Donor Banking for Intended Parents

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As you move through the egg donation leg of your journey you may face situations where it could be beneficial to consider banking your donor’s eggs or created embryos. This term is exactly what it sounds like: it involves taking these eggs or embryos and freezing them, or banking them, for later use. There are a variety of circumstances in which this could be a favorable option for your journey. Here are a few of them.

 

  • Donor Timeline. You will be given access to our online database of egg donors very shortly after retaining our services. We find that it is not uncommon for intended parents to quickly find and decide on an egg donor, often before they’ve been matched with their surrogate. It would be unfair to ask an egg donor to wait for a potentially extended period of time while the surrogate matching process occurs. So, in these cases, we often recommend moving forward with your egg donation process right away, and banking the frozen embryos for use once you have found your surrogate.
  • Surrogate Blackout Dates- Conversely, some intended parents take a long time to find that perfect donor. In this instance you would already be matched with your surrogate, and potentially have a calendar with her availability and blackout dates. Sometimes, an egg donor’s availability just does not match up well with their surrogate’s. In these unique cases it may be beneficial to complete a donor banking cycle so that you’re able to work with both the donor and surrogate you feel comfortable with.
  • Dual Parentage- Many of our same sex couples want to create embryos from sperm samples of both partners. The ultimate desire would be a twins pregnancy (or a future sibling project) wherein a surrogate carries biological half siblings, connected by the egg donor’s DNA. Occasionally a donor’s cycle will produce a lower than expected number of viable eggs for fertilization. Understanding that a few embryos will not grow in an optimal way, it make makes sense to consider a banking cycle. In this case, one partner’s sperm will be used to fertilize all of the available eggs and the most likely to result in a viable pregnancy is banked for later use. Then, a repeat cycle with the same donor can be completed and embryos can be created with the other intended father’s sperm sample.
  • Low Ovarian Reserve- If you are an intended mother with low ovarian reserve wishing to use your own eggs, a banking cycle may be your best option. Many times women with low ovarian reserve will respond to fertility medicines and produce eggs that could be viable, but it is rare for the yield to be high enough to lead to favorable results. In these cases it is often advised that the intended mother progress through multiple stimulation cycles before progressing to embryo transfer. This allows for the opportunity to create multiple embryos and increase the chances of success.
  • Other Considerations- There are other unique factors that can lead to the choice to complete the egg donor cycle separately from the surrogacy journey. Everything from large-scale travel plans to financial limitations can necessitate donor banking. Sometimes intended parents just desire a mental break between the two processes.

IVF cycles completed with frozen embryos, as opposed to fresh, have shown similar success rates. Choosing to bank eggs or embryos should have no impact on your probability of success moving forward. If you feel as though a banking cycle might benefit the journey you’re hoping to have, please feel free to discuss the benefits and possible complications with your case specialist.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.