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Egg Donor Fees: Demystified


by Melodie Shank, Consultant, Fertility SOURCE Companies, January 11, 2011

Infertility treatment possesses its own vernacular, and the same is true of third-party reproduction.

After what is typically an emotionally challenging ride down the path of infertility treatment, with its sinister-sounding new terms like hCG and ICSI hurled at us, we may then arrive at the doorway of third-party reproduction. Whether this means working with a sperm donor, an egg donor or a surrogate, a brand new dialect awaits us here as well.

One of the most controversial terms to emerge from third-party reproduction is the egg donor fee. The concept of paying, and for that matter, collecting a fee for which the end result will (hopefully) be a child, is strange new terrain for those first exploring the possibility working with a donor. This article attempts to shed some light on donor fees in general and why the fees vary.

Guidelines for Donor Fees

In 2007 The Ethics Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) set forth guidelines relating to the financial compensation of egg donors which stated:

“Total payments to donors in excess of $5,000 require justification, and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate.” However, after spending a bit of time perusing the various donor databases online, this statement may begin to sound a bit ambiguous.


There are a number of reasons that a donor fee might be higher than those considered “standard." Some examples and their specifics follow:

  • Repeat Donor: A donor who has successfully donated can be an advantageous choice for prospective parents. Not only will a repeat donor have the benefit of experience, she will also have familiarity with the process, and she will have previously completed many of the screenings, such as the psychological evaluation and genetic screening required of donors that can alleviate some of the risk for intended parents. Additionally, having the medical information from previous cycles can help the fertility team better evaluate how the donor will respond to stimulation medication.
  • Unique Ethnicity: In most cases, intended parents will wish to match their ethnic backgrounds with their donors. Egg donors from select populations are often more difficult to locate not only because they represent a small percentage of the population, but because there are often socio-cultural considerations that can deter some women from donating.
  • Location: Donors who reside in and around major metropolitan areas will likely require a higher fee than a donor living somewhere less densely populated. Costs for the medical and legal components of the process tend to be higher as well. As an example, as of this writing, a standard fee for a first-time donor in Seattle, Washington, is around $5,000, while a first-time donor in New York City area is around $8,000.
  • Education: Donors who have attained or are in the process of attaining advanced education, or who have achieved notable academic success in the form of GPA or standardized test scores such as IQ, SAT or ACT may often request higher fees.

The donor selection process is a notoriously exciting, yet difficult and emotional time for prospective parents. Being armed with as much information as possible, including the particulars behind the costs associated with this unfamiliar territory, may help as the journey toward parenthood begins.


Melodie Shank, Consultant to Fertility SOURCE Companies, has worked in the field of Reproductive Health and Third-Party Reproduction for the past ten years. She has worked extensively with intended parents, ovum donors and gestational carriers and now serves as an independent consultant to Fertility Source Companies. She resides in North Carolina and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in public health.