You are likely aware that payment of egg donors, sperm donors, and gestational surrogates is forbidden by Federal legislation in Canada. However, there are still women who are having egg donor cycles in Canada. How could that be?
Some women have what we refer to as altruistic or known donor egg cycles. That means that the egg donor is doing this without financial remuneration. As long as the donor is not being paid, there is nothing that prevents an egg donor cycle from being performed in Canada. In such cases, it's usually the woman's sister, cousin, niece, or close friend who is the donor. For the majority of women, however, this still isn't a viable choice. For these women, their only choice is having their egg donor cycles in the USA or some other foreign country.
Well, for those of you who are interested in undergoing an anonymous egg donor cycle without having to leave BC, we are offering an alternative. In the next few weeks, will begin offering a "frozen donor egg program." These eggs are purchased from a very reliable egg bank in the USA. There are no laws against importing eggs purchased from an egg bank in the USA, provided all of the screening requirements for the donors, as set out by Health Canada, are met. This is the same way that we have been bringing frozen donor sperm samples into Canada for many years. In fact, as far as sperm is concerned, virtually all fertility clinics in Canada import their frozen sperm samples from the USA and now we can do the same for eggs.
A woman needing donor eggs will be able to select an appropriate egg donor from among the more than 60 donors that have been fully screened and have eggs already frozen in the egg bank which is located in the USA. More donors are being added to the list almost daily. Our nurse co-ordinator for this program will lead you through the process of how to review the donors that are available and what the treatment provides and involves.
What are the advantages to using frozen donor eggs and what are the downsides? The advantages are obvious. You don't have to travel to the USA or some other country for donated eggs, so there are no travel costs, time away from your work, or out-of-town living expenses. So, in most cases, the final cost of the treatment is about half of what it would be if you had it done in the USA or elsewhere. There are some downsides as well that you should consider. Although the success rate with these frozen donor eggs is relatively high, it isn't quite as high as with fresh donor eggs. Also, fresh donor egg cycles often result in extra embryos which can be frozen for future use (i.e. to try again if it doesn't work or create a sibling). This also occurs in frozen donor egg cycles, but not as often.
If you are interested in an egg donor cycle or know someone who is, contact your Olive physician for more information. If you are not an Olive patient, you can contact us directly for more information.
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Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).
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