First, before applying to become an egg donor, women must meet certain criteria to ensure that egg donation is a good fit for them. These criteria include:
If your application is accepted, you will then be asked to undergo a screening process. This process includes meetings with the fertility clinic, psychological testing, and medical testing. These tests can include infectious disease testing, drug screening, and a genetic risk assessment.
If all goes well, then you are approved to move forward with donation. The donation process includes ovarian stimulation medications and an egg retrieval procedure, just as in a standard in-vitro fertilization cycle. These eggs are then fertilized in a laboratory and given to the couple in need.
Generally, the egg donation process is not painful, but as with any medical procedure, there is the chance for side effects.
Some women may experience mild side effects from the injection that is used to stimulate the ovaries. These can include bruising at the injection site, mood swings, or tender breasts. While it’s normal to have a phobia of needles, the needle used to administer this medication is very thin and shouldn’t cause pain. Your fertility care provider can also help you learn how to administer the injection at home to make it as comfortable as possible.
In rare cases, you can develop a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) that can include cramping, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually go away within a week. However, if you do experience these symptoms, it’s important to report them to your doctor to avoid any further complications.
During the egg retrieval process itself, a technique called transvaginal oocyte retrieval is performed. The doctor will use an ultrasound probe, inserted into the vagina to guide a needle into the ovarian follicle. This then uses a suction device to retrieve the eggs. Fortunately, you’ll be given a sedative before the procedure, so you won’t experience pain or discomfort.
Yes, there are some restrictions to be aware of while undergoing the egg donation process and retrieval procedure. Because it’s possible to become pregnant, we recommend you either abstain from having sex or ensure you use an effective barrier protection method (such as condoms). It is also recommended that egg donors (or patients undergoing IVF alike) reduce alcohol use and limit high-impact exercise while on ovarian stimulation medications and after the egg retrieval. Drug use is also prohibited for egg donors.
Yes, egg donors at our partners South Jersey Fertility Center and the Fertility Institute of NJ & NY in New Jersey, and Sincera Reproductive Medicine in Pennsylvania are paid $8,000 once their cycle is completed to compensate for their time and efforts. For many donors, the opportunity to help a couple in need is also rewarding.
No, no need to worry! Fertility treatment medications involved in the IVF process work by rescuing eggs that would otherwise naturally die off in any given cycle. Therefore, the process of egg donation does not affect your future fertility in any way.
No, the agreement between the donor and recipient is anonymous. Egg donor agreements are kept completely anonymous, so you will not know the recipients and they won’t know you. Any pictures or information shared about you are provided without any personal identifiers. Egg donors can share a childhood or baby photo, medical history, education and current career path, age, and general physical attributes.
If you are interested, you may enroll in a donor database if you want to be available for contact in the future for a child who results from your donation. You will not be financially responsible for a child as a result of your egg donation.
For those who choose, there are known donor options available, but this is less common and requires more legal involvement and both parties to agree.
We encourage anyone interested in becoming an egg donor to use one of the following options to explore how our partners can help. In New Jersey, our friends at South Jersey Fertility Center & the Fertility Institute of NJ & NY are more than happy to explore this option with you, and if you are in Pennsylvania, the team at Sincera Reproductive Medicine are always here to answer your questions and make the process as easy as possible!