Why should I consider becoming an egg donor?
Donation candidates are women in their 20’s who want to help people build families. Today, people regularly donate blood and organs to people in need; donating gametes is on par with these selfless acts of generosity.
Donors receive financial compensation for the time and effort involved in the donation process. Throughout the donation cycle, donors will also receive free physical and fertility screenings, including a screening that reveals any genetic conditions that a donor may carry and/or pass on to any future offspring.
How do I apply?
The first step to becoming an egg donor is to fill out our initial online application, which you can complete in under 5-minutes. If you meet the basic eligibility requirements of our donor screening program (listed below), you will be asked to complete our full application. If you are accepted upon completion of the full donor screening application, you will be contacted to schedule your first in-person consultation at the clinic. At that time, your egg donor nurse coordinator will walk you through all aspects of the egg donation process and will answer any questions you may have about egg donation.
What are your requirements for donors, and how are they screened?
Egg donors must be between 21 – 30 years of age. Donation cycles must be completed before a donor’s 31st birthday. Donors must also meet certain weight and height criteria (described below). Donors must be nonsmokers. Finally, donors with at least some education beyond high school are strongly preferred.
To determine eligibility beyond the initial age, height and weight criteria, donors must complete genetic, medical, and psychological testing at a Prelude donation center. The screening procedures include blood draws, a vaginal ultrasound, and a physical and interview with a donation center clinician. The psychological assessment includes a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory / Personality Assessment Inventory (MMPI/PAI).
How long does the screening process take? Why is it so comprehensive?
The screening process typically takes one to two months. The primary focus throughout our donor screening process is donor safety: we spend a tremendous amount of time and effort with each donor to make sure that she is physically and emotionally ready to donate. As an egg donation candidate, you will receive free physical, genetic, and psychological evaluations to assess your overall health and wellbeing. All donors will receive a copy of their physical, genetic and fertility results to keep for their health records and future use.
What is the height and weight criteria? Why do you measure my BMI?
Donors must meet be 5 feet 0 inches or taller and have a weight that corresponds to a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 18 and 26. These BMI restrictions are in place to protect the safety of our donors: over many years of experience with the medications used during the egg donation process, we have found that donors who are outside of this BMI range have higher risk for medical complications. The health and safety of our donors is our top priority, and thus we only accept donors within this BMI range.
Do I need to come off of my birth control to donate?
Some donors are taken off of their birth control before getting started, while others may be put on a pill to coordinate the cycle. This determination is unique to each individual donor and will be made in consultation with her physician. Applicants should not make changes to existing birth control regimens prior to speaking with an egg donor nurse coordinator.
Do I need health insurance to donate? Are there any out-of-pocket expenses? What if complications arise?
You do not need health insurance to become an egg donor: we have our own insurance that offers protection to you throughout the egg donation process. We cover all expenses associated with the stimulation and egg retrieval process, so there are no out-of-pocket expenses at any point during the donation cycle. Your health is our primary focus throughout this process, and should any complications arise as a result of your egg donation, we will cover all associated medical costs.
Can I donate eggs if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
No, you cannot donate eggs until a minimum of five months post-partum. In order to donate after a pregnancy, you must have had at least two normal periods and you must be completely finished breastfeeding.
Can I donate eggs if my tubes are tied?
Yes, you can donate your eggs, even if your tubes are tied. Only the ovaries are involved in the donation process: the fallopian tubes are not involved in the retrieval cycle.
Can I donate eggs if I have tattoos?
Yes, you can donate your eggs if you have tattoos, however the FDA requires that any egg donor with tattoos must have received the tattoos under sterile conditions to avoid infections.
What is the process for an egg donation cycle? How long does it take?
Approximately one month after you have been accepted as an egg donor, or whenever it is appropriate within the your menstrual cycle, egg production will be stimulated with fertility medications. Donors are typically on the stimulation medications for approximately two weeks. During these two weeks, donors return to the clinic for lab work and ultrasounds are done to monitor egg growth. These monitoring appointments are each approximately 30 minutes in duration, and donors will visit the clinic for at least 4 monitoring appointments during their cycle. Upon egg maturation, a final injection will be given to mature the eggs and prepare them for retrieval. Thirty-six hours after the injection, the eggs will be retrieved vaginally under intravenous sedation. This is the only time during the entire donation process where a donor will be required to devote an entire day to the donation experience. After the eggs are retrieved, the IVF laboratory will freeze and store them. The full stimulation process and egg retrieval takes 10-14 days.
