and sperm connect, it has very informative discussions on topics very similar to what you presented here. Either the current discussions on the message boards will help you, or you can post your question and get loads of helpful responses. Caveat: it costs $40/year to join the group, but I have found it to be quite helpful (I have connected with four other moms who used the donor I used).

Since I used donor sperm, my experience won't help you out, but the website will. Elated with my decision to use a donor.


When I was told that the only way I could conceive a child of my own was via egg donation, it was a little weird. When I REALIZED that it was the ONLY way, and I began moving forward with it, the strangeness was suddenly a thing of the past. The fact that I had a chance to carry my own child was so thrilling that I became enthusiastically involved. In my own case, I had three rounds with one donor, then on the advice of the doctor, changed donors (both anonymous), and was successful on the first try. The child who came into my life is the most beautiful, spirited child in the world--he is the child I was meant to have and fills me with love every minute of the day.

He is not old enough to ask questions yet, but I'm not concerned about my responses; there are plenty of resources out there to help you with that.

Alternately, I have many friends who have adopted, and adopted a second child with a biological child as the elder. They would not have their family composed any differently. Good luck! Hopeful for you


I have straight friends who have two children conceived via egg donation who are now teenagers They don't live locally any more but when they did, their parents were pretty involved with RESOLVE. If you haven't made contact with them, that might be a place to make connections.

My friends chose to use two different egg donors, one a family member and one not. They've been a model to me -- a lesbian, co-parenting two kids with my spouse -- of how to raise children in a new understanding of ''family.'' They have always been open with their children about the relationships between the donors and them and the kids. They are a wonderful family -- loving, supportive and with all of the regular stuff of family too.

I'm the bio mom of my children and it has been a journey for my spouse to really know in her bones that these are her children, as much as they are mine (Something I have never doubted). And it's been completely worth all of the challenges (and ones that are certain to come.) Wishing you the best


We had a naturally conceived child at about the age you are now, and then many years later had a child through egg donation. I never thought of it as a lonely process. A close friend knew of everything we went through. My OB was always on the sideline rooting for me. The people at the clinic (SFCRM, now merged with PFC) were wonderful. I guess we were too busy to feel lonely.

You didn't ask for advice, but I can't help it anyway (if it's not too late!): choose the donor with your heart as well as your head.We thought our first donor was perfect for us in terms of genetics but she had some emotional issues (not enough to disqualify her as a donor) and none of the embryos resulted in a baby. Who knows if these two facts are related--my friend was sure they were--but the next time we chose a donor whose reasons for donating seemed more altruistic and I got pregnant the first round. I couldn't be more bonded to my child (now 7). Our only regret was that we felt too old to try for another with the leftover embryos.

Anat


Hi - I am exactly who you are looking for, and I bet there are lots of us out there. I had my first child naturally at age 39, and my second 4 years later via egg donation. I too went through a grieving period when it became clear that my second child wouldn't be genetically connected to me (she is to my husband, as you are contemplating). But I have to say, it's the best decision I ever made and I am extremely happy I chose this route. There is absolutely no difference in how I feel about both my kids, the love is the same. While I have nothing against adoption, it was a bonus to me that both our children could have my husband's genes, and the best part was the healing I experienced getting to be pregnant (and then nursing) after dealing with infertility. I am a huge advocate of using donor eggs if it's a possibility and would be happy to talk to you further. Star
We have a wonderful child though the generous help of an anonymous egg donor. Also went to PFC and saw Schriock. It took me years to come around to this choice, even though I was clearly in early menopause resulting from chemotherapy, and it was the only way to carry a pregnancy for me. There is a wonderful online community that is very supportive of each other through the decision making process and beyond. Some have gone on to adopt children, particularly after this fertility treatment failed them. You will find a number of people who had children before turning to DE, and they are more than willing to respond to your question, as it comes up periodically.

