Donor Conception

Why Should I Use a Donor Egg Agency for My Fertility Treatment?

Eloise Edington  |  28 Mar 2022


Are you interested in egg donation but not sure where to start?

In fact, 40% of our fertility community is considering using donor eggs and many are wondering what the difference is between a donor egg bank and an egg donor agency. Both have different benefits and it’s your choice to decide which is right for you. Speaking with your fertility specialist will help you make your decision but before you do so, you’ve come to the right place at Fertility Help Hub.

How donor egg agencies work is not as well-known as the process of egg donation with a donor egg bank. So, with Altrui & Apricity, let us explain what a donor egg agency is and how you can use an egg agency for donor conception and fertility treatment.

Apricity is a fertility clinic with an egg donation arm, Altrui. Based in the UK, it prides itself on carefully matching UK donors with intended parents, very short waiting times and high success rates. The experienced team also provides expert fertility advice to the egg donor and donor egg recipient throughout the entire process. To take the next step and use donor eggs in your fertility treatment, visit Altrui’s website here

Read on to learn about the differences between donor egg agencies and donor egg banks, how donor egg agencies work for fertility treatment and the benefits of using an egg donation agency.

Written by Holly Pigache

How is an egg donation agency different from an egg bank?

If you’re using donor eggs through Altrui, you’ll find the team’s focus is on finding a perfect donor egg match for intended parents. Unlike searching through an egg bank to find your match, Altrui does the hard work for you, acting as the concierge for matching egg donors with hopeful parents looking to use donor eggs. Today, Altrui has many altruistic egg donors and this has reduced the waiting time for a suggested match to four weeks.

Tailored matching and support throughout

Altrui donor egg agency endeavours to make perfect matches between the egg donor and donor egg recipient. Before being matched with a UK-based egg donor, an Altrui coordinator will speak with you about the egg donation process and learn what you’re looking for from an egg donor. You’ll likely discuss desired physical attributes and personality, perhaps you’ll also talk about your donor’s likes and dislikes, talents and intelligence. While sharing as much information about your ideal egg donor helps the egg donation agency to match you with your perfect donor, it’s worth bearing in mind that being flexible on some criteria can speed up the matching process. Speak with the team at Altrui about which characteristics are non-negotiable and which traits are simply “nice-to-have”.

By having a clear understanding of your unique requirements and sharing these with the egg donation agency, Altrui’s team can match you with an egg donor who’ll conceive a child who’ll fit into your family. If you’re thinking this is what you’d expect from an egg donation agency, consider how Altrui go one step further: The matching team try to find a donor they think you’ll like and who’d like to give her eggs to you if she knew you.

This one-to-one matching also means there’s no waiting list when you use Altrui for donor eggs. Current waiting times to be matched with a donor are around four weeks – much shorter than when using a donor egg bank.

Fertility Help

A tailored matching service like this is as much a comfort to the egg donors as it is to egg recipients.

Kira, an Altrui egg donor, says “​​The idea of donating to a particular, carefully matched person/couple rather than just an egg bank was something that made egg donation with Altrui right for me, as well as tons of support they offered – I knew I wouldn’t be alone in this journey.”

With an egg donation agency, both the egg donor and egg donor recipient are supported at every step of the process. You won’t have direct contact with your egg donor as the agency will facilitate finding a match and sharing information. So what information will you find out about your egg donor?

Donor information shared

Across the world, donor egg banks differ in how much information the egg recipient receives about the egg donor.  When Altrui suggest an egg donor match, this information will be shared with you:

  • Details of her physical characteristics.
  • Insight into her background.
  • Whether she has any children. 
  • A personal profile, written by your potential egg donor.

Where possible, you’ll also receive a photograph of the egg donor as a baby or a child (up to the age of six).

After being offered a potential egg donor, you can choose to accept the match or reject them and request another egg donor be found. Once a match is made, the egg donor’s treatment begins (because Altrui uses fresh eggs for egg donation).

“I have donated my eggs and it was an incredibly calm and easy process… Any questions or concerns I had, [Altrui] were right there to explain and ease my nerves. They were incredibly warm and welcoming. ​​Knowing I have been able to help a couple start their own family is probably going to be the best experience I will ever have in life ❤️.”

 – Remarks Abbie, an egg donor for Altrui.
Fertility Help

To find out more about how egg donation works (and have other FAQs answered), click here.

Cost-effectiveness of Altrui

With egg banks in the UK, patients going through fertility treatment tend to purchase a set number of eggs for treatment and often, other donor egg recipients will also receive some of the eggs from the donor. Unlike donor egg banks, the team at Altrui carefully matches one egg donor with an egg donor recipient and the recipient receives all of the donor’s eggs.

This process of receiving all the donor’s eggs has several benefits:

  • Improves the chances of IVF success.
  • Increases the likelihood of genetically-related siblings.
  • It is often more cost-effective because remaining eggs can be used for future fertility treatment.

Research has shown that IVF cycles using fresh donor eggs have higher success rates than cycles using frozen donor eggs. One reason for this is that some frozen eggs do not survive the thawing process because eggs are so fragile (despite this being an advanced aspect of fertility treatment). Using fresh eggs to create embryos doesn’t require fragile eggs to freeze and thaw, rather, more robust embryos are frozen after the fresh eggs are fertilised.

Lisa* used Altrui egg donation for her fertility treatment and felt much more secure using fresh eggs than frozen donor eggs. As all the donor’s eggs are passed to one recipient, “you don’t have all your hope riding on this one little [egg] that you hope will become a baby,” she notes.

Depending on the number of donor eggs that fertilise, you may decide to freeze embryos for future fertility treatment, such as another attempt at IVF. At Altrui, 81% of donor egg recipients have blastocysts to freeze which bypasses the need to choose another egg donor in the future (saving you time and money). Another benefit of using donor eggs (not through a donor egg bank) is that it increases the chances of genetically-related siblings. 

I would 100% recommend Altrui to anyone thinking about becoming an egg donor, they have made my entire experience truly amazing and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to help change someone’s life by donating.

– Emma, an Altrui egg donor writes.

You may find that using an egg donor agency is more cost-effective. This is because donor egg banks retrieve eggs from their donors and store them ready for purchase. If other people purchase the donated eggs, the only way to receive eggs from the same donor is for the donor to go through the egg collection process again. Having an additional round of egg collection is costly. 

When an egg donation agency matches an egg donor and a recipient, this one-to-one matching means all the eggs collected from one round of egg collection go to the recipient. Considering the average egg collection yields around 15 eggs, you will most likely have more than enough embryos to give you the opportunity of more than one treatment from that single donation. Therefore, using an egg donation agency for fertility treatment can save you money in the long term.

*Names have been changed.

Understanding the difference between a donor egg bank and an egg donation agency will help you to make the decision that feels right for you and your family-building efforts.

If you’re interested in using Altrui donor eggs, click here to register your interest. Alternatively, to register to become an egg donor with Altrui, click here.

Sign up for the FHH weekly newsletter here to find out more expert advice about donor conception and fertility treatment.

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