During the donation cycle, how often do I need to come in to my donation center for monitoring and how long are the monitoring appointments? Can I do those appointments early in the morning or in the evening?
Once you have been approved to donate, you will need to come in for at least 4 monitoring appointments within a six to nine day period. The purpose of these appointments is to monitor your eggs until they have fully matured. During a monitoring appointment, your clinician will perform a blood draw to assess your hormone levels, then will monitor your ovaries using an ultrasound. Following your ultrasound, your clinician will determine how much medication you need to continue progressing through your donation cycle. You are carefully monitored throughout this process to ensure that you are always receive the right dose of medications unique to your body.
Please check with your donation center to learn their exact hours for donor appointments. Many donation centers can schedule appointments as early as 7AM.
What type of medications are needed for egg retrieval?
To prepare for egg retrieval, you will undergo a series of injections of ovulation stimulating agents over approximately 10-12 days, including human gonadotropin and follicle stimulating hormone to stimulate multiple egg production. A substance known as a “GNRH agonist” or Antagonist is used in conjunction with these drugs to reduce ovarian function. A Lupron injection is used to trigger ovulation and assists in the maturation process of the eggs prior to retrieval.
Will someone teach me to administer the medications?
Yes, an egg donor nurse coordinator will provide an individual medication training session. During this meeting, your nurse coordinator will teach you the injection technique used to self-administer the stimulation medications. You will also receive an instructional video specific to each medication which you may refer to whenever you would like a step-by-step review of the medication process. Finally, there is always a nurse on call to answer any questions that may arise throughout the stimulation process.
How are eggs collected?
Eggs are collected by vaginal, ultrasound-guided aspiration of ovarian follicles. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia and intravenous (IV) sedation, using a specially designed needle to enter the ovarian follicles through the vaginal wall. After egg retrieval, you will receive an antibiotic both by IV and orally.
Donated eggs are then cryopreserved (vitrified using extreme cold) and stored in Prelude’s egg bank. Once selected by a recipient, these eggs are thawed and inseminated with sperm to produce embryos.
What is the egg retrieval process like? How long does it take? Does it hurt? Will I be able to return to work the next day?
This is the only time during the entire donation process where a donor will be required to devote an entire day to the donation experience. During the 15-20 minute egg retrieval procedure, you will receive light IV sedation. Following the retrieval, you will rest for approximately 1 hour before you are released to go home. Due to the anesthesia used during the procedure, you are required to have a friend or family member who is able to drive you home from the clinic. You may have some mild discomfort following your procedure, however the level of discomfort varies for each person. The most commonly reported symptoms include cramping, spotting, and bloating, and many donors choose to relax at home with Tylenol for the remainder of the day. Most donors are able to return to work the day after the procedure, while others may need an additional day to recover. Your body will resume its normal menstrual cycle within 1-2 weeks after egg retrieval.
Will donating my eggs affect my ability to have children in the future?
Studies have shown no correlation between egg donation and future infertility: many of our donors have built beautiful families of their own. In fact, the screening process that donors undergo provides early insight into donors’ own fertility and can help them to understand the best approach for planning their own family in the future. All donors will receive a copy of their physical, genetic and fertility results to keep for their own records.
I’ve read about OHSS. What is that and what is the risk that will happen to me?
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS, occurs when the ovaries become swollen and painful. OHSS can cause a donor to feel bloating, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, and temporary problems urinating. However, since the current stimulation protocol used by MyEggBank has been implemented, there have been no reported cases of OHSS.
How many eggs will be donated?
The number of eggs donated is unique to each individual. A woman is born with all of the eggs that she will ever produce in her lifetime. Every month, about 15-20 eggs mature naturally within a woman’s follicles. Under normal circumstances, only one follicle reaches maturity and releases an egg for ovulation, while the rest are discarded by the body. In an egg donation cycle, donors are given medication to stimulate the maturation of all 15-20 eggs. This means that during a donation cycle, only the eggs that a donor has available during the 1-month period of donation will be stimulated and retrieved. The following month when a donor begins her menstrual cycle, a set of 15-20 eggs will begin the process anew. A donation cycle only retrieves the eggs that naturally would have been depleted during the 1-month donation period.
How many times can I donate eggs?
You can donate up to 6 times, as long as you have been approved by our clinicians to return for additional donation cycles. Many of our donors choose to donate several times. Eligibility for repeat donations will be determined in consultation with your physician and donor coordination team.