Pregnancy and Parenting after DE IVF: http://www.network54.com/Forum/247611/ Looking to Become a Mom Via Egg Donation: http://www.network54.com/Forum/57451/ I'd be happy to share my experiences with you if you want to send email. icountblessings


I had both my children by egg donation after two years of infertility treatment and miscarriages. I met with the donor. I picked a woman who looked like my mother and who came from a similar ethnic background. Both my children resemble her physically, and look like members of their father's family, not necessarily my husband. They are happy, astute, beautiful children. Very mischevious. In personality, very different from me, and very different from eachother. Their eye and hair color are different as well. It is great fun seeing how they unfold as people. We so enjoy being their parents. I think egg donation is a bit like adoption in a way--one does not necessarily project yourself on your child, but sees him or her as an individual. I took a year to come to terms with the idea of using another woman's eggs but once I made the decision, it just worked. anon
I could have written your post three years ago. I was 42, we had a 2.5 year old bioligical child, had miscarried twice, and had been through a year of similar fertility treatments. We also worked with PFC (Dr. Ryan). After considering adoption, we decided to try egg donation with my husband's sperm. I became pregnant with twins on the first try.

In our minds there is no difference between our eldest and the twins, they are all 100% our kids. I only really think about how the twins were conceived when people start talking about who they look like (interestingly, many think our son looks much more like my family). We have been very open with our family and friends about how the twins were conceived and intend to tell them as they start asking about where they came from. In fact, as our eldest has starting asking questions, we have been telling her that there are many ways for families to come together.

There is no one right answer for all families, for us egg donation was the right way to expand our family and if I could go back, I wouldn't do anything differently, including having biological children. These are the kids who were meant to be ours and we are lucky to have them.

Feel free to get my email from the moderator if you would like to talk more offline. Joanne


Reviews of egg donor agencies?

April 2006

Reviewed the archives, don't see anything very recent on Bay Area donor agencies. People seem to be happy with Woman To Woman, does anyone know anything about Ova The Rainbow, Family Fertility Center or Family Formation (Diane Michelsen)? Answer will be much appreciated - thank you! Wanna Be A Mommy... BAD


Congratulations to you for making the decision to use an ovum donor to conceive youe child. I have a 2 year old son conceived using a donor ovum and am extremely happy. I used Ova the Rainbow. Kendis is a warm person with a huge heart who herself has been a surrogate mother for several families (including 2 sets of twins!). She can seem a little unorganized, but I could put up with that. I used her agency after a terrible experience with another agency. So I can highly recommend Ova the Rainbow. There is another woman in Marin who has an agency, Jacqueline Norton (if I remember correctly) - a former nurse, that you might what to checkout.

Best wishes for you on your journey! anonymous


Family member donating egg or sperm?

March 2004

My husband's brother recently found out that he is unable to produce children. He and his wife really want to have a baby and have asked my husband if he would be willing to donate his sperm so that they can get pregnant. Since this isn't the case of an anonymous donor (my husband and his brother are very close) what, if anything should they tell their child (if they do end up getting pregnant)? I'd love to hear from people who have been through something similar (i.e. family member or friend who donated either egg or sperm). Thanks anon


I am about to go through Egg Donor IVF with my sister's egg. Although I don't know if it will be successful, we are both fully prepared to discuss the situation with any resulting children at the appropriate age. My sister and I have never been extremely close, but this entire process has brought us very much together. It is an incredible thing she is doing for me and I will never be able to thank her enough. She says she won't feel strange when she sees ''herself'' in my child, but only time will tell. We look so alike anyway, I see myself in her children already. I never asked her to do this, by the way. She offered when she found out I couldn't have children of my own. What gift could be greater? Rachel
11 years ago, I was an egg donor to my sister so that she could conceive. After multiple surgeries and attempts at IVF over many years, she was able to successfully give birth to twins with the help of my eggs. Now, the boys are 10 years old, and know that their aunt (me) had a part to play in their birth, though I don't know how specific their knowledge is at this point. My sister would often tell them that they were created from mommy, daddy, ''and a little bit of Aunt Amy''. It has never been a secret, and I have a special place in their lives, and them in mine. While during the early years, the issues about the egg donation are more present (i.e. people commenting on the kids resemblances, etc) after years go by, we rarely even remember that there was egg donation. I think honesty (appropriate to development) and good relationships amongst donor and donee and spouses is important. amy
I am pregnant with eggs donated by my sister. It has been a sometimes difficult but ultimately wonderful experience. First, I strongly recommend that your husband and his brother get counseling-- separately and together-- from someone specializing in fertility issues. (We were happy with therapist Kim Kluger- Bell on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, 510/524-1475.) It's crucial for them to realize that they're embarking on a lifelong project together, and that nobody can predict all the feelings and issues that may arise as they go through this process. The important thing is for both of them to commit to doing the emotional work and getting outside help when necessary. Second, to answer your specific question, there are so many nuances-- when, how, etc! But in general, I believe in ''keep it simple and keep it honest.'' Secrecy only breeds shame, and this is something to be proud of! The message the child should be given is that his parents wanted him soooo much that they asked the brother to do this for them and that the donor loved his brother sooo much that he was willing to give them this incredible gift! A lot of love goes into creating a child this way, and that should be a source of joy and celebration, not secrecy or confusion. As to the question of who is the ''real'' father... while not denying that the child may feel a special connection to the genetic father, it is the day-to-day parenting that makes someone a father. I would be happy to talk/write with you about this more, if you'd like. Best of luck. Lisa

