Q: What is an egg donor?

A: An egg donor is a woman who offers to donate her eggs from her ovaries to another person to help them grow a family. There are many people who cannot use their own eggs for a variety of reasons – for example, they may be at an older have, have had multiple miscarriages, or have had their ovaries removed. In order for them to have a baby, an egg donor’s eggs are combined with sperm in the IVF lab.

Q: What are the steps in the process?

A: Before making a donation, an egg donor undergoes a screening process which includes an ultrasound examination of the ovaries, laboratory blood tests, genetic evaluation, and a visit with a reproductive psychologist. 

Once that is complete, the egg donation process takes approximately two weeks. During that time, a woman will give herself hormone injections (shots) two to three times per day to help her ovaries produce eggs. She also has frequent appointments during that time to monitor how her ovaries are responding to the hormone shots. Each appointment includes a vaginal ultrasound and blood test to check hormone levels. After her ovaries have grown the eggs, she has an egg retrieval. The retrievals are performed under anesthesia, and the physician team uses a small needle that is inserted through the vagina into both of the ovaries to remove the eggs. 

Q: How long does everything take?

A: The screening process can take one to two months, depending on how quickly everything is completed. The ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval will take approximately two weeks.

Q: Will egg donation affect my future fertility?

A: No. The hormone shots recruit a group of eggs that would otherwise degenerate during your natural cycle. Essentially, the process retrieves eggs that your body would not have released for you to become pregnant on your own. The process also doesn't put women into menopause faster or take away from a woman's own future ovulation.

Q: Is it painful?

A: No, not typically. The medications can cause bloating from the ovarian enlargement, but it's not typically painful. Women have anesthesia during the retrieval, so they don’t feel the needle.

Q: What are the side effects of the medications?

A: Mostly bloating and feeling full. Some women experience mild nausea and mood swings. Most of the side effects go away within a week of the retrieval.

Q: When do I receive payment?

A: Egg donors are paid $7,000 at the time of egg retrieval for their first donation, $7,500 at the time of their second donation and $8,000 at time of third donation.  An egg donor can donate up to six times in their lifetime.

Q: Will I know who selects my eggs?

A: No, you will not know who picks the eggs in order to respect the privacy of our patients.

Q: Any restrictions during the donation process?

A: Yes. We ask women not to travel during the month of the donation, and to have the flexibility to come to frequent appointments. Because the ovaries are bigger during the process, we also ask women not to engage in strenuous activity (e.g. running) or intercourse during the stimulation (the act of bringing multiple eggs to maturity) and while recovering from the retrieval. Both before and during the stimulation, it is important to avoid tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke.