How can a woman become an egg donor? What is an egg donor? How does egg donation work?
An egg donation process is when a woman donates her eggs to a partner, friend or stranger to help with their reproduction process – giving them the chance to have a baby with a sperm donor or partner.
Do you want to learn more about: how to donate eggs and how egg donation works?
A Look at the Egg Donation Process
In the egg donation process, the doctor will remove the eggs from the donor’s ovaries. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm (either the partner’s sperm or a sperm donor) in a process known as in vitro fertilization in a laboratory. Once fertilized, the embryos are then implanted in the woman’s uterus. If the embryo implants itself to the uterus, she becomes pregnant.
3 Reasons Why Women Become Egg Donors
Many people are under the mistaken impression that women decide to donate their eggs because they’re paid to do it. While egg donor compensation is one aspect of the process, it’s not always the reason a woman opts for the surrogacy or egg donor process. After all, the egg donation process is tedious. How so?
- It involves multiple trips to the clinic.
- It can take up a plethora of their free and non-free time.
- Potential donors have to go through a stringent screening process.
All of this is done to ensure that a donor is donating her eggs for reasons besides money. As said, there are pros and cons of donating eggs, but what are some of the common reasons women become egg donors?
- Compassion: The majority of egg donors decide to undergo the process because of the compassion they feel for childless, but wanting parents. They may have a good idea of the struggles the couple goes through to start their family. Donors often help LGBT couples and other infertile couples to start their family by donating their eggs. In some LGBT cases, a woman may go through the surrogacy process to help the couple become parents.
- Empowerment: Before a woman can actually donate her eggs, she needs to go through the stringent medical and genetic testing processes. By going through the processes, she learns more about her own health and body. While the process is to help the prospective parents, it helps her to know her own body too.
- Joy: Many infertile couples struggle for years to have a family. An egg donor is an infertile couple’s chance to experience the joy of becoming parents. Not only do they feel joy at becoming parents, but you feel joy from knowing that you gave them what they most wanted in life.
7 Requirements to Donate Eggs
What are the requirements to donate eggs? All potential donors will first meet with a donor egg nurse coordinator to ensure they meet the egg donor qualifications. The typical criteria for becoming an egg donor include:
- Be 21 to 32 years of age (although each fertility clinic has its own set rules)
- Healthy range for weight and height (healthy BMI)
- No drug use
- No smoking
- Complete a comprehensive medical history that includes family history, surgeries, etc.
- Undergo a gynecological exam
- Undergo various tests that relate to mental health, sexually transmitted diseases, genetic history, and medical history.
Here are some examples of agencies’ screening processes and requirements for egg donors:
If any part of the egg donor assessment reveals any risk of a genetic or transmissible disease, you will not be eligible to become an egg donor. Qualifying donors will miss at least a week of work for consultations, medical exams, and the egg recovery process.
2 Main Steps of the Egg Donation Process: How Does Egg Donation Work?
How to donate eggs: If you decide to become an egg donor, your egg donation process will have two main steps.
Step 1: Medication Cycle
After the donor has gone through the medical screening phase and is given the “green light,” the donor cycle will start at the onset of her next menstrual period. After 21 days, the physician will do several medication injections in the skin to stimulate the ovaries’ egg maturation process.
The donor must show up to the morning appointments to be monitored at the fertility center. These appointments, which can last up to an hour, are set between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. The purpose of these appointments is to see how the body is responding to the medication. It is a necessity for egg donors to make these appointments.
The injections continue until about 36 hours before the egg retrieval process. The doctor will give one final injection to prep the eggs for maturation and retrieval.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval Process
Donors, during the retrieval process, will receive a “twilight” anesthesia, that’s given through an IV. The doctor will use a vaginal ultrasound probe to guide a small needle into the vaginal wall to get to the ovaries and eggs.
This process takes at least 30 minutes. Donors will need to rest after the procedure and are advised not to be sexually active or do any strenuous physical activity until their doctor clears them.
There are no major egg donation risks. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor to find out about the possible side effects of egg donation before donating your eggs.
2 Types of Egg Donors
There are two main types of egg donors
- Anonymous Donors: These are donors who opt to remain anonymous. An anonymous egg donor will provide her eggs to an unidentified infertile woman or couple. The donor and recipient are then matched by the criteria the receiving woman or couple have asked for.
- Known Donors: This is when egg donors reveal who they are and may have contact with the egg recipient. Usually, the known donors are relatives or friends of the egg recipient (sister, friend, cousin, etc.)
No matter which donor type, all donors will undergo the stringent testing and screening processes.
5 Possible Side Effects of Egg Donation (Egg Donation Risks)
While the egg donation process is regarded as quite safe with no long-term side effects, it does have some short-time effects, you should be aware of. What are some of the possible side effects of egg donation?
- Antibiotics: You’ll also be given antibiotics to stop any bacterial infections from occurring. Some of these antibiotics can cause an allergic reaction. If you believe you’re having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, let the doctor know right away.
- Medication side effects: In the egg donation and retrieval process, you are given medication to mature your eggs. These medications can cause bloating, extreme tiredness, moodiness and headaches. There have been some rare cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is very treatable.
- Blood-Drawing: The majority of blood draws leads to bruising and discomfort at the site of the draw.
- Ultrasound-guided retrieval process: After the eggs have been retrieved, you could experience some physical pain, bleeding, bowel discomfort and infection. Although rare, there have been cases where an egg donor has had to have surgery to repair the internal damage.
- Pregnancy: An egg donor is much more likely to get pregnant after the retrieval process because of the medication she was taking to boost fertility. Do not have unprotected sex until you’ve been cleared by your doctor.
7 Questions about the Egg Donation Process and How to Donate Eggs
How much money do egg donors make?
Before becoming an egg donor, you will like to know: how much do you get for donating eggs? This is not a simple question, the amount of money an donor makes will depend on several factors:
- Donor location
- Donation history
- Ethnicity – East Indian, Asian, and Jewish donors are in high demand
The egg donor compensation will depend on her personal situation and lifestyle.
What is the cost of an egg donation process?
The costs of an egg donation process will depend on many things – medical expenses, such as agency fees, fertilization costs, donor compensations, travel, legal expenses, etc.
How many times can you donate eggs?
While the American Society of Reproductive Medicine has found no reason to think that egg donation can have negative long-term effects or egg donation risks, normally, women are allowed to do up to 6 donations. Before each cycle, medical records will be required just to be sure they have no concern with you donating another time.
How often can you donate eggs?
Most women do donate more than one time because they find the egg donation process to be gratifying. If you decide you would like to donate more than once, your body needs to have two regular periods between cycles.
How old do I have to be to donate my eggs?
Are you thinking about donating your eggs? As a general rule, to maximize fertility, IVF clinics accept candidates between the ages of 21 and 32 (please note that some clinics have even stricter guidelines to ensure that there will be a successful chance of conception for the intended family).
If you donate your eggs, can you still have babies?
The egg donation process doesn’t have any effect on your future ability to become pregnant. Women are born with about 2 million eggs. Every menstrual cycle, about 15-20 eggs mature inside your ovaries. However, usually only one egg is released. When you go through the process of donating eggs, you’ll receive medication to fully mature all the eggs in your follicles that are naturally available in that specific cycle.
How to become an egg donor