More egg donations are occurring, the success rate is increasing, and accessibility is improving, but the process -- unregulated for many years -- is often unnecessarily challenging and stressful. Science and technology have provided us with a wonderful opportunity to help someone begin or grow their family. After years of challenges relating to infertility, the last thing a prospective parent or couple needs is additional stress.
Why Use Beverly Hills Egg Donation (BHED)?
Unlike many other egg donation agencies, we interview every egg donor who is added to our database -- before they're added. We don't believe that relying on photos and a phone conversation alone are acceptable. In addition, we require egg donors to provide documented proof of statements made on their application -- degrees, grades, work history, etc. If you see an egg donor in our database, you can be sure that they've not only been screened, but we have met them and they have then made it through our stringent evaluation program.
We believe that we can run a successful business without charging exorbitant fees. We believe that the practice of charging a percentage of a donor’s fee in addition to a flat agency fee -- resulting in continual fee “inflation” -- is unethical. The cost of our services is totally separate from the donor’s fee. In addition, our first-time, standard egg donor fees are held at $6,500, commensurate with recent guidelines set by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and many physicians.
We understand that you may be exploring Egg Donation as a couple or a single parent, and it's our job to be inclusive and supportive of your particular situation. If you are doing this with a partner or spouse, we want to include them in the process as well. Our “whole family” approach to Egg Donation is unusual among egg donor agencies, but we can't do it any other way.
Care and Consideration
Even before taking some of the medications involved, prospective parents and egg donors often feel stressed and vulnerable. The time and expense related to infertility, not to mention the tremendous emotional toll that it takes, means that a higher level of compassion is required from day one. In addition, clear information and timeliness is critical -- a missed day on the schedule can mean an abandoned or delayed cycle. At BHED, we understand all of these issues, and our staff is trained to help you through each stage of the process.
The Matching Process
Welcome to Beverly Hills Egg Donation. Our goal is to ensure that you have a safe, satisfying and successful experience. Our process begins online and then is custom tailored to suit your needs and comfort level (our “consultative approach”).
After reviewing our information thoroughly, take a few minutes to register online. Once your registration has been received and your contact information confirmed, you will receive an email from us notifying you that you have been "approved" and have access to our complete egg donor database.
As a BHED Recipient you will have your own online account that enables you to keep a list of the egg donors you are considering and organize the list by your level of interest in the donor. While you are searching egg donors, you can make notes, rank donors, or ask any questions you wish -- all from your account. BHED staff can also post information for you alerting you to new donors that might fit your criteria.
Once You Have Found Your Egg Donor
When you have found your donor, your coordinator will contact the donor to confirm that she is available on your time frame. Once we have her confirmation, you will be sent a packet of information via email, that includes your contract with BHED to sign and return to us via email or FAX, a confirmation of your donor's fee, and a credit card authorization form.
Once we've received your signed contract and processed your agency fee, you will be contacted by Ellie Goldman, our cycle coordinator, who will become your day-to-day contact throughout the process. Ellie will forward your donor's information to your doctor and she will ensure that the psychological and genetic screenings are scheduled in a timely manner.
Your donor will then begin going through various screenings, including the following. (*Psych and genetic screening might not be needed for repeat donors.)
- Psychological screening is a one to two hour face-to-face process including a test (PAI) along with a personal interview to assess the donor’s motives and suitability for donating. At the interview, the psychologist will try to:
The psychologist's report is available to you upon request.
- Rule out any personal or family history of substance abuse/mental illness.
- Rule out any obvious psychological distress which could interfere with the donor's ability to comprehend or follow through with her commitment.
- Surface any questions or concerns.
- Provide a little "color" in terms of giving a sense of the donor's family history and relationships.
- Understand and describe their motivation for becoming an egg donor.
- Find out some information about their support system to get a sense if they are proceeding with the egg donation with the knowledge and/or support of meaningful people in their lives.
- Get some sense of how they are thinking/feeling about the meaning of their genetic material possibly creating a baby.
- Genetic screening includes a comprehensive interview with a leading genetic counselor to determine what specific testing may be warranted, based on your donor's genetic and health history (if any). The geneticist will make their recommendations and you then have the ability to decide with your doctor how you will proceed.
- Medical screening is performed by your doctor and consists of the doctor taking the donor’s medical history, doing blood work, a pelvic exam, and often an ultrasound as well.
