Who can become an Egg Donor?
• Between the ages of 20 and 31
• Physically healthy
• Have a healthy weight (BMI between 19 and 30)
• No Nicotine or drug use
• No family history of inheritable genetic disorders
What is the process of egg donation?
After successfully passing initial testing and being matched with intended parent(s), the donor proceeds to the next phase, which involves ovarian stimulation using hormone-based injectable medications. The donor's response to this stimulation is closely monitored through vaginal ultrasound exams and blood tests. Generally, the surgical retrieval of eggs occurs after approximately 11-14 days of injections, although this timeline can vary depending on the individual. The egg retrieval procedure itself typically lasts around 30 minutes and, following a brief observation period of two to three hours, the donor is usually allowed to return home.
What Is the time commitment for Donating Eggs?
The time commitment for an egg donation cycle can vary, typically spanning from eight to ten weeks. The process involves distinct phases:
1. **Testing and Screening:** This initial phase lasts approximately two to three weeks. It includes comprehensive medical tests and evaluations.
2. **Treatment Phase:** The treatment itself spans about three to four weeks. Donors typically undergo oral medication followed by hormone-based injections to stimulate ovarian activity. Regular monitoring through vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests is essential. Frequent office visits are necessary, with the possibility of daily morning appointments as the follicles near maturity.
3. **Egg Retrieval:** Towards the end of the treatment phase, the donor will undergo an egg retrieval procedure. While the date can be estimated, it depends on the donor's specific response to medications. Therefore, donors should be prepared for relatively short-notice visits to the fertility center on the appropriate day.
After the egg retrieval, the donor's active involvement in the process concludes.
What are the side effect of donating eggs?
While egg donation can be a rewarding and altruistic act, it's important to understand that it is a medical process that can have both short-term and long-term side effects. Here's an explanation of some potential side effects:
Short-Term Side Effects:
a. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): This is a possible side effect that occurs when the ovaries overreact to the hormone medications used to stimulate egg production. It can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and in severe cases, fluid buildup in the abdomen and chest.
b. Discomfort and Pain: The process involves hormonal injections and a minor surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs, which can cause discomfort, pain, and mild swelling in the pelvic area.
c. Mood Swings: Hormone medications can also lead to mood swings or emotional changes.
d. Ovulation Pain: Some women may experience mild pain or discomfort when they ovulate, which is a common occurrence after egg retrieval.
e. Bruising and Infection: There is a slight risk of bruising and infection at the injection site or where the eggs are retrieved.
Long-Term Side Effects:
a. Fertility Impact: There is a concern that repeated egg donation may affect a woman's long-term fertility, though research in this area is ongoing. As per ASRM guidelines, we limit the number of egg donation cycles you can participate in to six.
b. Psychological Impact: The emotional and psychological impact of egg donation can vary from person to person. Some donors may experience stress or emotional challenges related to the process.
It's important for any potential egg donor to thoroughly discuss these potential side effects with their healthcare provider and the fertility clinic they are working with. Additionally, egg donation is typically regulated, and donors undergo a comprehensive screening process to minimize risks.
While there are potential side effects, many egg donors do not experience significant complications, and the process has helped many people fulfill their dreams of having children. Donors should carefully consider their own health, the emotional implications, and consult with medical professionals before proceeding with egg donation.
Does egg donation put the donor at risk for infertility in the future?
It does not. The fertility medication you receive as an egg donor causes your body to develop eggs that would usually be discarded naturally in your monthly period. Becoming an egg donor does not affect your ability to conceive.