Egg donation is an opportunity to change another person’s life and your own. Your donated eggs can help other people create the family they so much desire, and you will also receive generous compensation that can help you fulfill your own dreams. But not everyone has what it takes to donate eggs. Plus, there are many things you need to be aware of before you begin the egg donation program, including the steps involved, donor compensation, potential risks, and more. In this article, we’ll discuss what the egg donation process looks like and some of the things you can look forward to as a prospective egg donor.
Once you’ve decided to donate eggs and choose the clinic or agency you wish to work with, they will begin the screening process. This is to make sure that you are a good candidate for egg donation and to provide the intended parents with the information they need to make an informed decision.
Below is an overview of what you can expect during the egg donor screening and intake process
1. History & Medical Examination
During this process, the fertility experts at the agency or clinic will ask you plenty of questions about your personal and family health. You need to be honest about your answers and let them know if you have any history of drug abuse or risky sexual behavior. They will also ask you personal questions to have an idea of your personality, including your hobbies, level of education, accomplishments, and physical traits.
2. Blood Work & Pelvic ultrasound
You will then have to complete several blood tests and fertility-specific testing to assess your reproductive and general health. This will include testing for infectious diseases like herpes, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, etc.
Before you are accepted as a donor, you will also undergo an ultrasound examination to evaluate the health of your ovaries and your ability to have children.
3. Psychological Screening
Your chosen agency or clinic will schedule a meeting between you and a trained psychologist, who will ensure that you understand the egg donor process and the risks involved. He will also help you deal with the emotional and psychological aspects of egg donation.
If you have married, your spouse may also be required to undergo screening and testing before you can be allowed to donate. Your partner will be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV and complete psychological screening to be sure that he or she understands the egg donation process and supports your decision
4. Legal Agreements To Become An Egg Donor
After completing the screening process, you will need to sign a legal contract with the fertility clinic or agency. It is advised that you hire your own attorney to help go through the agreements and ensure that your interests are protected before you sign the dotted lines
5. Preparation for Egg Donation
Prior to the egg retrieval procedure, you will probably be placed on medication to synchronize your menstrual cycle with that of the recipient. You will then begin to administer hormonal injections to stimulate your ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs at once. During this period, you will have several ultrasound examinations to determine how your body is responding to the drugs.
Approximately 72 hours before the egg retrieval, you will receive the last hormonal injection to trigger the release of the eggs from the ovaries.
The fertility doctor at the clinic or agency will then carry out a transvaginal ovarian aspiration to collect the eggs from your ovaries. This procedure lasts about 20-30 minutes and is usually done under mild anesthesia or sedation. Since this is a minor procedure, you will not have to stay overnight at the clinic or hospital.
After Your Donation
Following your egg retrieval, you will go home or to your hotel room to recover. If you are like most women, you should be able to resume your regular activities the next day.
The egg donation programs may or may not provide aftercare to ensure that you experience no health issues and fully recover from the procedure. Since egg donation can have an emotional and psychological impact on you as a donor, you may want to consult a psychotherapist or health counselor once you complete a donation cycle.
Risk & Side Effects of Egg Donation
Relatively safe. You may experience bleeding when the physician inserts the aspiration needle into your ovaries, but this rarely causes serious problems. Infections can also occur after the egg retrieval procedure, so the doctor will prescribe some antibiotics to help avoid this.
Although rare, it is possible to experience symptoms of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) after egg donation. So, you’ll need to watch out for common signs, such as excessive bloating and pelvic tenderness, and let the agency or clinic know if you have any of them.
The discomfort and bloating normally reduce on their own once you see your menstruation. But in some rare cases, the symptoms of OHSS can be severe and pose great harm to your fertility or life. Make sure to see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms below:
- Difficulty breath
- Severe pelvic pain
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Rapid weight gain
- Reduced urination
- Pain or redness in the leg
Egg Donor Compensation
As an egg donor, you can expect to receive between $5000 and $10,000 for every donation cycle. If you have specific qualities that the parents want, you may get offers of up to $15,000 from agencies or those looking for donors via ads.
Bear in mind, though, that you are not receiving payment for your eggs. Instead, you are being compensated for your time, efforts, and inconvenience of undergoing the donation process.
The egg donor compensation is usually held in escrow and released in portions as you complete each “milestone” of the egg donation process. While you can also be compensated for a directed egg donation (when the eggs are donated with a particular recipient in mind), you have to know that the egg recipient will pay this money themselves, not the agency or fertility clinic.
Lastly, remember that you will have to pay taxes on the compensation you receive from egg donation. So, it is advisable to reserve a percentage of what you got for tax time.
Regulations regarding egg donation vary from one country to the other. But most nations allow women to donate eggs as long as they are receiving payment for their eggs. In the United States, you are free to donate eggs and get financial compensation for your donation. Many clinics will ask you to sign an agreement with them to make sure you don’t have any legal responsibilities or rights over children conceived with your eggs. Note that the baby’s birth certificate will bear the name of the egg recipient as the birth mother, even though she’s not genetically related to the child.
Your gift of egg donation can be invaluable to people who require fertility treatment to have a child. The egg donation procedure is short and safe for most people. As a donor, you will also receive generous compensation for your time and efforts during the egg donation process.
Before you begin the program, you will have to undergo an extensive screening process to know you are a good fit for egg donation and to be sure your eggs have a high chance of resulting in a healthy pregnancy. After the procedure, you may experience mild side effects like bloating and discomfort, which often subside with time, but if the symptoms persist, you will need to consult your physician as soon as possible.