Donor egg IVF success rates

In a conventional IVF, a woman takes fertility medications to stimulate egg production in her own ovaries. However, there are times when donor egg IVF is recommended or required. Knowing how you can maximize the  donor egg IVF success rates and minimize risks during your pregnancy can save you stress and money.

Eggs or embryos, fresh or frozen?

A donor IVF comes in a few forms:

  • Fresh donor egg, fertilized, and transferred
  • Frozen donor egg, thawed, fertilized, and transferred
  • Frozen donor embryos thawed, and transferred
  • Fresh donor embryo, transferred

According to the latest reports by The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fresh donor eggs provide the best live births rate, which is the most important IVF outcome indicator.

Since SART calculates live births based on cycles (including cancelled cycles), it is lower than the rate given by CDC, which bases its calculations on the number of transfers. Nevertheless, the odds of success with fresh donor eggs is roughly 50-50. This means that half of the time, a fresh donor egg recipient can end up with a baby in her arms in 40 weeks.

Fresh donor eggsFrozen donor eggsFrozen donor embryosFresh donor embryos
Live births rate per cycles48.9%39.3%42.4%40.4%
Implantation rate per cycles54.8%45.7%47.0%39.1%
Term delivery per live births74.7%75.5%77.4%75.4%

*SART 2017. A cycle is counted if an egg retrieval is performed or if the cycle is cancelled before the egg retrieval.

Fresh donor eggsFrozen donor eggsFrozen donor embryosFresh donor embryos
Live births rate per transfers54.6%44.9%44.8%42.7%
Pregnancy rate per transfers65.0%54.7%55.8%53.1%
Implantation rate per transfers53.9%41.9%46.1%38.4%
% term, normal weight and singleton live births per transfers32.5%28.1%29.4%26.8%

*CDC 2016. A transfer is counted, but a cancelled cycle is not.

Despite differences in the ways of calculating success rates, SART and CDC’s datasets indicate fresh donor eggs being the best option, followed by frozen donor embryos.

Donor or non-donor IVF?

According to the 2016 National Summary Report on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) by CDC, donor eggs resulted in significantly more pregnancies, live births and single-infant live births as compared to frozen non-donor eggs.

This reflects the benefits of using donor eggs in couples that have difficulties conceiving due to:

  • Damaged ovaries post-cancer treatment
  • Congenital anomaly with ovaries
  • Repeated IVF failure
  • Low ovarian reserves
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency/ failure
  • Advanced maternal age, and thus poor egg quality
  • Genetic disease risk with the female
  • Gay couple having a child with a surrogate

However, it is important to note that this comparison is not carried out in the same patients using both donor and non-donor eggs. Thus, the benefits of non-donor eggs may apply to the patient groups listed above but not others that have more mild infertility problems.

Does recipient, donor, and partner age matter?

You probably know that age is one of the most important factors in fertility and infertility. Whose age is important when it comes to donor IVF? Recipient, donor, partner or all of them?

A large population study published on the Journal of Human Reproduction concluded that the donor’s age has the largest impact on pregnancy and live birth rates following fresh egg recipient cycles. Choosing a donor aged <35 years would increase the chance of pregnancy and live delivery for older recipients. In contrast, donor aged >35 results in significantly lower pregnancy and live birth rates.

This is because egg quality diminishes drastically after the age of 35, making it less likely to have a genetically healthy embryo that will implant and result in an ongoing pregnancy.

If you and your partner are approaching or in your 40s, you may be relieved to hear that older recipients/partners with younger donors do not have a poorer pregnancy outcome. Having said that, you may be at increased risks for certain pregnancy complications.

AgePregnancy rateLive birth rate
Recipient’s age (years)<3534.3%25.6%
35-3933.7%25.4%
40-4433.7%25.6%
≥4536.2%25.8%
Donor’s age (years)<3035.4%27.4%
30-3437.3%28.1%
35-3932.2%23.4%
≥4022.7%13.5%
Partner’s age (years)<3536.2%28.6%
35-3935.7%26.4%
40-4434.3%24.8%
≥4532.7%24.7%

* Want et al., 2012, using 3889 fresh donor egg cycles.

How improve donor egg IVF success rates

  1. Choose fresh donor eggs as opposed to frozen donor eggs, fresh and frozen donor embryos.
  2. Use eggs from younger donors(<30 best). You may also want to check that the donor is all cleared from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and genetic diseases.
  3. Perform HLA-typing of donor and recipient in order to select the most compatible donor.

In an organ transport, different immune makeups of different people can result in an organ transplant rejection. It is a similar case when carrying a baby, except that in a natural pregnancy, the mother’s body has mechanisms that prevent maternal immune response against the fetus. However, things are more complicated for with an embryo from donor IVF, who carries foreign genetics from two strangers.