Have you undergone egg donation?

Feb 2004

I am about to embark on an egg donation cycle after struggling with infertility for 4 years. I would like to get some advice from someone who has undergone egg donation and who is willing to share their experience with me. Also, I am happy to share my experiences thus far with others who may be experiencing fertility issues and comtemplating egg donation.


Please consider contacting Resolve of Northern California (http://www.resolvenc.org/) and joining a focus group for couples considering egg donation. This was a tremendous help for us in deciding to use an egg donor and then receiving support throughout the process from other couples going through it at same time. A Happy Mom!

Thinking about becoming an egg donor

Dec 2003

I'm thinking about becoming an egg donor, for a couple of reasons. Of course the money would be helpful, but I also feel a wee bit guilty for choosing to have just one child, when one of my friends has been struggling with infertility for several years and is still unable to have her first child. (I don't mean to donate directly to her - It won't help - I just want to contribute to the process in general.) I'd like to hear from other women who have donated eggs. I have read the facts about the process, but would like to hear about someone's personal experience. How were you chosen? How time-consuming or uncomfortable is the process? What are parents looking for in a donor? (I'm not exactly supermodel material ;-) but I have a beautiful little girl! I'm healthy and well-educated and don't have any bad habits that would ''spoil'' an egg. Would I be chosen? Or would I put myself out there emotionally and then be rejected?) I guess I'd just like some details and opinions before I do something like this! Thanks! anon


I can only answer your question as a recipient of donated eggs as to what we looked for in a donor. We used an agency, which I highly recommend using. The most important factors for us was age (our donor was 28), health (and family health history), education and the reason they choose to be a donor. We choose someone of Northern European decent, since it was the closest match to my heritage, but that was not nearly as important. I personally wanted someone tall, since that was the one trait I wanted to pass on to our child, but again that was secondary to the other factors.

Donating your eggs can be a wonderful experience. We stay in touch with our donor, and she has met our child. She is a wonderful person, who without I would not be a Mom today. She will always hold a special place in my heart for what she has given us! Good luck!


When I was in graduate school, broke and looking for ways to make a nice chunk of money in a short amount of time, I considered donating eggs. I thought about it long and hard, did some research into what it really entails, and then decided against it. Here's why: The procedure is invasive and intense. They shoot you full of many hormones and other things, none of which they can promise won't lead to cancer 30 years down the line. Those eggs have the potential to become children - MY children, at bottom, with half my genetic patterning, my quirks, my family history, maybe even my hair. I won't sell my own kids, even the ones who aren't fertilized into being. In the end, I decided that $3,000 wasn't very much money after all, especially considering what's at stake. Good luck in whatever you decide. Thought about it once
I am not a donor, but am the recipient of a wonderful woman's generosity. How did we decide on this woman as our egg donor? We went through Woman to Woman in Alamo, 925-820-9495. We looked through the different donors' applications paying particular attention to their medical histories ann likelihood of them producing lots of eggs. We read their essays. We didn't care that the donor had a PhD or a GED. We did care that she showed compassion and caring to this process and to her own children. Our donor was not a super-model but was an okay looking woman. We made sure that the woman was open to meeting our child in the future if the child so chose. We did meet her over coffee to get a feel of her personality, ambitions in life and motives for donating. We were very nervous going to that coffee hoping she would like ! us. If I remember correctly the selection process went fairly quickly on our end, perhaps 2-3 weeks; I don't know how long she waited to be chosen. Our 4.5 y.o. son is healthy, sweet, more than smart enough and gorgeous (I'm a bit biased). We have kept in contact with the donor via notes every 18 months to 2 years and exchanged pictures of all our children. I think about her all the time and how blessed we are that she is our donor. Good luck. Happy egg recipient
I worked in an Egg Donor Agency for 5 years. Many people are quick to judge doing IVF because usually they do not have an infertility problem. I will tell you my opinion from the employee side (I do not have an infertility problem and am a mom of a 6 month old baby). I no longer work.

