Frequently Asked Questions About Being an Egg Donor
Egg Donor Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the process of being a donor and how long does it take?
Step 1: Submitting the Medical History Profile: You should start by reviewing the information provided on our “Information on Becoming an Egg Donor” document, which has been designed to make you aware of the process and to help you decide if egg donation is right for you. If you have any additional questions or concerns that are not covered by either document, please don’t hesitate to call us or e-mail us. We want you to be fully aware before you make your decision and we will do our best to answer all your questions.
Step 2: Application Approval by EggHelpers: Once we receive your form, we will review it and call you to discuss your medical history and the process involved. We will ask for further details, answer your questions, and give you details on the egg donor program.
Step 3: Application Approval by Clinic: Your medical history must be approved by a clinic we work with. It may take up to 1 week for a profile approval. If the Doctor’s reviewing the profile have questions, we will pass them along.
Step 4: Counseling and Blood Work: Once your profile is approved, you will be asked to have your counseling and blood work completed. This takes place at a fertility clinic. More information will be sent to you when this step is reached.
Step 5: Screening Appointments will be made with the fertility clinic to complete a screening with the doctor, ultrasound and genetic testing (genetic screening, STD testing, drug/nicotine screening, etc.). The coordinator will contact you to schedule your appointments. They are all done in one visit and may take up to one day depending on appointment times. More information will be given to you by the coordinator when this step is reached.
Step 6: Cycling (Medication and Monitoring): If you pass all tests then you will be contacted by a Clinic Nurse to start your protocol for a cycle. This means that you have been matched and are ready to start your donation. During the last two to three weeks of the process, you will be required to give yourself daily injections that will stimulate your egg development. The needles are typically very small and go into the skin of the thigh or abdomen. During the administration of the medication, you will be closely monitored to ensure you are responding well, typically six to eight appointments, early in the morning. They are typically about 15 minutes and involve blood work and vaginal ultrasounds.
Step 7: Retrieval Day: You will undergo the egg retrieval, a 20-30-minute procedure. During the procedure, you will be given sedation, but no incisions will be made. After spending approximately 30 to 45 minutes in the recovery room you will then go home knowing you have provided to a deserving couple the family, they so desire. In rare cases, a follow up will be scheduled. We always recommend that someone accompany you on this day as you will feel unwell after. Donors are able to donate up to six times according to American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines. Some doctors recommend five donations only.
Like many medical procedures, there is always a risk and possible side effects. The primary risk is called Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome. This is rare, occurring in only 1-3% of cases. You are closely monitored by your physician to avoid this possibility. Also, like many procedures, there is a risk of infection. You will most likely be given antibiotics to reduce this possibility. Common side effects of the medication that donors may or may not experience include headaches, mood swings, bloating, nausea and/or temporary injection site reactions.
4. What are the long-term risks?
There are no proven long-term risks from egg donation. Empirical studies have not demonstrated any definitive link between egg donation and infertility, cancer, or any other significant long-term health problems.
5. Can I donate if I’m on birth control?
Yes, though you will have to stop during the process, once you begin injectable medications.
6. Can I donate if I’ve had a tubal ligation?
Yes, you may be an egg donor if you’ve had a tubal ligation. Your eggs will be retrieved prior to being released in the fallopian tubes.
7. Can I donate if I just had a baby and I’m breastfeeding?
As we require that you have at least three regular menstrual cycles prior to participation, you would have to wait after having a baby. Additionally, you may not donate while you are breastfeeding. You can start the application process now though!
8. Can I donate if I have had an abortion in the past?
Yes, women can donate if they have had abortions in the past.
9. Can I donate if I have tattoos and/or piercings?
Due to the risk of infectious disease, Donors must wait six months after receiving a tattoo or body piercing before they can donate. However, if your body art practitioner can provide written and signed proof that your tattoo was administered with disposable needles, you do not have to wait the six months.
10. What if I have an Intrauterine Device (I.U.D.)?
Donors who have had an IUD insertion generally may donate without removing the IUD if it does not release any level of hormones. IUDs such as the Mirena IUD that release hormones may have to be removed prior to egg donation. Please be sure to inform Egg Helpers if you have had an IUD insertion.
11. Will my insurance be billed for any of the medical appointments or medications?
All medical expenses related to the donation cycle are paid by the recipient.
12. Can I go to my own personal doctor for the medical screening?
Unfortunately, you cannot, it’s important to do your medical screening at the clinic you will be working with.
13. How can I be sure that my donation remains confidential?
Donor confidentiality is protected by a consent form signed by the donor, as well as the recipient.
14. Will I get to meet the couple that receives my eggs?
You might! There are two kinds of egg donation, anonymous and known. Our team will speak with you during your intake about what type will be right for you.
15. Do I have any responsibility to any children that may be born?
The Future Parents (recipients) assume total responsibility for the children born, as outlined in a legal document and consent.
Yes, the ½ day screening appointment and monitoring appointments are usually early in the morning, so please note that a flexible schedule is an asset, as there are typically between six and eight appointments. You will need to block an entire day for the Egg retrieval.
17. Can I drink alcohol?
You will be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol and taking certain medications during the cycle.
18. Can I exercise during the donation process?
Donors are expected to restrain from engaging in strenuous exercise from the time they begin stimulation hormones through a couple of weeks after the retrieval to avoid medical complications.
19. Must I abstain from sex during the donation process?
As donors become extremely fertile while on hormone stimulation medication, you run the risk of becoming pregnant with multiples, donors are expected to abstain from sexual intercourse while on medication. Also, sexual intercourse could potentially expose the Donor to sexually transmitted diseases, which could be problematic for the egg donation cycle. A cycle can be canceled if a Donor engages in sexual intercourse while on medications.
20. If I live outside of Ontario, am I still able to proceed with a donation through EggHelpers?
Yes! We have offices in Ontario and British Columbia, but we have donors, intended parents, and clinics that are located all over the world to accommodate you and the parents’ respective locations.
21. Can I donate if I have HPV or genital herpes?
Yes. Donation can be performed with either of these conditions, as well as any other STD that occurred more than a year ago.
22. Why are there such strict age restrictions for Egg Donors?
Criteria for donors are fairly standard. Rules are set for legal reasons, and also are designed to increase the chance that pregnancy will result. It is also to ensure the safety of both the donor and the recipient. Commonly, egg donors must be between 19 and 30. The lower limit is to ensure that the donor may legally enter into a contract, and the upper limit reflects the fact that older women respond less to fertility drugs. Older women’s eggs also increase the chances that a pregnancy will not occur, or birth defects will result.
23. What should my BMI be to become an egg donor?
You should have a healthy BMI.
24. Do I have the right to receive information regarding the parent(s)?
If you are completing an anonymous donation then you won’t be able to receive information about the recipient(s). But if you are completing a known donation than you would be able to receive information about the recipient(s).
26. What if I am taking Depo Provera?
Donors must remain off this medication for several months before they can donate.