What is an Egg Donor?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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An egg donor is a woman who gives one or more of her eggs to another person for the purpose of conceiving a child. She may give her eggs without receiving monetary compensation or in return for a certain amount of payment. In most cases, a woman who donates her eggs while expecting nothing in return does so for a family member or close friend. Most egg donors do receive some sort of financial compensation.

An egg donor often provides eggs to women or couples who are struggling with infertility. For example, if a woman does not have viable eggs that allow her to become pregnant with her own biological child, she may seek the help of an egg donor. Sometimes a woman's eggs are viable, but she is aware of an inheritable condition that she might pass on to her offspring if she gives birth to a child using her own eggs. In such a case, the egg or eggs she receives from an egg donor are fertilized by sperm from either her husband or a sperm donor, using in vitro fertilization. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are placed in either her uterus or that of a surrogate mother.


In some cases, an egg donor provides eggs for use by a male who wants to have a baby. In such a case, the donor's eggs are fertilized by the man's sperm via in vitro fertilization and then implanted into the uterus of a surrogate mother. This process can help a single man conceive a child, or it can be used to help a homosexual male couple conceive. Once a woman has donated her eggs in such a manner, her involvement in the conception process is complete. Usually, she doesn't retain any legal rights to children that are born using her donated eggs.

Most egg donors do not know the couple or person their eggs will help. A woman goes to a fertility clinic or a donation facility to provide her donation. Such clinics pay egg donors a range of compensation, with the average payment falling between $3,000 and $5,000 dollars US dollars (USD). It is legal for a woman to be paid for an egg donation in many different countries, including the United States. However, in some countries, a woman must donate her eggs for free via a process that is often referred to as egg sharing.

In most cases, donations are handled anonymously. This means the person using the egg to conceive a child will never know the name or important identifying facts about the egg donor. However, he or she is given information concerning such things as the donor's blood type and health status. In some cases, however, donation programs allow the egg donor to decide whether or not she wishes to be identified to donation recipients later, identified as part of the donation process, or develop a relationship with the recipients. For example, in some cases, an egg donor may wish to allow a child conceived from her eggs to contact her when he or she reaches a certain age.


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