The agency I worked for helps people from all over the world (IVF/Egg donors isn't available in many countries so people come to the USA). Intended parents select a donor based on opinions from their doctor, then usually the same race as intended mother, then same coloring/same build as intended mother (eyes, hair, etc.), then others who don't even want to see photos, but select by what the donor has to say in her application. I'll tell you that the process will take some time and not everyone is looking for a supermodel. Because of the world factor, all types of egg donors are needed. The application is lengthy but it is the information that will be for a life of a child so be honest.

I've seen donors selected in 2 hours and some that took over a year. Once you are selected, the process will take about 8-10 weeks. Some donors have complaints of headaches, tenderness, cramps and some with nothing at all. You are allowed to donate 6 times and some woman will do the total 6 cycles and some will only do it once.

Now for the bottom line... The clients that are selecting an egg donor really, really want a baby. They have usually tried the ''natural way'', clomid, IUI cycles, IVF on their own and now need the help of an egg donor. Some will even need a Gestational Carrier to help them realize their dream of becoming a parent. Or they are a same sex couple and need an egg donor. Over the 5 years, I was able to see so many happy people that I will never forget the experience as long as I live and it was all due to a woman willing to give something of herself to a total stranger!

That said... good luck with your decision and congratualtions for even being open minded enough to think about it. DiAnn


Less expensive donor egg agencies?

January 2003

Does anyone know of any donor egg agencies which will not charge an arm and a leg! Thanx in advance for any help anyone can offer. AM


Donor egg agencies cost $10K plus in Northern California. There are donors who will charge two or three times this amount. If you go outside the state you might find cheaper agencies, but then you're stuck with paying for the donor's airfares, hotel accommodation as well as that of whomever she wants to accompany her.

The best way of reducing costs is to ''share'' a donor with another couple. That way your costs are reduced although you still have to pay for your costs of meds, which can be in excess of $3K. Few agencies do share cycles, but one that does is Dr. Chetkowski at Alta Bates. Anon


I've heard of Genesis Family Services. You can look them up on the internet. anon
Five years ago we used Woman to Woman Fertility Center in Alamo, (925) 820-9495. Their website is http://www.womantowomanfertilitycenter.com/. They were very kind and sensitive. The director, Marlene Kaminsky, was wonderful. I can't remember how much it cost. We picked a donor and met with her before the contract was finalized. We did have an attorney, Shelley Tarnoff in Piedmont, check on the contract before we signed it. We were very lucky that we had lots of eggs and good embryos to freeze. And we needed them. I got pregnant with the first transfer, but then miscarried. After that we transferred 5 times (2 embryos each) before one implanted. From that we have a wonderful 3 year old son. We have kept in contact with the donor maybe every 1.5 years so far. Good luck. It is a hard process, but the results can be magnificent. Anonymous
We found our donor through the clinic that performed our IVF - Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. We selected the clinic because they had the best statistics for successful treatments when it came to donor cycles in the Bay Area, even though we're in the East Bay and hate commuting to San Francisco. We were lucky enough to conceive on the first try and now have beautiful one year old twins. Our doctors were Dr. Givens and Dr. Schriock. I know one other couple who went through PFC and they also conceived on their first try.

Their donor agency is in the same building as their clinic. We ended up going into the donor facility twice to look at donor's photos and their applications. In the meantime they sent us photocopies and descriptions of maybe 12 possible donors. When we finally saw the woman we thought was a good match for us (it took two or three months of looking), we went in to look at her photos in color and to talk about her with the agency. They knew her because she had successfully donated two times before. We never met her but we exchanged cards and I hope to send her some photos of our babies (through the agency) when I get a chance.

We paid $5,000 - $6,000 for the donor part of our treatment, which I think is a fair fee. The donor got $4500 of that which is fair, considering what she has to go through to produce the eggs. All of their donors are compensated the same. We selected her because of her coloring, height, and because she seemed like a really happy person. She didn't have a fancy job or a college degree or a high IQ (that we know of) but she had two beautiful children and we liked what she said on her application. I preferred using the local agency to the bigger ones in Southern California for many reasons and am glad we did. They did all the pre-screening and had a history with our particular donor. They were easy to work with and quite responsive.

