Is It Possible to Combine Egg Donation with Surrogacy?

By (gynecologist), (embryologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 10/14/2019

In surrogacy, treatment can be done with eggs from either the intended mother or a donor, depending on each patient's needs. If you cannot use your own gametes, you can resort to egg donation.

This could make you think that the combination of both methods is exclusively used in homosexual couples. However, there are many heterosexual couples who, due to medical problems, cannot provide either the woman's eggs or her ability to gestate. Egg donation and surrogacy are two assisted reproduction treatments that often go hand in hand.

Surrogacy for single and gay men

When a single man or a homosexual male couple wants to have a child using their sperm, they must necessarily resort to egg donation in order to complete the surrogacy treatment.

In this case, there is no medical incapacity, but biological, because the cause of not being able to gestate is the natural anatomy of man and not a health problem.

For this reason, there are many destinations that do not allow surrogacy to this group, as its regulation requires medical justification of inability to carry the pregnancy to term.

Surrogacy for heterosexual couples

The main reasons that lead a woman to resort to surrogacy for inability to gestate are varied:

  • Missing uterus, either congenital or acquired
  • Uterine malformation
  • Implantation failure
  • Repeated miscarriage
  • Diseases for which pregnancy may be a risk to the health of the woman and/or the baby

Some of these alterations are associated with the absence of viable eggs and, therefore, make egg donation necessary. For example, continued implantation failure and/or miscarriage may be due to problems with the eggs, problems with the uterus, or both. For this reason, in some situations, egg donation will be the solution but in others it will be necessary to also resort to surrogacy.

Another example can be found in cases where pregnancy can be dangerous due to an illness in the future mother. The disease may also decrease the quality and/or quantity of your eggs.

Also in situations of missing uterus due to cancer, the oncological treatment administered may have affected ovarian production, so it will be necessary to combine surrogacy and egg donation.

What does the law say about the use of donor eggs?

The regulation of surrogacy varies greatly from country to country. Even among the countries that allow it, each one includes different requirements and peculiarities.

In none of the countries in which gestational surrogacy is legal is it required that the gametes used be contributed by the future parents. The donation of one or both gametes is usually permitted regardless of whether the transfer of the resulting embryos is to the intended mother or to the gestational carrier. This is the case for the United States, Canada, Greece and Georgia.

In Russia, surrogacy of eggs and sperm is also permitted, but only for heterosexual couples. In this country single women must provide their own eggs for surrogacy.

Other countries have an intermediate regulation, that is, they allow only one of the gametes to be donated, the other being obligatorily from one of the parents. This is the case in Ukraine, where semen must be provided by the intended father but the use of donor eggs is permitted.

Another important aspect is the identity of the egg donor. There are regulations that require that the donor and the pregnant woman be two different persons, while there are countries that allow partial or traditional surrogacy, i.e., that the surrogate mother is also the one who provides the eggs.

FAQs from users

If I need egg donation for the surrogacy process, will I be able to meet the egg donor as well?

By Dr. Joel G. Brasch (gynecologist).

There are two types of egg donation: anonymous donation and public donation. You will not be given your donor's contact information if it is an anonymous donation, but you will see their photos and detailed background information. You can contact and meet your donor if it is a public donation, but the cost may be a little higher. Both options are available, but anonymous donation is more common.

How much is surrogacy with donor eggs?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

Prices vary greatly from one destination to another, but the cost with donor eggs will always be higher than with your own eggs. The United States is the most expensive surrogacy destination, while Greece, Ukraine and Russia are more affordable.

More information about the costs in surrogacy in the following article: How much is surrogacy?

Do I have to choose a different destination in case I'm not able to use my own eggs?

By Sara Salgado (embryologist).

Yes, each country has its own regulations regarding surrogacy and therefore the conditions under which this reproductive practice can be performed change. There are countries that require that the eggs be from the future mother, while in others they may be from a donor. The same applies to sperm donation.

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References

Authors and contributors

Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Gynecologist
Dr. Joel Brasch is the Medical Director of Chicago IVF, founded in 2005. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and has over 25 years of direct experience in fertility treatment and reproductive care. He is also the Director of Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. More information about Dr. Joel G. Brasch
 Sara Salgado
Sara Salgado
Embryologist
Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). Master's Degree in Human Assisted Reproduction from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). Certificate of University Expert in Genetic Diagnosis Techniques from the University of Valencia (UV). More information about Sara Salgado
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
Babygest Staff
Editor and translator for the Babygest magazine in English and German. More information about Romina Packan

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