Egg Donation FAQ: What Potential Egg Donors Should Know
If you’re considering donating your eggs, it’s important to feel empowered with the information and personalized care you need on the journey. Your health, safety, dignity and respect should be central to the process as you help other families achieve their dreams. This starts with understanding the basics.
What is egg donation?
Egg donation is the process in which a fertile woman donates her eggs, or oocyte, to another woman (recipient) to allow the recipient to have a baby. Egg donation frequently benefits women who cannot use their own eggs for various reasons, including age, extremely poor egg quality, history of genetic disease, or couples with unexplained infertility.
Do I qualify to be an egg donor?
At Reproductive Biology Associates, our physicians recruit donors from the community. All potential donors must undergo a screening process, based on a set of criteria, to qualify for egg donation. If you’re a nonsmoking woman between the ages 21 – 32, with a healthy BMI and you are interested in egg donation, you must fill out an application with some basic information. Upon submission, you will receive an email to indicate if you are eligible to complete the second part of the application process.
What is the egg donation process if I’m approved?
If you are approved as an egg donor, you will be asked to come into the office to meet with the donor care team. Egg donors will undergo bloodwork, genetic screening, a physical exam and a psychological evaluation to discuss any questions or concerns. During the final step of the process, our nursing team will meet with the donor to discuss the donation cycle and prescribe injectable fertility medications. These are subcutaneous, self–administered hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs during a single cycle rather than one, as happens during a normal menstrual cycle.
As with many medications, there is the possibility of side effects. Some women experience no side effects while others experience mild side effects similar to PMS symptoms like bloating, cramping, nausea, headaches and breast tenderness. Donors do have a risk of pregnancy before the eggs are retrieved, so it is a good idea to avoid intercourse or use a barrier contraceptive, such as a condom. Donors will undergo frequent monitoring via blood tests and ultrasounds.
Once the donor's eggs are mature the donor is ready for retrieval. The egg retrieval is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. The process is performed under IV sedation and requires no incision, stitches, or risk for scars. One of RBA’s experienced physicians will perform a vaginal ultrasound to visualize the ovaries, which house your eggs. The physician will then introduce a thin needle into the ovary, carefully removing the eggs stimulated that month. Once the eggs are removed, they are evaluated in the laboratory, after which they may be frozen for future use, or used fresh. Sperm from the partner or sperm bank is placed around, or injected into, each egg to allow for fertilization. This process is called in vitro fertilization (IVF). In some cases, the recipient is not yet identified at the time your eggs are removed; in those cases, your eggs can be frozen and stored to be used later for others to have a baby in the future. Immediately following the procedure, you will rest in the recovery room for approximately an hour.
Are there any risks associated with egg donation?
The risks of egg donation are relatively low. Afterwards, some women experience menstrual-like cramping for which prescription medications will be provided. The procedures and medications for egg donors are the same as they are for women using their own eggs in the IVF process and carry the same level of risk. There is no direct correlation between donating eggs and future infertility. Additionally, all results of the screening and testing performed will be provided to you and can give you better insight into your own fertility and future family planning.
How do I apply to be an egg donor?
RBA is a world leader in frozen egg donation, renowned for donor-centered care. If you’re ready to apply, take the first step today!