Written By: Dr. Dorette Noorhasan, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and co-founder and medical director of CCRM Fertility of Dallas-Fort Worth
There are thousands of families whose path to parenthood requires the generosity of egg donors to have a baby. Unfortunately, myths about egg donation continue to perpetuate in the media and online potentially dissuading individuals from considering this life-changing opportunity. We will dispel these myths to provide an accurate portrayal of the egg donation process to help you decide if donating your eggs is right for you.
Below are a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about egg donation.
1. Anyone can donate their eggs
To ensure the egg donor recipient has the best chance of bringing home a baby, the donated eggs need to come from a young and healthy donor. In addition to the requirements below, you will under psychological and physical screenings, including fertility testing.
To become an egg donor at CCRM Fertility, donors must:
- Be 19 to 33 years old,
• Be a non-smoker,
• Not take recreational drugs,
• Have a body mass index (BMI) between 19 to 29.9,
• Have no body piercings or tattoos within the past 12 months,
• Know their health history and their family’s health history
2. You might run out of eggs
You are born with born with millions of immature eggs and even in your mid-20s, you will have thousands of eggs left in your “ovarian reserve.” During an egg retrieval, about 10-20 eggs are collected. The eggs collected for that cycle were eggs that you were going to have for that cycle regardless of whether or not you donated. Therefore, egg donation does not put you earlier menopause than you were genetically predisposed to nor does it deplete your eggs.
Also, as part of the fertility testing process, if it’s determined you have a low ovarian reserve, or if you have fewer eggs than average for your age, you will not likely be candidate for egg donation.
3. Egg donation is painful
Some patients may experience some discomfort during the egg donation process, but the egg retrieval procedure is not painful.
Egg donation involves taking daily injectable fertility medication for about 8-12 days to stimulate your ovaries to grow as many eggs as possible. The injections have minimal discomfort and may feel like sharp pinch. The ovarian stimulation medications may cause bloating, lower abdominal cramping, and/or nausea, but are generally mild and temporary.
When your eggs are mature, you will undergo a procedure in which the eggs are carefully aspirated with a very fine needle. The egg retrieval is performed under sedation, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure. After the retrieval, you might experience some intermittent cramping and bloating for several days to a week.
4. Egg donors can donate as many times as they want
Many donors choose to donate more than once. However, there are limits on the number of times you can donate your eggs. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), egg donors cannot undergo more than six ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval procedures.
5. Egg donors are only in it for the money
It’s true that egg donors are compensated for their time and commitment. Donors at CCRM Fertility earn between $7,000 – $10,000 per egg retrieval depending on where they live and how many times they’ve donated. For most egg donors, the primary motivation to donate eggs is a selfless one. Even when someone becomes a donor for the appeal of payment, they become invested in helping others start and/or grow their families. The reason that egg donors receive compensation is because they are taking medications to stimulate their ovaries and undergoing an egg retrieval under anesthesia. While the chances of a serious complication is less than 1%, donors need to be compensated for their time and putting their bodies at risk.
6. Egg donors need to have a relationship with their offspring
Egg donors are either someone who is known (friend, family member) to the recipient or the donor is anonymous. In either case, there are legally binding contracts in place so the egg donor recipients can’t ask you for child support. Egg donors don’t have any legal rights to the eggs or resulting embryos once you go through the egg retrieval.
Apply to Become an Egg Donor
Finding a well-respected clinic with knowledgeable fertility specialists can make the donation process safe, efficient, and rewarding. Complete this easy, initial online application, to find out if you are eligible to become an egg donor.