Third-party reproduction refers to the process of using donated eggs, sperm, embryos or a gestational carrier to help individuals and couples achieve their family-building goals. SGF is a trusted leader in third-party reproduction and provides patients with the treatment needed to find success in growing their families.  

“At SGF, we walk alongside our patients and are proud to make parenthood possible in different ways,” shares SGF physician Dr. Joseph Doyle. “By practicing evidence-based, compassionate reproductive care, we can make personalized treatment plans so that patients can overcome barriers in their family-building journeys.”   

Growing a family via donor sperm, donor eggs, or donor embryos  

Donor sperm  

If patients experience infertility due to a complete lack of sperm, they can often still achieve a pregnancy using donor sperm. SGF refers patients to national certified sperm banks where donors are appropriately screened, and the sperm is quarantined for safety.

Donor sperm is commonly used by: 

  • Single female patients  
  • Same-sex female couples 
  • Heterosexual couples with severe male factor infertility 

After patients select the donor the cryobank sends the frozen sperm sample directly to SGF, where we will thaw and analyze the sperm in our andrology laboratory. From there, patients undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI) or an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle using the donated sperm. Additional frozen sperm specimens, if purchased, will be kept at the cryobank for future use. 

Co-IVF, also known as Reciprocal IVF 

Same-sex female couples may opt to undergo Co-IVF treatment, in which both partners are involved in the treatment process. One partner may use their eggs, along with donor sperm, to create embryos, and the other partner will undergo the embryo transfer and carry the pregnancy.  

Donor egg  

Donor egg treatment is defined as an IVF cycle in which a person uses another person’s eggs (the donor) rather than their own. 

Donor egg treatment is commonly needed by: 

  • Patients unable to use their own eggs 
  • Same-sex male couples 
  • Single male patients  

SGF is among the leading providers of donor egg treatment in the United States, with more than 12,000 babies born from donor eggs. SGF is one of only a few centers that recruits, selects, and prescreens (medically, psychologically, and genetically) its own ready-to-cycle egg donors prior to making them available on the donor registry. SGF offers both fresh and frozen donor eggs.  

Donor embryo 

Becoming the recipient of a donated embryo is a unique and cost-effective alternative to start or grow a family. By using a donated embryo, individuals and couples who might not otherwise have been able, can experience the joys of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. 

Donor embryo treatment is a great option for:  

  • Single female patients who have decreased ovarian function, premature ovarian failure, or genetic abnormalities.  
  • Couples that need donor egg and/or sperm 

SGF offers patients the ability to receive donated embryos from either a known (direct) donor that previously cycled at SGF and has opted to donate their embryos to a known recipient, or an unidentified donor that previously cycled at SGF and has graciously donated their remaining embryos. 

Growing a family via a gestational carrier 

In the case of a gestational carrier, the person carrying the pregnancy is in no way biologically or genetically related to the child they are carrying. Intended parents working with a gestational carrier will undergo the IVF process for egg retrieval or use donor eggs. The egg and the sperm — either from an intended parent or donor sperm — will then be fertilized in the lab and embryos will be frozen. Once a gestational carrier is identified and cleared to proceed, the patient’s physician will transfer the embryo to the gestational carrier. 

A great option for:  

  • Patients who do not have a uterus 
  • Patients with medical conditions that make pregnancy unsafe  
  • Patients who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss 
  • Same sex male couples  
  • Single male patients 

Requirements for being a gestational carrier 

ASRM recommends gestational carriers meet the following criteria: 

  • Between the ages of 21 and 45 
  • Has had a successful term pregnancy, and are in good overall health
  • Has no more than 5 previous vaginal deliveries or 2 previous cesarean deliveries 
  • Has ideally completed their own family 

Learn more about third-party reproduction 

“Whether using donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, or working with a gestational carrier, SGF provides evidence-based care leading to successful outcomes for families grown in many different ways,” shares Dr. Doyle.  

Visit Shady Grove Fertility’s comprehensive resource library for more information on third-party reproduction. To schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist, call SGF’s New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or complete this brief form.       

Medical contribution by Joseph Doyle, M.D.

Joseph Doyle, M.D., is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Doyle is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, for which he has developed education modules and served as an ad hoc reviewer, and the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He sees patients at SGF’s Rockville, Maryland office.