Egg Donation: 3 Things To Know

Egg donation is a rewarding and fulfilling way to help couples and individuals who are having trouble getting pregnant make their dreams of having a family come true. Choosing to assist in reproduction by donating your eggs is a major decision that requires a lot of thought and research. If you're interested in becoming an egg donor, it's crucial for you to know what the process involves. If you've decided to donate your eggs, here are three things you need to know. 

Donor Requirements

Potential egg donors must meet certain requirements in order to donate their eggs. The requirements help ensure that donors are physically and emotionally healthy and in an ideal fertile condition. Check with the fertility clinic to make sure you meet their guidelines before inquiring further regarding egg donation. A few requirements including being between the ages of 22 and 29, being a non-smoker, having regular monthly periods with no reproductive abnormalities and committing to the process for a minimum of about six months. If you meet the requirements, you can then move forward and complete and application. 

You'll Administer Injectable Hormones

Expect to undergo a series of physical exams and laboratory tests, as well as a psychological evaluation and several interviews. Once you're approved, you'll be matched with a recipient. You will need to self-administer injectable hormonal medication to help your ovaries produce enough eggs for the egg cycle. Don't worry, doctors will monitor you closely during this time, so expect to make several visits to the doctor. Once the physician determines the eggs are ready for fertilization, you'll use a different injectable medication to stimulate ovulation and then the eggs are retrieved the following day. Each donation cycle takes about three to four weeks. 

Side Effects and Risks

Because you'll be increasing reproductive hormones through the use of the injectable medication, you may experience temporary weight gain. This is often due to water retention and usually resolves when your next period starts. You may also experience moodiness, breast tenderness, and feel tender in the area of your ovaries. These symptoms are temporary and generally mild. Doctors work to balance stimulating egg production, without overstimulating, which helps reduce the risk of major side effects. In rare instances, donors develop a condition called ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, which is more severe. However, it occurs in fewer than 5 percent of egg donors. Your doctor will discuss all associated side effects and risks with you prior to getting your consent.