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Would-be parents who want to work with an egg donor, but who don't have the $30,000 or so in-vitro fertilization costs, have some hope. Many fertility centers give their recipient patients the option of splitting the cost of receiving an egg donation with another couple.

“It’s really great for the younger patients who haven’t had a chance to really acquire any finances," says Dr. Bruce Rose of Infertility Solutions, P.C., a clinic in Allentown, Pa."It gives them the chance to have a child not otherwise possible.”

Sharing Means Saving
This process can save patients up to 50% of the costs in this step in the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) process. In some cases what could typically cost $30,000 to $40,000 can come down in price to $15,000.

Other fertility treatment discounts are available, too. Dr. Carlos E. Soto-Albors, senior partner at the Northern California Fertility Medical Center in Roseville, Calif., is making IVF more affordable for patients by decreasing the cost each time they have the procedure, whether it is because they did not conceive the first time or because they want a second child.

“If they wait a year or two [to save additional monies for a second child] it will hurt their chance of getting pregnant,” he says.

Even With Fewer Eggs, Success Rates Are Similar
According to Soto-Albors, the most obvious drawback of sharing an egg donor is that each couple only gets half of the total oocytes.
Typically, when eggs are harvested, doctors will pick the healthiest two or three to turn into zygotes and implant into the mother. In a single-donor program, that can leave up to 10 eggs that can be frozen for use in the future if the procedure was unsuccessful or they want a second child. 

But Soto-Albors says couples who share have a comparable conception rate as with those who do not share an egg donor.

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“In 2008, we did 39 embryo transfers on the non-shared and 25 of those got pregnant,” he says. “That comes out to 64%.”

In the shared program, they implanted 11 women and seven got pregnant. That's an identical 64% success rate.

At Soto-Albors's practice, patients in the non-shared program pay $24,725, and those in the shared pay $16,775, but these numbers vary by clinic.

“When we started it years ago, I was expecting the success rate of the shared program to be smaller,” says Soto-Albors. But in the 10 years he’s been offering the program, the rates have only differed by, at most, 5%.

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