Overall, becoming an Egg Donor is easier than you think. Though there is a lot of detailed information to take in at one time- the process happens step-by-step, and the nurses and doctors will complete a checklist of tests, exams, and questionnaires before going to the next step. The entire process generally takes 6-8 weeks from the time the egg donor is matched until she has completed the process and undergone egg retrieval.
A majority of the time involved with a cycle of egg donation is in preparation for the cycle and the approval process. The actual cycle of egg donation usually takes two to two and a half weeks from start to finish.
1. Is there an age requirement to become an egg donor?
For first time egg donors we require that our donors be between the ages of 21-29 years of age. .
2. How much will I get paid for my time and effort?
For your time, commitment and effort for your first completed cycle of egg donation; egg donor compensation starts at $8,500.00 or higher.
3. How will egg donation affect my personal lifestyle?
Once a donor has begun taking medication, she needs to ensure she has protected sexual intercourse for the duration of the cycle of donation (use condoms), as well as the following month after retrieval. From start to finish a donor will generally have 7-9 visits to the doctors’ office- the majority of those visits occur during the two weeks before egg retrieval. Monitoring visits (while a donor is in cycle) will take place early in the morning (between 7:30 am- 9:00 am) so it’s necessary to live within commuting distance to our facility.
4. Will I be more or less fertile after egg donation?
You will be more fertile in the month following egg donation than you are generally used to being. After one month you will return to your normal fertility status. Once you have stopped injecting the fertility medication, they will no longer affect your body, or remain in your system.
5. How does egg donation affect my fertility status for the future?
Egg donation does not appear to have any long-term effects upon fertility.
6. Is it true that if I got a tattoo or piercing it will be at least a year from the date I got the tattoo or piercing before I can be screened as an egg donor?
Yes. If you have gotten a recent tattoo we will have to wait one year from the date that you got the tattoo before you are eligible to be screened as an egg donor.
7. What side effects will I experience (if any) from taking fertility medication?
Most egg donors go through the process with little to no side effects; however, some may feel bloating, pelvic discomfort or moodiness.
8. What are some of the medical risks or complications associated with egg donation?
Egg retrieval is always performed under ultrasound guidance however, there is always a risk that a needle may puncture surrounding tissue or organs, causing injury, bleeding and/or infection. There is also a small risk (less than 3%) of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. During ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, the ovaries become enlarged and fluid may collect in the abdominal cavity causing bloating, and pelvic discomfort and/or pain may occur. Hospitalization may be required if ovarian hyperstimulation progresses to a severe state (though this is very rare). Because of the risk of Hyperstimulation Syndrome close monitoring during the cycle of egg donation is imperative. It is possible to prevent hyperstimulation from occurring through careful monitoring.
In addition, studies have shown ovulation drugs are not associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer; research in this area is still ongoing.
9. Is it true that donors who have lived in Europe or parts of Africa for more than five years cannot become anonymous egg donors in the United States? And if I lived in the UK more than 5 months I will not be able to donate?
Yes. The FDA is concerned about the occurrence of Mad Cow disease. Donors that lived in Europe for more than five years are not eligible. Also donors that lived in the U.K. for more than 6 months are not eligible to donate in the U.S. However, if you are open to Directed donation (where the couple and you have more contact with one another we might be able to set up a match for you).
10. Is Donor Insurance ordered for every egg donation cycle?
Yes. The IVF program a donor works with will order egg donor insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses associated with the cycle of egg donation. Thankfully, it is rarely needed but it is there as a protection to both the donor and the recipient couple so there are no out of pocket expenses. The policies are good up to $100,000.00 in medical coverage.
11. How long does the average cycle normally take?
Preparation for the cycle of egg donation actually takes longer than the cycle itself. We must first find a recipient couple to match with a donor candidate- this may be immediate and it may take some time- depending upon the donor’s particular heritage and physical appearance. Once a match has been made, a donor can expect the screening process to take at least three-four weeks from the time we perform the physical examination and send out the blood work. The actual cycle of egg donation takes on-average 12 days from the beginning of ovarian stimulation until egg retrieval.
12. Is fertility medication injectable?
Yes. The medications you will need to take in preparation for egg donation are self-injectable medications. You will be required to give yourself injections (the nurse will teach you how to do this), in the hip. You will take injections once daily for about 10-12 days before egg retrieval.
13. Will I be given anesthesia for egg retrieval?
Yes. Intravenous (IV) twilight, sedation is used, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. Occasionally, a donor may experience one or more of the following short-term side effects from this type of anesthesia: Nausea, vomiting, and sleepiness. Therefore, we instruct you to rest for 24 hours after retrieval. You must NOT DRIVE for at least 24 hours. And we request you bring another adult with you who will accompany you home after the procedure.
14. How many eggs does the average donor produce?
The average donor produces 10-12 eggs, but egg production depends upon the individual and how they respond to the medication. The number of eggs produced by a donor can be as low as five or as high as 35, there are factors such as heredity involved- and we cannot predict how many eggs a donor will produce before egg retrieval.
15. Will I have a lot of pain or bleeding after egg retrieval?
You may experience some discomfort similar to menstrual cramps directly after the procedure of egg retrieval but they should dissipate within hours of the procedure. You may also experience light spotting, but you should not have heavy bleeding( as with a menstrual period) and you should call us immediately if you begin to bleed heavily or have acute abdominal pain, as this would be highly unusual.
16. How long will I have to be away from School or Work after retrieval?
We recommend modified bed rest for 24 hours after retrieval.
17. How long will it take my body to return to normal after egg retrieval?
You should anticipate a menstrual period 12-14 days after retrieval. The first period may be unusually heavy compared to your average period, but this is to be expected, and is a side effect of the stimulation medication. Following the next menstrual cycle, your body should be back to normal.
18. Is there a limit to how often I can safely donate?
Yes. In order to maintain your continued good health, we suggest that you limit yourself to no more than 6 donations in your lifetime.
19. Do I have to pay for any of the medical exams or medication?
No. The egg donor will not cover any of the costs of medical exams, screening tests, medication, or egg donor insurance. All of this will be paid for by the recipient with whom the egg donor has been matched.
20. If I have been exposed to the Zika virus can I still donate my eggs?
Yes, however, If you have been exposed to the Zika virus we will need to wait six months until you will be eligible to donate your eggs.
“I thought about becoming an egg donor for a long time before I moved ahead with it. I did a lot of reading about the process of egg donation.
I wanted to help a loving couple have the child they dreamt of- And I was very happy to have been chosen to be an egg donor. I put the compensation money to good use- and I am now studying nursing. I am pursuing my own dream and Egg Donation helped that to happen."
“Being an egg donor and the process of donation (the medications, office visits and retrieval) was much easier than I imagined it would be! It was a wonderful experience. I’m very happy to know that I made a positive contribution in someone else’s life. I recommend Egg Donation for other women as a way of helping with expenses while doing something very good for someone else.”
"Valerie is diligent when it comes to matching the donors and recipient couples. She is very helpful and is always available to answer any questions you may have about being a donor. She is extremely kind and professional. She is also very fun to work with. I love working with Valerie because she made me feel comfortable and has already matched me a few times. THANK YOU VALERIE!"