A systematic review revealed that donor IVF pregnancies put the mother at increased risk of:

  • Maternal morbidity
  • regnancy-induced hypertension (eg. Preeclampsia)
  • Placental pathology
  • Caesarean section deliveries
  • Post-partum haemorrhage
  • First trimester vaginal bleeding

Therefore, it is worthwhile to perform HLA-typing to find your best match.

  1. Check that your endometrial thickness > 8mm

A thick endometrium (uterine lining) is critical to support an embryo’s growth, which can be determined with an ultrasound in your IVF clinic. It has been shown that a thickness <8 mm was associated with a significantly lower probability of pregnancy.

  1. Keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) <30

Your weight makes a huge difference to your likelihood to suffer a range of pregnancy complications. Obesity (as defined internationally by a BMI > 30) has been associated with lower pregnancy rates.  Thus, implementing lifestyle changes that decrease your BMI to under 30 can benefit your donor IVF pregnancy.

  1. Avoid the use of GnRH agonists

Lastly, GnRH agonists are used in cycling women to favour donor-recipient synchronization at the moment of donation. But the use of GnRH agonists could negatively impact your pregnancy rates. Therefore, you might want to check with your fertility specialist whether you are prescribed with GnRH agonists.

Donor Egg IVF Success Rates by Clinic

*The following IVF success rate reports are base on the latest CDC data published in 2019 with 20 or more transfers.

Fresh Donor Egg IVF Success Rates Using Fresh Embryos, Fresh egg

Clinic NameFresh Egg Live BirthsFresh Egg Singleton Live BirthsFresh Egg Total Transfers
ADVANCED FERTILITY CENTER OF CHICAGO80.065.735
HOUSTON IVF DBA77.454.831
UCSF CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH76.973.152
DALLAS-FORT WORTH FERTILITY ASSOCIATES75.869.733
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA73.973.923
SAN DIEGO FERTILITY CENTER71.150.038
TEXAS FERTILITY CENTER70.470.427
THE ADVANCED IVF INSTITUTE70.065.020
UTAH FERTILITY CENTER69.656.523
SANTA MONICA FERTILITY69.065.529
Sum 311
Avg = 73.4 Avg = 64.5 Avg = 31.1

Fresh Donor Egg IVF Success Rates Using Fresh Embryos, Frozen egg

Clinic NameFrozen egg Live BirthsFrozen egg Singleton Live BirthsFrozen egg Total Transfers
ADVANCED FERTILITY CENTER OF CHICAGO71.752.853
REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCE CENTER OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA71.461.921
IVFMD/SOUTH FLORIDA INSTITUTE FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE63.256.676
REPRODUCTIVE CARE CENTER60.654.533
REPRODUCTIVE RESOURCE CENTER OF GREATER KANSAS CITY60.056.730
ZOUVES FERTILITY CENTER59.145.522
DAMIEN FERTILITY PARTNERS56.044.025
SEATTLE REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE55.849.0104
WEILL CORNELL MEDICINE54.145.961
IVF NEW ENGLAND52.950.034
Sum 459
Avg = 60.5 Avg = 51.7 Avg = 45.9

Frozen Donor Egg IVF Success Rates Using Frozen Embryo

Clinic NameFrozen Embryo Live BirthsFrozen Embryo Singleton Live BirthsNumber of transfers
REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASSOCIATES OF PENNSYLVANIA81.076.221
OVERLAKE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, INC., PS79.279.224
FERTILITY INSTITUTE OF HAWAII78.378.323
ORM FERTILITY75.052.8360
CCRM MINNEAPOLIS72.255.636
POMA FERTILITY70.866.724
THE CENTER FOR FERTILITY AND GYNECOLOGY69.849.153
CONCEPTIONS REPRODUCTIVE ASSOCIATES OF COLORADO69.152.755
SANTA MONICA FERTILITY68.460.576
NORTH CAROLINA CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE68.245.522
Sum 694
Avg = 73.2 Avg = 61.7 Avg = 69.4

Donor Egg IVF Success Rates Using Donated embryo

Clinic NameDonated Embryo Live BirthsDonated Embryo Singleton Live BirthsNumber of transfers
ORM FERTILITY69.455.149
DALLAS-FORT WORTH FERTILITY ASSOCIATES57.153.628
REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASSOCIATES OF PHILADELPHIA56.556.523
REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY ASSOCIATES55.952.934
REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ASSOCIATES OF NEW JERSEY51.148.945
PACIFIC NORTHWEST FERTILITY AND IVF SPECIALISTS50.050.032
FERTILITY TREATMENT CENTER, PC50.036.422
SEATTLE REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE48.244.656
IDAHO CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE48.133.327
NASHVILLE FERTILITY CENTER47.444.738
Sum 354
Avg = 53.4 Avg = 47.6 Avg = 35.4