Finding An Egg Donor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If you finally decide to use an egg donor, it can be hard to find one.  I was placed on a hospital wait list for a year and a half before I was given an egg donor.  Instead you can find a donor from an agency.  On my radio show In Search of Fertility, I interviewed Nazca Fontes from the egg donor and surrogacy agency Conceive Abilities at  She provides important information about how to find a donor.  When I was waiting for my egg donor, I was thrilled to discover that I could use an agency to find one right away.  After 5 IVF attempts with my own eggs, I wasn’t going to wait years because there was a long line at the hospital donor egg bank.


Yahoo Shine Alesha Renee Photo

For my Yahoo Shine appearance with Alesha Renee, I was thrilled to be picked up by car service. When I arrived at the studio, I went to the makeup and hair room to prepare for the show.  I felt like a celebrity!  Alesha Renee gave me a welcome hug and put me at ease.  When the show began, I just looked at her and talked girlfriend to girlfriend.  There were a row of people facing me during filming, and one of them discretely told me to pick up my bra strap.  I readily complied.  I also remembered to keep my legs crossed so I wouldn’t have a Sharon Stone moment.  A few weeks later, I got the eagerly awaited email that the episode was ready to air.  My donor egg show was paired with an ad that featured The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a movie about an infertile couple, and I was thrilled to be on the world wide web!


Personhood Legislation Photo

Personhood Legislation outlaws infertility treatment because the fertilized egg is deemed a person. The doctor and mother could be charged with murder if the fertilized egg did not survive an IVF attempt.  For those who don’t want to get pregnant, there is the morning after pill. Personhood Legislation also would make the morning after pill illegal because it ejects a fertilized egg.  However, the New York Times just reported that the pill actually prevents the egg from ovulating before it becomes fertilized.  It is important to get the science right so procedures aren’t banned for the wrong reasons.  In any case, infertility treatment would have no scientific loophole if Personhood Legislation got passed.  That is why RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association opposes all Personhood Legislation.



40's The Egg Expiration Date Photo

When I remarried at age 44, I thought that I would have a baby with my new husband. Instead my fertility doctor told me to use a donor egg at my first appointment.  I almost fell out of my chair.  Other women are just  as shocked as me.  Newsday just published an article with the heading “Delaying Motherhood”  and “misconceptions about getting pregnant in your 30’s and 40’s.”  Apparently Long Island women are putting off pregnancy  until their 40’s and then learning that it is too late.  For those still in their 30’s, egg freezing is the recommended answer.  Unfortunately, I missed the freezer freighter and now I was sailing on the donor egg boat.


Freezing Your Eggs Photo

When I got divorced in my 30’s, I always knew that I wanted a baby if I remarried.  When I found my second husband in my 40’s, my eggs were no longer viable.  An article in the New York Times reported that parents desperate for a grandchild are taking their still single, aging daughters to freeze their eggs  for when they finally meet Mr. Right.  I wish my parents had taken me to the freezer when I got divorced.  I could have had a “I’m freezing my eggs divorce party,” and then been able to use my own eggs five years later rather than a donor.


Infertility is a low blow. It comes from nowhere and leaves you reeling. Then if you start infertility treatments, you get pounded some more with blood drawings, hormone shots and internal probes. There is the anxiety of waiting to see if you have a baby or the knock out punch of no pregnancy. I myself mourned the loss of my baby five times when I repeatedly tried IVF with my own eggs and failed. The new DSM-V finds that grieving is associated with depression.  I went from counseling others with infertility to becoming a patient myself at the point when I had to decide whether to use a donor egg. I had to separate my feelings of loss from what I wanted to do in the future. People are afraid that counseling for infertility means your crazy.   The increased risk of anxiety and depression, and the ongoing decision-making and striving for resolution all may indicate that it is time to seek help. What is crazy is ignoring going to therapy when it is needed.


Comparison Shopping for Donor Eggs

Comparison shopping when buying donor eggs is a must.  The price for the same donor’s eggs can vary widely.  Donors often list with numerous agencies.  It is imperative to check the list price for the donor as well as the fee of the agency.  Some agencies charge a percentage of the donor’s price and and others charge a flat fee.  An educated donor egg consumer will be a savy shopper and discover the best bargains.  Unless of course you want the elite eggs of an an Ivy League student that may sell for $50,000 or more.


When I read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, I focused on the infertility section.  When the Afghani boy Amir grew up and married Soraya, the couple couldn’t have children.  They went to the hospital for IVF.  Hosseini brilliantly captured the tortured gist of their failed fertility treatments in a few paragraphs.  The wife did not choose to adopt because she wanted the opportunity to look for genetic signs of herself and her husband in their child. I fully identified with her.  When my husband was lobbying for a donor egg, with its greatly increased odds of success, I only wanted my own genetic baby. Eventually Soraya had a change of heart when she agreed to adopt the Afghani son of her husband’s kite runner. Amir had rescued the boy from captivity back in Afghanistan.  I too underwent a transformation when I agreed to try donor egg after five failed attempts with my own eggs. I finally decided it would still be my baby even if it didn’t have my genes.



“You don’t have a number stamped on your back,” the nurse told me when I’d already been waiting almost a year for a donor egg from the hospital.  She explained that it could take more than a year, but that they were working very hard to find me a good match.  When I asked more about the good match, she elaborated that they were matching my eye and hair color. I felt like I was part of a bad dating service with a limited pool of men.

Then I got the tip that donor eggs were being sold on the Internet.  Some women’s ova were worth more than others. Models, Ivy League graduates and those with proven fertility were the “premier,” extraordinary” donors versus the “ordinary” ones who were paid less.  It was Saks versus Wal-Mart.  I went on a shopping spree.  Did I want the egghead or the beauty?  I could breed virtuosos with the eggs of Olympic athletes or musical divas. Why not buy the eggs of a brilliant model?  Then I paused.  Much as I had wanted to use my own eggs, at this point I would not even have chosen myself as a donor.  I was so preoccupied with concocting the right genetic mix to produce the next Madame Curie who would also win the Miss America contest that I was losing sight of creating a healthy baby to love.