What Does it Mean to Become an Egg Donor?
Considering becoming an egg donor? Here’s what you need to know about the process.
Women who carry serious genetic diseases or who have failed to become pregnant via IVF due to poor egg quality may sometimes use donor eggs to become pregnant. Donor eggs are harvested from healthy young women who choose to make a serious commitment to help a couple have the family of their dreams.
That said, there are many misconceptions out there about egg donation — first and foremost, that it’s a relatively easy way to make a substantial amount of money. While there is almost always generous financial compensation for egg donors, donating eggs is a large time commitment and a very personal decision.
If you’re interested in donating your eggs, here’s what you need to know.
Who is a Good Candidate to Donate Eggs?
Besides the serious emotional implications of egg donation, it’s also an intense time commitment. All potential donors must undergo a rigorous screening process to qualify for egg donation, based on a set of strict criteria. Donors must:
1. Between 21 and 34 years of age.
2. Have no history of illicit substance or alcohol abuse.
3. Be a healthy weight.
4. Have no family history of congenital disease.
5. Pass a psychological screening to ensure emotional fitness to donate eggs.
6. Pass a physical exam.
7. Pass all lab testing.
8. Complete our Egg Donor Questionnaire.
In addition, it’s ideal for candidates to have at least ten follicles (eggs) at their baseline ultrasound in order to increase the odds of conception. Couples may also have additional specific requirements of their egg donor — for example, they may prefer a donor with a college degree or a donor of their own race or ethnicity.
The Egg Donation Process
If you’re approved as an egg donor, the first thing that will happen is that you’ll receive doses of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and human chorionic gonadotropin. These hormone injections will maximize the number of eggs available for retrieval, and should be administered several weeks before the harvesting procedure.
The harvesting procedure itself is rather short and should be completed in 20 to 30 minutes at the most. A physician will insert an ultrasound probe with suction capabilities into the vagina in order to attain an egg from as many follicles as possible. After the procedure, the donor will receive a medical evaluation, hormone treatments, and a psychological evaluation.
Fortunately, the procedure itself isn’t painful; that said, it’s normal to experience cramping and discomfort in the days after, and most donors require an extra day or two in the hospital to recover after retrieval. Long-term effects are rare, but one in ten donors may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome afterwards due to the hormones received prior to harvesting.
Because of the time and potential side effects of egg donation, donors are compensated generously — compensation is generally several thousand dollars for US-based donors, though the exact number varies depending on fertility center, region, and more. That said, egg donation is a serious commitment, and it shouldn’t be seen as a quick and easy way to make money; rather, donors should be primarily driven by their desire to help a couple start a family.
If you believe you’re a good fit for egg donation, contact the Advanced Fertility Center of Texas. We’ll be more than happy to discuss the procedure and answer any questions you may have to see if you may be able to help give a couple the family they’ve always dreamed of.
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