The People

Intended Parent (IP)

Parents from Third-Party Reproduction: Egg/Sperm/Embryo Donation, or Surrogacy.

Adoptive Parents and Birth Mothers

Parents from adoption are adoptive parents. Women who relinquish their child for adoption are birthmothers.

Sperm Donors

Men who donate their sperm to an intended parent(s). Donors are matched through a sperm bank or cryobank. Donors who are willing to be contacted by the child when 18 y/o or older, maintain contact information on The Donor Registry. Donors tend to be in their 20s and 30s, and donate several times (ASRM maximum guideline is 20). Matches are anonymous, with non-anonymous matching beginning to be offered as an option. Sperm donors may also be a friend or family member of the intended parent(s).

Egg Donor–Ovum Donor

Women who donate their eggs to an intended parent(s) for Donor IVF. Donors are matched through an agency or donor program within the IVF clinic. They tend to be in their early 20s, altruistically motivated, financially compensated, matched anonymously (most common) or non-anonymously. Many donors are repeat donors (previously donated). The ASRM guideline for the maximum number of times a donor can donate is six. Ovum donors may also be a friend or family member of the intended parent(s).

Surrogates–Gestational Carriers

Women who carry the pregnancy for an intended parent(s) unable to maintain/carry a pregnancy. Typically, embryos from a couple’s IVF procedure are transferred to the gestational carrier (Gestational Surrogacy.) Sometimes the eggs may be from a donor (Donor Gestational Surrogacy) and/or the sperm may be from a donor. If the procedure used is artificial insemination (as compared to IVF), the eggs of the surrogate are being used (Traditional Surrogacy).

Family Building Options


Adoption can be arranged through an agency or attorney. Options include domestic adoption, international adoption, or fost-adopt. Domestic adoptions are open (meet and establish some relationship with the birthmother), while international adoption is often closed (do not meet birthmother).

Donor Sperm

Sperm from a donor (obtained via sperm bank, friend, or family member) is used for AI, IUI, or IVF.

Donor Egg

Used by women with a diagnosis of poor ovarian reserve, usually related to age. A young woman donates her eggs through IVF. While the donor is on stimulating drugs, the intended parent or recipient is using medication that enhances uterine lining for implantation. Under ideal conditions, clinics quote a 60% -80% success rate (given one fresh and some frozen cycles).

Donor Embryo

Extra frozen embryos from an IVF cycle that a woman or couple has agreed to donate to another woman or couple. These embryos are transferred to the intended parent via IUI.


When unable to carry a pregnancy, a surrogate or gestational carrier agrees to carry the pregnancy for the intended parent. Gestational surrogacy (own eggs) is via IVF, donor gestational surrogacy (donor eggs) is via donor IVF, and traditional surrogacy (eggs of surrogate) is via IUI. Matching is through an agency or by locating a surrogate independently. Friends or family members are also surrogates. Legal contracts are an important part of the process.