Either before or after the egg donor’s screening, you will choose your attorney and the donor will select their attorney. (As with all aspects of the process, we will assist you in finding suitable counsel, if you wish.) Working with your attorney, a contract will be drafted and signed by both you and the donor. This legal process should take on average 1-2 weeks.
Your medical cycle begins after we have received clearance from the psychologist, genetic counselor, your physician, and both attorneys.
The Medical Cycle
At the beginning of the medical cycle the doctor's office will send you and your coordinator your/your surrogate's medical calendar and your donor's medical calendar. The medical cycle takes about 4 to 6 weeks. The doctor will first have you/your surrogate and your donor take a round of birth control pills to synchronize the two menstrual cycles. Your/your surrogate's cycle will begin a few days after the donor's. Approximately 2-3 weeks after that, your/your surrogate's medical cycle goes in two different directions -- one for the donor, and the other for you or your surrogate.
Your donor will begin taking hormones (to suppress her natural ovulation) and injections (to increase her follicle stimulation). A successful retrieval results in anywhere from 10-20 eggs. The retrieval is an outpatient procedure that typically lasts from 10-30 minutes. Your donor receives a light anesthetic and the eggs are retrieved through an ultrasound-guided needle. After the retrieval your donor will be required to rest for the remainder of the day and possibly the following day. It can take as long as two weeks for the donor to feel completely normal (this varies and can take as little as a day).
You or your surrogate will be taking daily hormone injections that will prepare your/your surrogate's uterus as well as the rest of your/her body for the implantation of the embryo(s). On the third or fifth day after the egg retrieval (during which time the eggs will be fertilized and checked for viability), the doctor will transfer the embryo(s) into your or your surrogate's uterus. This is typically done without general anesthesia, and only takes a few minutes. You or your surrogate will most likely be required to have bed rest for one to three days following the transfer and then must follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Approximately 10-14 days later, you or your surrogate will take a pregnancy test to determine if the transfer has been successful.
It is important to remember that every cycle is different and that each doctor has his or her own procedure. BHED is proud to work with some of the world’s leading reproductive endocrinologists and we are happy to help ensure the success of this procedure for both you and the donor. As always, we are here to help you through every aspect of the process!
Parent Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get started with Beverly Hills Egg Donation? I'm new to this egg donor process.
All you need to do is register
by filling out our short online form. Once we receive that from you and confirm the information on the form, we will email you that you have been given access to our entire database. If you'd like, we'd love to speak with you at this point in the process, but it's up to you. Note that we do not
charge for access to our database; nor do we charge for consultation time (looking for donors on your behalf, etc.)
How many egg donors do you have? Are they the same egg donors that the other agencies have?
We have a group of egg donors currently approved and online, ready for our registered Intended Parents/Recipients to review. In addition to what you see online, we have many other donors who are almost ready to be online, but are still in the midst of our review process. New online donors are added to the site several times each week.
The Donors in our database tend to be exclusive to our company (by their choice). We like to think this is because they are impressed (and comfortable) with our highly sophisticated and personalized approach. For example, we don’t embellish the application/questionnaire, and we don’t treat our donors like real estate properties (i.e. “great curb appeal!”). We believe that our Intended Parents/Recipients are smarter than that, and would prefer to see the authenticity that an online application -- filled out by the donor -- can provide.
I see the age range of your egg donors differs from that of many/most other agencies. Why?
We don't believe that most 18-20 year olds are psychologically prepared for participating in this process. In fact, we have heard multiple stories of donors “backing out” late in the process -- sometimes after substantial screening has taken place, and major costs have been incurred. We feel that it’s our responsibility to make every effort to match you with a responsible, mature donor -- one who really understands their importance to the process. Therefore, you won’t see us advertising on most college campuses.
Do you meet all of your egg donors?
Yes. If the egg donor is not local, we do a videoconference with them via webcam. One way or another, we always have an in-person (on-screen or live) interview with each donor.
How can I search for donors with above average academic backgrounds?
