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Who Can Donate Their Eggs? Egg Donation and You

Who can donate their eggs? Are there risks or side effects? Does it hurt? Who is going to use my eggs? These are some examples of valid questions a young woman asks herself when deciding to become an egg donor. Let’s explore some common questions about the egg donation process, which may be able to help you make this life-changing decision.

Have more questions? If you’re considering egg donation but find yourself at a crossroad, visit our Become an Egg Donor: Egg Donation Requirements & FAQ's page.

Why Do Women Donate Their Eggs?

Donating your eggs is one of the most noble, humanitarian acts a woman can do, because nothing compares to sharing the gift of life with others. You should be proud to play such a significant role in helping someone’s hopes and dreams come to fruition. There are no “wrong” reasons for considering egg donation, either. Whether you’re doing it to grant someone else’s lifelong wish or to fund your future goals, the bottom line is your generous contribution will help build a happy and loving family.

Who Qualifies to Donate Eggs?

Not everyone qualifies to donate; in fact, less than 10% of all applicants are accepted into most programs. Given such strict protocols, it’s quite an honor to qualify to be an egg donor. Here are a few typical requirements:

You must…

  • be free of tobacco or narcotic use
  • not be infected by any STDs
  • be physically and emotionally sound
  • agree to have a thorough genetic screening
  • agree to be evaluated by a psychologist
  • be available for approximately four months to finish the process
  • be willing to self-administer injectable medications
  • be between 21– 33 years old

How Do I Produce Enough Eggs?

After passing preliminary screening, your doctor will place you on medication to stimulate your ovaries to generate several mature eggs. You’ll have all the instructions you need to easily self-administer the medications. Typically, the first few shots will prove a bit difficult, but you’ll quickly get used to it. During your prescribed treatment period, you’ll visit the clinic to monitor your body’s responses to the medications. Some women will need to visit once every couple of days, while others may need to visit daily.

What Are the Risks?

The most common risk associated with egg donation is Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Regular clinic visits help lower the risk of OHSS, which typically occurs about 10 days into the medication period. Some women naturally run a higher risk of OHSS than others; however, every woman who undergoes the egg donation process is potentially at risk. Medication like Lupron can substantially lower the risk, which is why it's used is becoming more popular in the United States. Don’t hesitate to notify your doctor if you observe any of the following symptoms of OHSS:

  • Cramping and abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Diarrhea

OHSS usually subsides naturally in approximately one week. However, serious cases need medical aid and result in the cancellation of the egg collection procedure.

What Is the Egg Retrieval Process Like?

When the medical team monitoring you observes that your ovaries are prepared, they’ll ask you to administer a “trigger shot” causing your ovaries to release mature eggs for retrieval. Timing is critical for this to work properly. Therefore, do it exactly when your doctor says.

On the day of egg retrieval, a light anesthesia will be administered to remove your eggs from their follicles with a thin needle. After that, your donated eggs will be preserved through a high-tech procedure referred to as “vitrification,” which prevents ice crystal formation when freezing. Then, your donated eggs will be stored until they’re selected.

After egg retrieval, some women recover and resume normal activities the next day, while others take a little longer. There might also be constipation, light bleeding, abdominal pain, and cramping.

How Will I Feel During This Process?

Giving a part of yourself to another is bound to produce a rollercoaster of emotions. It is perfectly normal if you feel hesitant, confused, sad, worried, embarrassed. If you fear you’ll regret contributing a part of yourself to an unknown family, think about the look in the lucky mother’s eyes as she gazes upon her beautiful baby – one that she most likely waited for years to love and cherish.  She’ll most certainly bless and thank you in her heart for helping to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother.

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