Egg Donation vs. Adoption: Which is Right for You?
When you first decided to have a family, you may not have envisioned needing the help of a doctor. However, if you’ve received a diagnosis that has impacted your fertility or if you’re in a same-sex relationship, the good news is you have many paths to parenthood that you can explore. In this blog, we’re going to look at two options in particular: donor eggs and adoption. There are similarities and differences to each, pros and cons, varying timelines and many aspects to consider with each option. Below we will provide you with a high-level overview so you can decide which one is best for you, your partner, and your family building goals.
Pros of egg donation
There are many reasons someone may pursue egg donation. If a woman is over the age of 42 years old, has been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (POF) or diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), or if you’re in a same-sex male couple, using donor eggs can help you have a child. Below is a list of some of the pros to using an egg donor:
As a woman:
- You will be able to experience pregnancy first-hand.
- You will be able to control the lifestyle aspects during the pregnancy while the baby develops (adoption would not provide this option).
- If you have a male-partner and his sperm is used, the child is biologically his which you both may prefer.
- You will be able to experience childbirth.
- You will be able to experience breastfeeding, which can be a lovely and beautiful time to bond with your baby.
As a same-sex male couple, using an egg donor means one of you can be genetically tied to the child if either of you choose to be the sperm source.
Cons of egg donation
- Some women are not always comfortable with not being genetically related to her child. That is something you would need to consider for yourself.
- Depending on your criteria, ethnic background, etc., it may be difficult to find the match you are looking for, making the process longer than you would hope.
- You might not get pregnant the first time, so you need to be aware that just because you’re using “healthy” eggs, it can still take time and money.
- Depending which route you take (using a donor egg bank, a fresh donor or a shared donor), you should consider the potential costs involved. More on this in the cost section below!
Pros of adoption
While many have a wonderful experience with adoption, it can also be a long and emotional process for both you and the child you’re adopting. Below, we review some of the pros and cons to consider before embarking down the adoption journey.
If you pursue a closed option, some of the pros are:
- The child you’re adopting will be protected from a potentially unfit birth parent.
- There will be a sense of closure for all involved as there will be no continued relationship with the birth family.
If you pursue an open option, some of the pros are:
- The child will be able to have a relationship with their birth parent if either would like.
- The child and/or you will be able to have any answers to questions about their family background.
Pros of adoption in general:
- Help a child and a birth mother.
- Neither you or your partner will feel like one has a genetic tie and the other doesn’t.
Cons of adoption
If you pursue a closed option, some of the cons are:
- Concerns that the birth mother/parents may change their mind.
- You’ll potentially have a limited medical history and/or limited history in general of the child you’re adopting.
- The child you’re adopting may have some identity issues or become preoccupied with their adoption and/or history.
If you pursue an open option, some of the pros are:
- The birth parent and/or the child may not agree on whether they want to have a relationship.
- The birth parent and child may not get along with one another.
- The birth parent may not be in a stable, healthy environment.
Potential cons of adoption in general:
- Adoption overall can be a long and challenging process.
- Some adopted children may experience emotional problems or go through issues like depression over being adopted.
- Depending on the situation and background of the child you are adopting, they may have medical or psychological conditions you need to ask yourself if you’re equipped and able to assist with.
Timeline comparison between egg donation and adoption
When pursuing either egg donation or adoption, the timeline is dependent on many varying factors, so it can be difficult to provide an exact start and finish date for either. Below are details on the estimated timeline of each process and an idea of what it entails.
The egg donation timeline
Once you decide you are going to use an egg donor, one of the very first steps is picking a donor. Some want the donor to have similar physical characteristics, ethnicity, religion or hobbies. It depends on the specific preferences of you and your partner.
If you’re doing a fresh cycle, you would have to synchronize your menstrual cycle with your donor. If you’re using a frozen donor egg, this would not be a factor and would shorten your timeline. Another factor would be if you’re using a surrogate and an egg donor, which would also impact your timeline as well.
With a fresh cycle, the eggs would be retrieved, fertilized and any resulting embryo(s) would be transferred to the intended mother or gestational carrier’s uterus. Approximately two weeks after that, a pregnancy test would be taken.
The longest part of this process would most likely be the matching process of an egg donor (and surrogate if you will be using one) but the actual fertility treatment process, once that is finalized, can take anywhere from four to six weeks.
The adoption timeline
An adoption timeline is not as easy to breakdown because there are several paths you can take with adoption. In addition to the open and closed adoption options, there are domestic, international and foster adoption. Here are the basic steps:
- Choose an adoption service agency and/or provider, which can take a few months.
- Complete a home study and collect necessary legal documents to pursue being adoptive parents. This can also take anywhere from six to nine months.
- If you’re pursuing a domestic adoption, you will begin the matching process with an expectant mother. If you’re pursuing international adoption, you would need to receive a child referral, which is a needed medical document. This can take several months, up to two years.
- You will be matched with a child and they will be placed in your care. This can take anywhere from months to years.
- You will then finalize your adoption. This process can be a year or two.
Overall, the adoption journey would be anywhere from a year to three years.
Cost comparison between egg donation and adoption
When it comes to using a donor egg, this would depend on if you’re using a fresh donor egg, a frozen donor egg or what is known as a “shared donor”. You also have to take into consideration potential donor fees, the cost of the IVF process, the embryo transfer, any prescribed medications necessary, and embryo freezing storage. Costs can range anywhere from $37,000 to $65,000, based on varying services, fees and medical expenses but again, every cycle, circumstance and clinic are different so it’s best to ask questions and get specific details before moving ahead with using a donor egg.
The cost of adoption can be costly and much like using an egg donor, there are many different factors that can impact the financial amount. If you pursue using a domestic adoption, it may include costs for the birth parents. For international adoption, you would have to factor in travel costs. There are legal fees, agency fees and court costs. On average, costs can range anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 and up depending which adoption path you take.
If you’re still debating your options, we have another blog you can review called, “Surrogacy v. Adoption” but as always, we want to help support you as you review all of your family building options. Navigating surrogacy, adoption, fertility treatment and using third-party reproduction can be overwhelming. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at anytime as we are here to make your goals conceivable!