Good luck with your selection process and a successful pregnancy and birth! Check out: http://www.infertilitydoctor.com anon


Using a donor from an agency is a much more expensive way to go than using a donor from a fertility clinic. I'd suggest, based on my own experience, that you talk to Sharon, the donor coordinator at Dr. Weckstein's clinic in San Ramon (I don't remember their phone number, but he's in the phone book). I liked him. I also went to Dr. Chetkowski for one visit, and found his exam needlessly painful, his manner abrupt (when I asked him what a particular procedure would feel like he said ''Like this!'' and performed the (painful) procedure right then. Weckstein, by contrast, was unfailingly gentle and thoughtful.

In any event, his coordinator can tell you what donor options are available and what they cost. Sharing a donor is less expensive; adopting an embryo is a whole lot less expensive. Weckstein's office is somewhat unusual in that they offer a great deal of information about the donor, including many photos. I felt very comfortable with our donor, and very close to this stranger whom we'd never know. Resolve (in the phone book in San Francisco, when I joined them eight years ago) is also a very supportive way to meet other people dealing with the same questions. Best of luck. My twins (seven years old) tell me how grateful they are that we the parents tried so hard to have them. They're very touched that we wanted them so much. Anon


We used the doctors at PFC and Woman to Woman Fertility Center in Danville to assist us in finding our donor (www.womantowomanfertilitycenter.com). I highly recommend both. As I'm sure you already know, this is very expensive process. We personally helped justify the cost by comparing it to the cost of private adoption. One thing that helped us through the whole process was joining a Resolve (www.resolvenc.org) focus group that included only couples interested in using egg donation. Two members of our group advertised and selected a donor without the help of an agency. It's a lot of work, but they saved a LOT of money.

Bottom line - egg donation is the best decision I ever made! We had a wonderful experience with our donor, and today I am the proud mom of a beautiful toddler. We are currently trying for our second child with the leftover frozen embryos (this is a good reason to NOT share a donor with another couple!) I hope you have as much success as we had with egg donation. Good Luck!


Feb 1999

I am an ovum donor recipient and am now 6.5 months pregnant. We found our donor through Woman to Woman. It took a lot of thought and a few hours of conseling to make the decision to use a donor egg. We met our donor prior to signing the contract. If you get asked to do that please don't be offended. We just wanted to see what her demeanor was and ask her a few qwuestions that could give indications of what our child may be like. We also wanted to get assurances from her that we could always contact each other for medical reasons, not for her to have an ongoing relationship with the child. (Our adopted nephew died of athlete's heart when he was 17 and, because it was a closed adoption, there was no way of warning his birth parents or siblings.) Lastly, we wanted her to look us in the eye and say it would be okay for our child to meet her if he chose whe he got older. She couldn't have been more understanding and nicer. We will be blessed with our second son soon and we will always be grateful to this wonderful woman who gave us this chance.


To the woman thinking about being an ovum/donor surrogate: I worked at an egg donation/surrogacy agency for a while and have done quite a bit of research on the topic, I'm a graduate student in anthropology. What I have to say about participating in either type of program is pretty lengthy so if you want to reply to me directly feel free. I will say though, that in my experience most women who are selected to be surrogates are usually pleased with their experience, but it is quite a bit more of an investment of time and emotion than being an egg donor. And the egg donors who usually make it though selection by the agency and who are then selected by a couple are usually younger then you. You don't mention if you have children, which definitely matters if you want to be a surrogate, and if you go the egg donation route usually they want you to have been pregnant at least once before. Take care.
I would also like to add that both of my two children were conceived via IVF using donor eggs . We used the Reproductive Science Center for both pregnancies and both times had a very positive experience. I highly recommend Dr. Louis Weckstein at this clinic. He is extremely experienced and a warm and very friendly human being. And we have two beautiful and healthy children as a result of this process and we are very grateful to the women who were our donors and the staff at the Reproductive Science Center. I also recommend contacting Resolve for more information about clinics that are using egg donors and surrogate birth mothers.
Home   |   Post a Message  |   Subscribe  |   Help   |   Search  |   Contact Us    

this page was last updated: Jul 24, 2012


The opinions and statements expressed on this website are those of parents who subscribe to the Berkeley Parents Network.
Please see Disclaimer & Usage for information about using content on this website.    Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network