Egg donation vs. Gestational Surrogacy
Egg donation and gestational surrogacy often get confused as the same thing. They do have some similarities. They are both ways women can help others have a family of their own. They both involve taking supplemental hormones throughout the process. They are both a huge gift. They are also very different. Not everyone who qualifies to be a gestational surrogate can donate eggs and vice versa.
A major difference between egg donation and gestational surrogacy is when donating eggs, you are donating your genetic material. You are the biological mother of the children that will be born from that egg donation (they usually retrieve several eggs every donation cycle). You can choose to be anonymous which means the recipient family won’t know you and you won’t know them. They will know a lot about you as far as your medical history, education and family history but they won’t know the specifics that would lead them to finding you. The majority of egg donations are done this way. Gestational surrogacy is when an embryo, not genetically related to the GS, is transferred into her uterus. Gestational surrogates and the intended parents usually have a relationship throughout the process.
Age is also a huge difference between egg donation and gestational surrogacy. So many people say to me, “I’m too old to be a surrogate.” They don’t realize that you can be a surrogate up until age 45 in some cases, although it is harder to find intended parents for surrogate applicants older than 40, it does happen. Most egg donation centers prefer you to be under the age 28-30 because egg quality is known to deteriorate after your 20’s.
The time period and compensation is quite different between egg donation and gestational surrogacy. Egg donation is usually a 6 month commitment with a compensation between $5,000 and $7,000. Gestational surrogacy is usually a year - 18 month commitment with compensation between $20,000-$50,000 depending on location and surrogacy experience.
Gestational surrogates are often required to have children of their own before becoming a surrogate. This is done for a few reasons. Looking at medical records from previous pregnancies and births shows us how you handle the process and if you are a good, low risk candidate for surrogacy. Also, just like any pregnancy and birth, complications can happen which can cause you to lose the ability to have more children so we want to make sure you are done having children before you become a surrogate. Egg donors are not required to have had their own children but having children does not disqualify you from being an egg donor.
The requirements between the two have some similarities and some differences. You can read about some basic requirements for egg donation here and some basic requirements for gestational surrogacy here.
Whatever you decide is best for you will be appreciated by some lucky intended parents. Giving the gift of a child is the biggest gift you can give to someone.