We’ve all heard about egg and sperm donors helping couples with fertility issues to finally become parents at last
While the concept of sperm donation is fairly straightforward, egg donation is rather more complicated.
As a female, you may be thinking about donating your eggs, but feel unsure about what exactly is involved. If you have lots of unanswered questions regarding the process, you are definitely not alone. This article will clarify exactly what is involved for egg donors, while identifying ways to stay safe and protect yourself during the process.
Egg donation is heavily regulated by the FDA, with strict criteria and screening tests in place to protect both donors and their recipients
Compensation for donors is usually in the form of a financial payment and will vary in amount depending on whether it is a direct donation, through an appropriate agency, or with a fertility clinic. Guidelines relating to compensation payouts are in place to avoid women donating purely for the purpose of financial gain. It is hoped that donors are inspired for reasons such as helping make the dream of becoming a parent possible for those experiencing fertility difficulties, or for furthering medical and scientific research, as opposed to making some extra pounds. Those purely interested in the money are at a greater risk of regretting their choice at a later date.
To reduce the chance of health complications for the donor and also to avoid the event of babies being produced with hundreds of half-brothers or sisters, there is currently a limit on how many times one person can donate their eggs. No donor should donate their eggs more than the maximum of six times.
Females ages between 21 and 32 are eligible egg donation candidates, but the intense screening process – both physically and psychologically – mean that not everyone will be accepted. Factors such as current and past health, BMI, STI history and lifestyle are taken into consideration. The actual assessment phase can last as long as six weeks.
While anonymous donation is legal in many parts of the World, the UK requires all donors to sign a register that can be accessed by those born using IVF when they turn 18
Donors are required to update the register with changes to their health and contact details. Despite not being anonymous forever, donors will not have any legal responsibility for the children they produce.
Egg donation is more complex than sperm donation, with the procedure taking around two weeks to complete.
It involves the self administration of hormones that are designed to stimulate the ovaries and cause ovulation to occur. The hormones are usually injected, so if you have a phobia of needles then egg donation is probably not for you.
The actual egg retrieval is a relatively quick process, lasting around twenty minutes, although you should set aside at least a few hours
During the retrieval procedure, donors are sedated by means of IV. The majority of women report experiencing stomach cramps over the following few days.
Most donors can remain in work during the hormone injection phase and return back to work the morning after the egg retrieval, so there is minimal disruption to their career.
As many as 80% of egg donors are asked if they wish to repeat the process, however it is recommended that you wait at least a month before doing so
After completing a cycle of egg donation, it is worth mentioning that you will be highly fertile until you next have a period. For this reason, it is suggested that you avoid engaging in sexual intercourse until you have menstruated. Even if you start using the pill as a form of contraception, you should also use condoms for at least two weeks.
There is no stereotype of the typical egg donor
Women from all walks of life are nowadays donating their eggs. From young women looking to increase their income and pay off student debts, to the more mature female who doesn’t intend to have children of her own, but wants to make the dream of parenthood possible for others.