For Egg Donors
How to Become an Egg Donor? The Complete Breakdown
How to Become an Egg Donor? The Complete Breakdown
Donating your eggs to a couple or an individual who cannot have a baby without your help is an incredible gift, both for yourself and the people you’re helping. And the financial compensation isn’t bad either.
Still, if you’re considering becoming an egg donor you should know exactly what’s involved in the process and make sure it’s for you. So let’s go over all the information you should be armed with before you take the plunge.
Choosing your agency or clinic
There are two types of providers you should consider for your egg donation. The first is fertility clinics that offer egg donor programs to their IVF patients. The second is egg donor agencies that may work with intended parents from various locations, which means travel could be part of the process.
Generally speaking, there is no right or wrong agency or clinic and you can work with as many providers as you like. Many donors work with clinics and agencies simultaneously, to increase their chances of being selected for a cycle and potentially make their eggs available to more people, though doing so is not a trivial matter as it requires a lot of work and commitment.
It’s important you do your research and get a feel for the clinic or agency. Make sure the process is clearly explained to you, as well as the compensation, risks and requirements involved.
Also, you can inquire about the staff and their credentials and ask for references from women who have donated for them in the past. If an agency or clinic refuses to provide names of past donors, it’s a clear sign you should be wary.
The intake process
You will usually start your process by filling in some kind of form or questionnaire. The provider will then consider your application and notify you about the next steps.
As long as you meet the basic requirements of age, weight and overall good health, you’re a non-smoker, and you pass a psychological evaluation and genetic testing that make sure there are no major congenital or mental issues before you can actually donate for the first time, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting accepted.
Once you’ve been accepted, your picture and profile information will be accessible to intended parents.
If you opt for an agency, your intake process will be shorter because they typically perform all the tests only after the intended parents have chosen the donor they are interested in and their agency fees have been paid. That’s why there’s usually more uncertainty for agency donors.
The screening process
The screening process varies from one provider to the next but typically, the first step would be completing a detailed questionnaire about your medical, personal and family history and background.
Next, the provider will arrange appointments with a genetic expert and psychologist, a medical physical examination and lab tests.
Usually, screening is completed within a few weeks.
Egg donor compensation can range from $4,000 to $25,000, but clinics typically keep their donor compensation between $4,000 and $10,000.
However, some agencies have premium egg donor pools in which intended parents could identify donors with unique and specific characteristics, such as professional athletes, models, Ivy League students and so on, and of specific ethnicities or religions. Those donor compensations can be as high as $25,000. Still, there is a prevailing debate about the ethics of these practices, so many providers don’t feel comfortable with egg donor compensation higher than $10,000 and believe that donors should be compensated for their gift and time, rather than specific attributes.
All egg donation related costs are covered by the provider or intended parents. When working with an agency donor, intended parents pay additional fees such as agency fee, legal fees, accommodation and travel expenses for donor and companion, per diems, insurance fees and so on.
The egg retrieval process
First, the agency or clinic will synchronize your cycle with that of the recipient. This is achieved by taking birth control pills for a few weeks and injections that temporarily block the normal functioning of your ovaries.
Next, you will need to visit the clinic for frequent blood tests and ultrasounds. You will also need to give yourself shots of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to stimulate egg production.
Egg retrieval is performed under a light general anesthesia through the vagina. After the procedure, you will need to be driven home and recover for about a day.
During this process, you will be asked to abstain from sexual intercourse.
The risks and side effects
As with any medical procedure, egg donation has its risks and possible side effects. The agency or clinic should do everything they can to ensure you are fully informed before you consent to the process.
Here are the rare complications and mostly minor side effects you should know about.
Fertility medications. The hormones you take to stimulate the egg production are basically boosts of hormones that are naturally produced by your body. Still, because the doses are larger than those the body already makes, you may have some mild side effects that are actually similar to PMS.
Some women don’t have any reaction to the fertility medication, while others experience a headache, bloating and moodiness. Although it's extremely rare, some women have an allergic reaction to the medication.
Egg retrieval. The risks of this procedure are very rare - around 1 in 1,000. The complications include bleeding and infection, and in extremely rare cases women have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic.
Blood tests and injections. Possible side effects include redness or minor bruising at the injection site.
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