Egg donors are women between the ages of 20 – 29 years of age who have been screened to insure good general and reproductive health and psychological stability. Egg donation treatment is always combined with IVF. When a woman’s own eggs will not allow for successful IVF treatment, usually as a result of advanced reproductive age, donor eggs may be substituted.
Normally, a woman produces one mature egg each month and loses several immature eggs; through the use of medications, several follicles, or egg sacs, can be induced to develop mature eggs for retrieval. The process of IVF and egg donation requires that the donor take a series of injectable medications which induce the growth of multiple ovarian follicles. These follicles, which contain eggs (oocytes), are removed vaginally and the eggs can then be donated to a known or an anonymous recipient.
Qualifications for Egg Donor Candidates
By your interest and commitment, as well as meeting a series of strict medical and psychological standards, you may qualify and participate in an egg donation program. Basic program qualifications typically include the following:
- Humanitarian motivation
- Age 20-29
- Ideal height, weight ratio (BMI under 30)
- Physically healthy
- Regular Menstrual cycles
- Not currently on medications, other than Birth Control
- Not using Depo-Provera or contraceptive implants
- Having both ovaries, no reproductive problems
- Non smoker
- No current use of drugs or excessive alcohol
- No family history of inherited genetic disorders
- Reasonably healthy family medical history
- Psychologically healthy
- Willingness to take hormone injections
- Dependable, mature, and able to keep appointments
Preliminary screening steps include filling out a detailed medical history form, which covers information about your general health, surgeries, gynecological history and family medical history. Potential donors are also required to have an initial interview with the donor egg nurse coordinator and a comprehensive gynecological exam. Psychological and genetic prescreening is also provided, consisting of an interview and testing.
Preparing to Donate
Once selected by a couple seeking donor eggs, Fertility & Genetics will meet with you to discuss pertinent issues for your donation treatment ‘cycle’. You will be advised about the fertility medication injections that you will administer at home. The entire process encompasses between one to three months of planning, followed by about three weeks of cycling time. During the actual treatment phase you will be seen for monitoring, blood work and vaginal sonograms to gauge your egg production.
The egg retrieval is generally done in the morning and you will be sedated using medication administered through an IV. With the ultrasound as guidance, the ovary follicles (hopefully containing eggs) are retrieved. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, including a short recovery period in the office, we recommend that you spend the rest of the day quietly at home. Women are given detailed discharge instructions and encouraged to begin oral contraceptives. Most women feel fine the next day, and normal periods generally return in about 2 weeks.
Egg donation is one of the most precious and rewarding gifts. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) does not allow participants to be paid’ for their eggs, though it is clearly recognized that a donor should be compensated for their time and commitment to the program. Egg donors are compensated $6,250 at Fertility & Genetics.