Many couples struggling with infertility are having a hard time getting pregnant because of an egg quality issue they can't seem to overcome. Egg donation is one way to help these couples fulfill their dream of having a baby of their own. Many egg donors consider the positive emotional impact of egg donation a valued addition to their compensation, citing the knowledge that they've helped someone have a family as highly rewarding.
For any couple or individual who cannot use their own eggs, an egg donor can help make the dream of a baby come true.
What is an Egg Donor?
An egg donor is a young person, usually between the ages of 19 and 30, who donates their healthy eggs to an individual or couple known as the intended parents for them to use in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle in the hopes of having a baby. The intended parent will carry the pregnancy that results from the donor eggs or they will have a gestational carrier (surrogate) carry the pregnancy. Donors typically receive financial compensation for their egg donation, with the amounts varying by area, clinic, and individual legal agreements.
Egg Donation FAQ
If you're considering becoming an egg donor for couple fighting with infertility, you probably have multiple questions on how to donate eggs. Read on to learn about the process through these frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Question #1: How Do I Become an Egg Donor?
The requirements will vary depending on the clinic or agency you apply to. In general, to become an egg donor, you'll need first to complete a family medical history form. This will be a thorough questionnaire on your and your family's medical history. Most clinics or agencies will also want a recent photograph submitted. A reproductive specialist will review your information, and if approved, you'll be contacted to set up a consultation.
At Advanced Fertility Care (AFC), to qualify as an egg donor, we are looking for young women between the ages of 19 and 30 who reside within the Phoenix metropolitan region and have dependable transportation to our office. Additionally, candidates must be non-smokers, abstain from psychoactive or recreational drugs, have no past issues with substance abuse, and have not been diagnosed with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea in the past 12 months. Furthermore, responsibility, ability to follow instructions, and meeting height and weight requirements are also important factors considered during the screening process.
You'll receive in-depth explanations of the egg donation process, including required medications and lab testing. You may be required to meet with a psychologist to discuss the psychological aspects of being an egg donor. You'll receive instruction on properly administering the required medications, some of which may include self-injection.
Question #2: Is Egg Donation Safe?
There are risks associated with any medical procedure, but there are currently no documented long-term risks involved in egg donation. There is a potential for side effects from the medication used to stimulate egg production and from the retrieval process itself, but the risks associated are low. Before a person can begin the egg donation process, they receive consultations with qualified doctors who provide specific information on the possible risks.
Question #3: What is the Time Commitment for Donating Eggs?
After acceptance as an egg donor, the process doesn't usually begin until you're matched with a recipient. Once that happens, the time requirements will usually involve up to six or more clinic visits over a two-week period. This may vary between individual clinics. The fertility clinic you choose will cover the time commitment in your pre-donor consultation. You'll need to arrange time off from work or school on the day of the actual retrieval because you'll require sedation for the procedure.
Question #4: As an Egg Donor, Will My Identity Remain Anonymous?
Donors generally fall into two categories: known to the recipients or unknown (anonymous.) Whether your identity as an egg donor is revealed to the intended parent(s) will depend on the clinic's policy or the agency involved. With recent advances in genetic and DNA testing, and its widespread use, it is no longer possible to assure our egg donors that you will remain anonymous, even if you yourself don't do one of these DNA tests. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends a discussion of the considerations for egg donation with a mental health professional before treatment begins.
Question #5: Can I Donate My Eggs More Than Once?
There are no strict rules governing how many times a person can donate eggs, but programs and state laws often limit the number of repeat donations. On average, this limit is a maximum of six times. The reason for this limit is to curtail the number of children possibly created from a single donor. Since these children will be genetic half-siblings, the limit on donations is to decrease the already small chance they could meet as adults and develop a relationship. This hypothetical situation would raise health concerns for their potential offspring.
Question #6: Will I Be Compensated for My Egg Donation?
Egg donors are typically compensated for their donation, and medical expenses are at no cost. The amount of compensation varies widely, depending on the clinic or agency used. Payment is usually not made until the completion of a donation cycle. You can request a copy of the results of pre-donation medical screening tests for your own records or give it to your primary care physician for his/her records.
At AFC, egg donors' compensation starts at $5,000. Donors who participate multiple times can earn up to $30,000 by donating eggs up to six times.
Question #7: What Are My Legal Responsibilities to Any Child Born?
When you sign the documents agreeing to donate your eggs, you give up all rights and responsibilities associated with or connected to the eggs retrieved from you. You have no legal responsibilities for or rights to any child born because of the use of your donated eggs.
Question #8: Does Egg Donation Cause Early Menopause?
No, there's no evidence that donating eggs or using the medications required for egg donation triggers premature menopause. Human ovaries contain a large number of eggs at the time of puberty — between 400,000 and 500,000. Only 400 to 500 of these actually develop to the point of ovulation. That leaves, at the least, over 399,000 "spare" eggs.
In a natural cycle, you only ovulate one egg but there are other eggs that could potentially have been ovulated that month if they had been given a chance. In any egg donation cycle, the eggs we obtain are eggs that would have "died" that month anyway, so we are not depleting your egg supply but rather rescuing eggs that would have been lost.
Question #9: Does Egg Donation Cause Infertility?
Egg donation has been possible for over 25 years. Studies over the years have shown no increase in infertility among those who donate eggs over those who don't. During a person's normal monthly cycle, only one egg is released during ovulation. The rest that matures during that cycle becomes non-viable and no longer available for fertilization. The egg retrieval process simply removes the eggs that would not be utilized during that month's cycle.
Ready to Be an Egg Donor?
If you're ready to give the gift of parenthood to someone else, apply to become an egg donor today.
Reach out to our team at Advanced Fertility Care if you have any questions about egg donation.