What is the difference between fresh and frozen donor cycles?
Fresh egg donation cycles involve stimulation of the donor, retrieval and insemination of her eggs, with transfer to the recipient, all within a few weeks. This process is often time-consuming and complicated: a donor who completes a fresh cycle must synch medical processes with the recipient of her eggs, meaning that the timing and logistics of the donation process are often outside of the donor’s control.
With a frozen donor egg cycle, donors are treated in advance, then eggs collected and frozen for future use. A donor who completes a frozen cycle may do so at her convenience and with a care team of her choosing: all visits are scheduled at the donor’s convenience, and donors are compensated immediately upon completion of the donation cycle.
Recipients using frozen eggs will select their donor, as eggs are needed. There is no significant difference in IVF success rates between embryos produced by fresh or frozen eggs.
How long can eggs be stored?
Indefinitely as no evidence has been found that quality deteriorates once the eggs are frozen.
Who is eligible to receive eggs?
Egg recipient candidates can be heterosexual couples struggling to conceive, homosexual couples building their families, or single men or women who cannot achieve pregnancy on their own.
What happens when a recipient selects the eggs?
When recipients choose to build their family using donor eggs, the frozen eggs will be thawed and inseminated with either the recipient’s partner’s or donated sperm to produce embryos, which are then genetically sequenced to check their health and viability in a process called Preimplantation Genetic Screening (“PGS”).
Once an embryo has passed PGS, it is then selected for single embryo transfer. During a single embryo transfer (SET), only one embryo is selected and transferred, reducing the chances of miscarriage, clinical abortions or a multi-birth pregnancy. Women receiving embryos made with donor eggs and/or sperm must undergo a recipient cycle. This involves taking medication for ~10 days, followed by transfer of a single embryo that passed PGS screening in a Prelude clinic.
If the process is anonymous and the recipient couple does not see my adulthood photo, why do I submit one during the application process?
The adulthood photo that is submitted with your donor application is only available to clinical staff – recipients cannot see this photo. Your photo is used internally to help potential recipients understand how similar your physical characteristics may be to the recipient’s characteristics. Clinical staff describe the adulthood photo to recipients: recipients can only see your childhood photos, they do not receive or see the adulthood photo.
Is my donation anonymous? Will the recipient be able to contact me? Will any potential children be able to contact me?
Egg donation through MyEggBank is an anonymous process, meaning your identity will not be shared with the recipient of your eggs. To maintain anonymity, donors are not informed as to the outcome of their eggs. All donation, receipt, and outcomes remain anonymous to all parties.
MyEggBank offers the egg donors to have their identity disclosed to a donor-conceived child or potential donor-conceived children. If a donor chooses to release her identity to a donor-conceived child, she signs the disclosure affidavit indicating that. If this consent is provided, the donor-conceived child may request his/her donor’s information upon his/her 18th birthday. Again, the donor-concieved child must be 18 years of age and must specifically request donor information. Donors should be mindful that not every child born from donor eggs will want to know the identity of their egg donor, and not every recipient parent will share this information with their child.
Do I bear any legal responsibility to any children born from my donated eggs?
No, you are not legally responsible for any donor-conceived children. You assume no legal liabilities nor legal responsibilities for any child conceived from your egg donation. The reciprocal is also true: you have no legal rights to any child conceived through your donation.
How does donor compensation work?
Donors receive generous financial compensation for the time and effort involved in the donation process. Compensation is distributed upon completion of your donation cycle. Donor compensation varies based on geographic location: please contact your donation center to learn more about compensation in your area.
Depending on your location and your donation center’s policies, you may be eligible for increased compensation upon completion of subsequent donation cycles. While donors are often eager to donate multiple times, eligibility for additional cycles is determined in consultation with your physician after each cycle.
Women who donate three or more times are offered the option of fertility preservation on the third cycle of donation. This option is available for donors who produce over 22 eggs to freeze, with 6-8 eggs reserved for a donor for cryopreservation.
Do my eggs need to be selected in order to be compensated?
No — all donors are compensated upon completion of each donation cycle. Unlike donation agencies, which often utilize fresh donor egg transfers and therefore require long waits for donor-recipient matching, every egg retrieved from one of our donors is frozen and stored in our egg bank. Donors are compensated at their post-procedure check-in, typically within 1-week of the retrieval procedure.
If you're ready to become an egg donor, the first step is to fill out the MyEggBank donor application.Become a Donor