Explore This Treatment Program

Many patients who encounter problems conceiving choose to explore alternative paths to parenthood. Some of these paths require a third party, which is why we have grouped together services for both egg and sperm donation and gestational carries under one program.

  • Sperm donation: A patient is inseminated (or has their own eggs fertilized) with previously frozen sperm from a donor or partner. Sperm can be obtained from an anonymous donor via a sperm bank or from a known sperm donor.
  • Egg donation: Assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, make it possible for a patient to receive an egg that has been removed from an egg donor and fertilized in a laboratory. Donated eggs are generally fertilized with the recipient's partner's sperm, although donor sperm is needed in some instances.
  • Gestational Carrier: An embryo can be transferred into a gestational carrier’s uterus, who will then carry the baby until birth for the intended parents. The embryo transferred must have at least one genetic link to the intended parents (either the egg source or sperm source).

The Third Party Reproduction Program welcomes all couples where natural conception may not be possible, including:

  • Single patients
  • Male/female couples
  • Same-sex couples

Support & Patient Education

We realize that all third party reproduction methods entail complex emotional and ethical considerations, so we provide support and education every step of the way. Our team includes a social worker who can provide counseling and support throughout your journey.

What to Expect in Third Party Reproduction

Whether you have already chosen a course of action or need guidance in decision-making, our Fertility Center clinicians will support you in your journey. We can provide you with information and will tailor your treatment to best suit your needs.

What to Expect: Sperm Donation

The Fertility Center is not involved in the process of donor recruitment or collecting sperm for donation. Instead, we leverage our relationships with a select number of sperm banks who screen donors to ensure patient safety and collect the sperm for use at our clinic.

If the donor is anonymous, testing takes place at the sperm bank. If the donor is known, testing may occur at the sperm bank or Mass General. Once the patient is inseminated—or the eggs are fertilized, and the resulting embryo(s) are transferred—the patient continues to receive care from their primary fertility physician at Mass General.

What to Expect: Egg Donation

Patients pursuing egg donation may select a known or anonymous donor. Our team can lend our insight to help you evaluate various egg donor agencies and screen potential donors.

Whether the egg donor is known or anonymous, she will undergo testing for communicable diseases required by the FDA. The process of egg retrieval involves a minor surgical procedure for the donor. We then perform in vitro fertilization using partner or donor sperm before transferring a viable embryo into the recipient's uterus.

Egg donation is a complex process. We have an egg donor coordinator on staff to handle the logistical aspects, such as interacting with agencies, educating the couple on potential costs, making travel arrangements for the donor and other tasks.

What to Expect: Gestational Carrier

Using a gestational carrier entails many of the same steps as egg donation. If the transferred embryo was created with both intended parent’s gametes, both intended parents will undergo FDA testing. This helps to ensure that no communicable diseases will be transferred to the gestational carrier.

Success with Safety in Mind

Our commitment to patient safety is evident throughout the process. We avoid overstimulating egg donors with excessive medication, which could help us harvest more eggs but also could lead to a host of illnesses. Our high level of technical skill gives us the advantage of using just a few eggs. And our preferred practice for single-embryo transfer protects the recipient from the risk of multiple births.

We have excellent donor egg success rates. For details on these and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) rates, please visit the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See our success rates

We also understand some couples' desire to have enough embryos to freeze and use at a later time. 

Learn more about our Cryopreservation Program