Working With an Egg Donor Agency? 6 Things to Think About in Regard to Its Service Agreement

Asian couple with baby1. Confirm That the Agency Has a Service Agreement

If you need donated eggs to become a parent, one of your options is to work with an egg donor agency. If this is the option you decide to proceed with, it is highly recommended that you confirm that the agency has a Service Agreement, and that you avoid working with one that does not.

2. Understand Its Purpose

The purpose of the Service Agreement is to establish, in writing, the terms of your relationship with the agency, including the fees you will pay to the agency in return for its services. A well drafted Service Agreement should leave no doubt as to what services the agency has agreed to provide to you as recipient and your financial obligations in return for receiving the agency’s services.

3. Pay Close Attention to Its Terms

If you are a heterosexual or lesbian couple or individual you have probably been on a long and difficult journey before you decided to turn the corner to egg donation. If you are a gay couple or individual you are understandably excited about the prospect of having a child who has a genetic connection to you. You might be tempted to forego the step of doing your due diligence with respect to the Service Agreement so that you can move forward with your cycle as soon as possible. That would be a mistake. There are many new egg donor agencies appearing on the scene with each passing day. They are unregulated and some have better credentials and policies than others. Although most agencies are honest, over the years some have acted fraudulently. As a prospective recipient, we urge you to take your time when selecting an egg donor agency, to pay close attention to the terms of its Service Agreement, and to seek the counsel of those who have an understanding of what is “best practice” before signing it.

4. Pay Especially Close Attention to Its Refund Policy

In reviewing an agency’s Service Agreement, pay especially close attention to its Refund Policy. For example, although it happens rarely, some donors back out of the process after matching with prospective recipients and do not proceed with the fertility clinic’s screening process. Some back out at another point in the process. Most donors proceed with the screening process, but some do not pass. Pay close attention to what the Service Agreement says about the circumstances in which your fees will be refunded. Consider what will happen to your fees if the donor backs out of the process or does not pass the screening. Is it the agency’s policy to charge a rematching fee or will you be entitled to select a new donor at no additional charge? If so, how much time will you have in which to do so?

5. Do Not Select a Donor From An Agency’s Database Until You Are Comfortable With Its Service Agreement

Some recipients do not bother to review an agency’s Service Agreement until after they have reviewed its data base and identified a donor that interests them. Egg donor agency policies vary considerably and it would be more prudent to confirm that you are comfortable with an agency’s approach before investing your time and energy in searching its database It would be unfortunate if you were to develop an interest in one of the agency’s donors, and only then realize that one or more of its contract terms do not sit well with you or your attorney. Some agencies are willing to negotiate some of the terms in their standard Service Agreements, but you would be wise to make that determination up front, rather than after you have identified a donor who seems to have the characteristics you desire.

6. Turn to Competent Experts for Guidance

In assessing whether the terms of a Service Agreement are reasonable and appropriate, take the time to determine what is and is not “best practice”. Empowered IVF™ has deep knowledge of this subject and we welcome your questions. Your fertility clinic may also have a good understanding of what policies should reasonably be expected from an egg donor agency. If you are working with a mental health professional who has experience with third party reproduction, he or she may be familiar with standard practice. In addition, we recommend that prospective recipients turn to the non-profit organization, Parents Via Egg Donation (, which provides valuable advice to those contemplating using an egg donor, and to those who already have, and also provides a safe space for recipients to interact and share information and advice with one another. Finally, before you sign a Service Agreement, we strongly encourage you to seek the counsel of an experienced reproductive lawyer. In fact, while most egg donor agencies do not demand that recipients seek legal advice, many Service Agreements state that the recipients have been granted an opportunity to do so.

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