Each year, donor egg treatment accounts for an estimated 5,800 babies born in the United States. Healthy women may choose to donate their eggs for either the personal gratification of helping someone else (maybe a friend or family member) or for monetary compensation. In some cases, motivation may come from both.

Regardless of the motivation to become an egg donor, it’s important to understand the process.

Who Can Donate?

While these can vary slightly depending on the agency or clinic managing the donation, the basic requirements are:

  • Between ages 21-28
  • Have regular, monthly menstrual periods
  • No reproductive disorders or abnormalities
  • Physically and emotionally healthy
  • Body mass index (BMI) does not exceed 28%
  • Non-Nicotine user, non-smoker and non-drug user
  • Not currently on Depo-Provera

Other requirements include willingness to undergo medical and psychological evaluations and take injectable medication.

The Screening Process

Prospective donors are required to complete an extensive questionnaire that includes medical, genetic and family history. An egg donor coordinator will review the answers and may ask additional questions to clarify or complete any missing information. During this time, he or she will explain the expectations of being an egg donor. The next step is to undergo an extensive physical exam.

Further Evaluation

Barring any disqualifiers during the screening process, the next phase involves a transvaginal ultrasound to evaluate your ovarian function and blood testing to evaluate the donor’s hormone levels. Beyond extensive physical evaluation, she will also be required to complete psychological and genetic counseling.

Recipient/Donor Matching

If it is not a direct donation for a friend or family member, the donor will be added to a database. Potential recipients will determine the characteristics they are interested in, such as hair and eye color, race, complexion, and height. When the desired traits match a donor’s, the next stage of the process begins.

Cycle Coordination

During this stage of the process, the donor’s menstrual cycle will be synced with the recipient’s cycle. The egg donor will self-administer daily injections to suppress to suppress her natural cycle and may also be required to take birth control pills. This stage will include additional bloodwork and ultrasounds.

Egg Retrieval

Once the donor’s eggs reach maturity and the recipient’s uterus is prepared to receive the embryos, the egg retrieval will be scheduled. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The eggs are retrieved using an ultrasound probe placed in the vagina and a needle to extract the eggs. Typically, the procedure is completed in two to three hours.

Contact Carolinas Fertility Institute

If you plan to utilize donor egg treatment, and know someone who may be interested in becoming an egg donor on your behalf, contact Carolinas Fertility Institute to learn more.