Third-party reproduction, or conception, refers to the use of donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos or gestational carriers. The donors may be known or anonymous. Patients will consult with one of our physicians to determine if one of these approaches would be suitable for their situation.

Before proceeding, patients should be fully aware of the social, psychological, legal and ethical issues associated with such options. Psychological counselling with a licensed counsellor is mandatory. All participants in this process require infectious disease screening and Legal Counsel is required in many cases that involve third party conception.

Donor Eggs

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is a fertility treatment option for people who for various reasons are unable to become pregnant using their own eggs.

The use of donor eggs has become much more common, particularly in those over 40 years of age. This procedure has a very high success rate and it gives many people the ability to carry and deliver a child when they otherwise would have been unable to do so.


One of the most common causes of infertility is low egg count or quality. You might consider donor eggs if you:

  • Have a low egg number (also known as a low ovarian reserve)

  • Have had cancer treatment that has damaged the ovaries

  • Have premature ovarian insufficiency

  • Have severe endometriosis

  • Biologically require donor eggs

  • Are in your 40’s


If you are using a known egg donor, the donor will undergo an IVF cycle (medication to grow multiple eggs will be used, the eggs will be removed and fertilized with sperm). The resulting embryo will be transferred into the uterus to achieve a pregnancy.

There are three ways to obtain donated eggs with Mount Sinai Fertility::

  • Through a known egg donor. This is someone you know, like a friend or family member, who is under 35 years of age and is healthy.

  • Anonymous frozen donor eggs that can be imported to Mount Sinai Fertility from the USA. We work exclusively with California Cryobank, one of the world’s largest and most successful donor egg banks.


Egg banks provide information on the egg donor’s race, height, weight, personal history, academic performance, and many other demographic details. Also, depending on your preference, you may choose to see photos of the donor and read an essay they have written about themselves.

Donor Sperm

What is donor sperm?

Some individuals or couples may require the use of donor sperm in order to achieve a pregnancy. Mount Sinai Fertility accepts donor sperm from several national certified sperm banks where donors are appropriately screened and the sperm is quarantined.

Donor sperm is commonly needed by:

  • Single people

  • Those who biologically do not have sperm

  • Those who have severe male* factor infertility

*This includes people who do not identify as male but who have conditions such as   abnormal sperm parameters or other urologic conditions

Canadian-compliant sperm distributors include:


Sperm donors can be selected from the cryobank’s website. Sperm donors are anonymous, though some donors have consented to having their identity released to children conceived of their specimens when they reach the age of 21. Many donors provide a childhood picture. The donor database offers personal demographics (i.e., hair color, height, race, etc.), as well as essays written by the donor. In some cases, recipients can view if previous pregnancies have resulted from that donor’s sperm. While short profiles are open to the public, the extended profiles require a subscription.

In the case of a known/designated donor (i.e., a friend or family member), in accordance with Health Canada and the Processing and Distribution of Semen for Assisted Conception Regulations, certain requirements are mandatory before the donated sperm can be used. This includes an infertility work-up as well as a 6-month quarantine of the sperm to screen for infectious diseases. Mount Sinai Fertility also requires a counselling consultation for all individuals undertaking third party reproduction.


After the donor is selected and/or the quarantine period for a known donor has passed, the cryobank sends the frozen sperm sample(s) directly to us, where we will thaw the sperm and analyze it in our Andrology Laboratory. From there, individuals undergo an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle using the donated sperm.

Embryo Donation

People who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) may have surplus or extra embryos that they wish to donate. At this time, Mount Sinai Fertility is not offering this service. However, patients who wish to consider embryo donation can speak to their fertility care provider about their options.

Gestational Carrier

A gestational carrier (GC), also known as a gestational surrogate, is a person who agrees to carry a baby through a pregnancy for an individual or couple. The GC provides a host uterus but does not contribute any genetic material (eggs) towards the creation of the embryo. The embryo is created from eggs from one of the intended parents or an egg donor and fertilized with sperm from one of the intended parents or a sperm donor.


Using a Gestational Carrier is an option if you wish to have a child but are unable to do so because of:

  • Not having a uterus

  • Having a uterus that is abnormally shaped, has a thin endometrial lining, had been scarred, or other such conditions

  • Medical conditions that would make pregnancy risky to your life or the life of the fetus

  • Recurrent IVF failure

  • Biologic inability to conceive or bear a child


If you have determined that a GC is appropriate for you then the next thing would be to identify a potential GC*.

  • Once identified, the GC will undergo a medical assessment (which includes screening lab work, a transvaginal ultrasound and a uterine cavity assessment).

  • After the medical assessment and screening is completed, the intended parent(s) and GC meet with a licensed counsellor.

  • Following the counselling consultation, legal counsel is required in order to complete a legal agreement between the intended parent(s) and the GC.

  • If the intended parent(s) will be contributing eggs through IVF, the IVF cycle may be timed to the embryo transfer cycle.

*Please note:

The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR Act 2004) prohibits several surrogacy related activities. Surrogacy itself is not banned, but payment of consideration or the offer of payment to a surrogate is a prohibited act. Therefore, Mount Sinai Fertility does not facilitate finding a GC nor do we work with surrogacy agencies.