We have two categories on our search function that can help you identify our donors with exceptional educational achievements. A donor can be considered an Academic Achiever (which also increases her donor fee by $500) or a High Achiever. The criteria for both categories are as follows:
Academic Achiever (must meet one of the following):
- Graduated from or currently enrolled in a "US News & World Report" top 30 school
- 1400+ old SAT, or 2100+ new SAT
- 30+ ACT
- College GPA at or above 3.7
- Graduated from or currently enrolled in an advanced degree program
High Achiever (must meet one of the following):
- 1250+ old SAT, or 1850+ new SAT
- 25+ ACT
- College GPA at or above 3.5
Note: the additional $500 donor fee is only applicable to donors categorized as "Academic Achievers"
Do you have any connections to anyone on the medical side of egg donation?
Yes! Several Los Angeles-based Reproductive Endocrinologists, as well as many IVF Coordinators, Embryologists and Genetic Counselors, have been advising us since we began our business. They help us to review donor qualification issues, keep up on ethical and new medical concerns, and understand new technologies and techniques as they are being employed by physicians.
How do your costs work?
Please see the “Costs
” section of our site, under “Become a Parent” for detailed information on the costs of egg donation with BHED. Note that we never
“mark up” vendor charges -- our fees come from the base administrative fee we charge. As your advocate, we pledge to continually find ways to make this process as affordable as possible.
Is this confidential?
Yes. Any correspondence we send you by mail will include our address and, possibly, the letters BHED, but not the words Egg Donation. In addition, any phone messages to your home or office will be left with our names and BHED, unless you have approved us to do otherwise. The only exception to this will be communication to you via your personal cell phone number or email address.
Choosing an Egg Donor
There are many questions/issues to consider when choosing an egg donor. Websites of many organizations list numerous questions you might ask the donor or agency, but most of these are covered in our comprehensive donor questionnaire.
One question does remain, and few websites or companies address it:
How do I establish the criteria of what I want in a donor?
This is, clearly, completely subjective. However, we think that it’s important that you think about the following:
- Whatever the egg donor’s physical and psychological makeup is (DNA), this is still only half of the equation. Which attributes are dominant (i.e. which appear in the resulting child) are often just as likely to come from the sperm side of the equation as from the ovum (egg) side. In addition, these attributes might come from previous generations of the egg or sperm provider. A donor is only part of the equation and there are no guarantees that the baby will look just like her.
- In our experience most satisfied egg donor recipients seem to be those that look to match the physical qualities of the Intended Parents as closely as possible. Some Intended Parents also look for a donor with similar education or hobbies to themselves to add just one more connection. Mostly, these new parents are just looking for a healthy, happy child!
- One of the nice benefits of egg donation is that you can offset (and often negate) genetically linked diseases and syndromes via the process. In other words, if there is a disease in your partner/sperm donor’s family that you would like to spare a resulting child from, make sure to choose a donor that has none of that particular disease in her family history.
In these cases, please review this issue with your coordinator at BHED, as we can probe further with our donors to make sure that we are providing you with in-depth information on your donor, giving you the best options for your child’s future.
Please let us know if you’d like to discuss your “choosing criteria” further. Along with our psychological and genetic counselors, we’d love to help you to explore the various options to make the best decision for you and, if appropriate, your partner.
Once you have selected your egg donor, you will need to enter into a legally binding agreement with the donor, which sets forth each party’s rights and responsibilities. The attorney you select will draft the contract between you and the donor. The contract will include such things as the donor’s compensation, medical testing and procedures, conduct of the parties, insurance issues, and parental rights.
The attorney will also provide a legal clearance letter to the fertility clinic, advising them that all parties have consulted with an attorney and are fully advised of their legal rights and responsibilities. The clinic will not proceed with the donation procedure until they receive this document.
Fees for the legal process will vary from attorney to attorney; however, typical costs range from
$750 to $1000 for the recipients and $400 for the donor. The recipients pay the donor.s legal fees (collected when the donor fee is due), as well as their own legal costs (paid directly to the attorney you select.) For your convenience, Beverly Hills Egg Donation will provide you with a list of qualified attorneys who specialize in assisted reproduction law.
For all aspects of the egg donation process, finding the right professional is an individual process. Interview several to see with whom you feel most comfortable. You should be sure to know exactly what you are paying for, which services are being provided, who is providing these services, and that all your legal questions and concerns are being addressed.
Some frequently asked questions regarding the legality of egg donation include:
How can I be sure that my identity remains confidential?
Recipient and Egg Donor confidentiality is protected by legal contract. Typically identification numbers, first names, initials or pseudonyms are used to identify the parties rather than using full names. This ensures more privacy for everyone involved.
