Frequently Asked Questions:
Egg donation is the process by which a woman (the donor) participates in an IVF cycle where eggs are retrieved from her ovaries and given to a couple or individual looking to become a parent through egg donation.
Many of our clients are looking to be matched with an egg donor due to age-related fertility issues, as many women start to experience a decline in fertility as they get older. Other clients need an egg donor because of genetic issues and have been advised that they either should not or cannot conceive a child using the intended mother’s own eggs. We also have worked with couples needing an egg donor because the intended mother has had cancer or other illness and is no longer able to produce viable eggs on her own. Finally, we work with gay male couples who use an egg donor and a gestational carrier (surrogate mother) to help them create a family.
Egg donation is done through the in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) process. You can find a more detailed explanation of the IVF procedure at the Resolve Organization’s Website by clicking here. You should also visit the links found on our Fertility Clinics and Other Links page which has links to a lot of information on how IVF works.
The most significant potential risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which occurs in approximately 1-3% of cases. Your IVF Physician will monitor you closely during the cycle to help avoid OHSS from occurring. Potential side effects to the fertility medications can include pelvic pain, nausea and vomiting, hot flashes, bloating, abdominal cramping, mood changes, breast tenderness, blurred vision, and rashes or hives. You can read more about potential risks on the ASRM website by clicking here.
You will be counseled by the IVF Physician during your screening appointment and have all of your questions regarding the small risks associated with egg donation answered. You will not be expected to participate in an egg donation IVF cycle until you are completely comfortable with all aspects of the process.
Egg donation does involve a significant time commitment by the egg donor. The application process usually takes between 2 to 3 hours. After being matched with a set of intended parents, the amount of time the process will take depends on the particular fertility clinic where the intended parents are patients. In general, the screening process at the IVF clinic is usually 1 full day or split between 2 half days. The screening appointment usually is scheduled between 1 and 2 months after you are matched.
Once you are fully screened, the Clinic will set up the IVF cycle. A cycle typically takes approximately six weeks, although it can be shorter at some clinics. During that time, you should expect to have approximately 5 to 6 monitoring appointments. These appointments are done first thing in the morning before work or school and typically last between 15 and 30 minutes.
Donors typically spend approximately 3 to 4 hours at the IVF Clinic on the day of the egg retrieval. You will be instructed to rest the remainder of the day.
In sum, most donors spend a couple of hours completing the paperwork and gathering medical records, up to two days for a screening appointment, 15 to 30 minutes for monitoring appointments on approximately 5 to 6 days during the last three weeks of the cycle, and then a full day for the retrieval procedure.
If you are sexually active, your partner may have to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. In most cases, your partner can do this testing either at the fertility clinic or at a local facility that performs sexually transmitted disease testing. We will be able to assist you in locating a place for your partner to be tested.
Yes, you can be on birth control pills and still be a donor. You will be instructed by the IVF Clinic if and when to stop and start birth control. If you have an IUD, you will need to have it removed before participating in an egg donation cycle. You should contact your primary care physician and/or gynecologist to talk about having the IUD removed. If you are using depo provera for birth control, you will need to cease taking it. Again, you should discuss this with your physician. On occasion, donors who have taken depo provera are not able to donate for many months until their cycle becomes regular again. It is extremely important that if you cease using one of these forms of birth control you make arrangements for an alternative form of birth control.
Yes. Having a tubal ligation will not affect your ability to become an egg donor.
As with all aspects of the egg donation process, you will receive detailed instructions about if and when you will need to abstain from having sexual intercourse from the IVF Clinic. While Clinics may differ on the precise instructions they give to donors, most Clinics tell donors that once the IVF cycle begins donors either have to abstain from having intercourse or to use protection, i.e., condoms, from when the donor gets her period until the egg retrieval occurs. After the retrieval has taken place, most Clinics require that donors do not have ANY sexual intercourse, with or without protection, until the donor begins her next period. Typically, a donor will get her period approximately two weeks after the egg retrieval. This is because donors are at a very high risk of becoming pregnant and of infection after the retrieval has taken place. Again, it is extremely important that you receive and abide by all instructions given to you by the IVF Clinic on this and all other aspects of the egg donation procedure.
In a typical egg donor cycle, between 10 - 15 eggs are retrieved. However, the exact number can vary and will depend on how your ovaries respond the IVF medications.
Your profile will be added to our database of available donors and be seen by hundreds of intended parents. You could be matched with intended parents immediately or it can take several months. The exact timing can vary.
Yes. We abide by the ASRM Guidelines on Repetitive Oocyte Donation. Those guidelines limit egg donors to 6 cycles. Some fertility Clinics will not allow a donor to cycle more than 5 times.
No. You and the intended parents will enter into a legal agreement that will govern each party's legal rights and responsibilities. That agreement will state that the intended parents shall be the legal parents of any child created through the egg donation process. You will receive independent legal advice from an attorney who specializes in the field of reproductive law. That attorney's fee is paid by the intended parents. Your attorney will review the legal agreement with you to ensure that you are comfortable with all of the legal issues.
The majority of our clients work with fertility Clinics in the New England area. However, we work with intended parents from around the country and around the world. Sometimes these couples work with an IVF Clinic in other parts of the country. We will discuss with you any travel that would be required before you are formally matched with intended parents.
The vast majority of egg donation cycles are done anonymously. On occasion, some intended parents want to have contact with their donor prior to cycling with her. You obviously will have to agree to such contact. If you are agreeable, this contact can be in the form of anonymous email, a phone call exchanging first names only, or an actual in person meeting. Again, you have to be comfortable with such contact.
Your fee will be paid to you upon completion of the IVF cycle.
No, you will not incur any expenses in connection with being an egg donor. A list of expenses that you will be reimbursed for can be found on our Compensation and Expenses page.
A nurse at the IVF Clinic will give you detailed instructions about your recovery, but most women are able to return to their normal routine the day after the retrieval.
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