Will we have the opportunity to meet each other?
In order to respect each other’s desire for privacy, in person meetings will not take place unless both parties agree. We will also coordinate telephone meetings if both parties with to speak with each other and still remain anonymous.
What issues are addressed in the legal contract?
The contract addresses the process of egg donation, the time frame for the anticipated cycle, verification as to the accuracy of the personal health information given by the donor, legal responsibilities of both the donor and recipients, and the legal rights of all parties involved with regard to both the donation process and as to any child resulting from the donation.
While the laws vary from state to state, overall it is extremely clear that children born as a result of egg donation legally belong to the couple receiving the donated eggs. The recipients assume all moral, legal and financial responsibility for any children born from the egg donation. Egg donors have absolutely no parental rights or responsibility for the future welfare or support of these children.
The above is for information purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice. BHED insists all donors and recipients received legal consultation from a licensed attorney prior to any donation procedure.
There are thousands of women at any given time that cannot become pregnant using their own eggs. Whether the reason is previous disease, chromosomal abnormalities, early menopause, premature ovarian failure, or simply poor egg quality, hopeful parents are often able to successfully become pregnant by using donated eggs from younger, more fertile women in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). At Beverly Hills Egg Donation (BHED), we connect outstanding young women who are willing and able to give this life-changing gift to recipients looking to build a family.
Our program includes comprehensive screening, education, and cycle management -- all provided with the highest levels of professionalism, confidentiality, empathy, and support.
Why Should I Donate My Eggs?
Becoming an egg donor is a unique opportunity to assist others in fulfilling their dream of becoming parents. Many individuals and couples cannot become pregnant without the assistance of an egg donor. You may know someone who has struggled with infertility and felt hopeless. There are thousands of couples desperately searching for an egg donor like you who will give them that hope. Your generous donation of eggs will give someone who is experiencing infertility the opportunity to create a child of their own and experience the joy of parenthood. Giving the gift of life takes only a small amount of your time, but will provide the recipients a lifetime of happiness.
In addition to the personal satisfaction you will have knowing you have helped create a family, you will receive compensation for your inconvenience and time, and all of your expenses are paid by the recipients, including travel expenses if required. There is absolutely no cost to you.
The BHED Egg Donor Application Process
The ideal BHED Egg Donor is a woman between the ages of 21 and 29 who lives a healthy life, has a clean medical history, has completed some advanced studies, and is genuinely committed to the donation process.
The application process begins with our prescreening questionnaire that you, the prospective egg donor, complete online, to help us determine if you are a potential candidate. If you meet our initial selection criteria, you will be notified on-screen and/or by email that you can then proceed to our long-form application, where you will complete your personal profile. The personal profile is one of the most important tools in assessing your suitability as an Egg Donor.
Your profile will include information about you, your family, and your medical history, as well as a personal "photo gallery". Once completed, your application will be reviewed. Should you meet all our egg donor program requirements you will be invited to an in- person interview. The interview is your opportunity to ask any questions about egg donation and our opportunity to ask additional questions that will help us make our final determination. When you have completed the entire application process you will be notified if you have been accepted into our egg donor program.
If you are accepted into the egg donation program, your profile will become accessible to our registered recipients (also known as "Intended Parents"). However, the profile that the recipients see will exclude your personal contact information, including your last name, address, etc.
There are some clinical reasons why a donor's eggs will not be deemed acceptable for Egg Donation. Listed below are some of the behaviors/conditions that automatically disqualify women from our Egg Donor program.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- If you have injected drugs or engaged in prostitution within the last five years
- If you have been diagnosed with syphilis, Chlamydia or certain other infectious diseases within the last year (if treated, you must be deemed disease-free for at least 12 months)
- If you have a BMI (body mass index) which is beyond the currently accepted "healthy" levels
- If you have traveled to the UK or Europe during FDA-designated "mad cow risk" time periods
- If you have a medical and/or family history of birth defects that required surgery (such as cleft lip, Spina Bifida, or a heart defect), Huntington's Disease, Hemophilia, Tay-Sachs Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, major medical problems, mental handicaps and/or psychiatric problems.
- If you are a carrier of the gene or genetic mutation for certain diseases or syndromes (i.e. Tay-Sachs, Sickle Cell Anemia).
BHED reserves the right to decline any applicant at our discretion. All information in your application is kept secure on our password protected website.
The Matching Process
The match begins when you are notified that the match is confirmed and when you verbally accept. A written contract between you and the Recipients will then be drafted. For legal reasons, we require that you speak with an attorney in order to ensure that you are aware of all aspects of the egg donor process, including your responsibilities (as well as those of the Recipients). We are happy to assist you in choosing an attorney with whom you are comfortable. Your attorney's fees will be paid by the Recipients.
At the beginning of the process, it will be necessary for you to undergo a thorough medical examination, including a pelvic exam, blood draw to check hormone levels and to test for infectious diseases, and an ultrasound to examine your ovaries, uterus and other pelvic organs. In addition, you will be referred to a psychologist who will speak with you to determine if you are mentally prepared to undertake and complete the donation process. These evaluations are necessary to ensure you are fully prepared and capable of completing the egg donation cycle safely and successfully. These evaluations will be done at no cost to you.
The Egg Donation Process
Once the screening is complete and the contract signed, you will begin the donation cycle, which typically takes between 3-6 weeks. There are two parts to a successful egg retrieval procedure: the Egg Donor’s Cycle and the Recipients’ Cycle. The Egg Donation Cycle will begin with a few weeks of birth control pills (to synchronize your cycle with the Recipient’s), followed by injections that will temporarily halt your ovaries’ normal functioning. An initial injection will be given to you at the doctor’s office where you will also be given instructions on how to properly administer the injections yourself. These injections must be administered on a daily basis for one or more weeks (typically not more than 3 weeks.)
The next step is to stimulate egg production. You will be given follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) to increase the number of mature eggs your body will produce. FSH injections are similar to the natural hormones your body produces. The FSH is typically injected just under the skin for a period of ten days. If you are unable to administer the injections yourself, you will have to arrange for someone to administer them for you. Throughout the cycle your doctor will continually monitor you. They will run blood tests and perform ultrasound exams to determine your reaction to the hormones and the progress of follicle growth.
Once the doctor decides the follicles are mature, she will establish the date and time for your egg retrieval. Approximately 36 hours before retrieval, you will be given one more injection (of the hormone HCG) to ensure that your eggs are ready to be harvested. The Egg Retrieval is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that requires a light general anesthetic and lasts about 20-30 minutes. The doctor will use a small ultrasound-guided needle inserted through the vagina to aspirate the follicles in both ovaries. Immediately following the surgery you will rest in the recovery room for an hour or two. Due to the administration of general anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home. It can take one full day up to a week to fully recover, but generally Donors return to normal activities the next day.
Things to Consider
As with any medical procedure, there are possible side effects and risks. Some women feel no or slight discomfort during their egg donation cycle. Others have varying symptoms which typically disappear following the retrieval procedure. In some cases you might feel bloating, abdominal pain, pressure and swelling, all of which will go away by your next period. Severe side effects are rare, and the doctor will explain the various risks that, although unlikely, can become part of this procedure. Egg Donation has been done since 1984, with over 10,000 retrievals annually in the U.S. alone. Overall, there are no proven long-term effects of Egg Donation on a woman's health or fertility.
Pregnancy is another very real side effect and risk of Egg Donation, so you will be required to abstain from sex during the process. You will also be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol and taking certain medications. Your doctor will explain this to you in detail.
The average Egg Donation cycle lasts for between 3-6 weeks, not including the evaluation appointments. The time, attention to detail, and patience required of an Egg Donor is substantial. For your time, energy and commitment, you are compensated twice; once with a financial payment and once with the sense of fulfillment you receive from helping to complete a family! BHED Donors receive a fee of $6,500 (higher for repeat egg donors and/or donors with certain attributes). Egg Donors are limited to 6 donation cycles.
What are an Egg Donor's Responsibilities?
Completing the enrollment process in a timely manner, with accurate and verifiable facts.
- Attending the scheduled interview.
- If applicable, making sure all medical records are received by the Doctor's office on time.
- Scheduling and attending medical and psychological screening appointments.
- Being on time for all monitoring appointments.
- Taking the medication as instructed.
- Arranging transportation to and from the retrieval.
- Communicating any problems during the cycle to BHED and the Doctors.
- Communicating any schedule changes to BHED.