Frequent Donor Questions
What is the first step of being an egg donor?
Apply online! It’s easy and fast or you can call us at: 305-358-2450. We’ll be happy to meet with you personally or talk to you on the phone and answer any questions and concerns you may have.
How will I be “matched” with Intended Parents?
Intended Parents are looking for a donor who either matches their physical characteristics so that the child will share physical characteristics with the Intended Parents or perhaps they are looking for a combination of characteristics such as physical appearance, interests, hobbies, or academic achievement. Once you qualify to be an egg donor through our agency, your information will be shared with prospective Intended Parents. Generally, we are an anonymous egg donor agency so your identifying confidential information will not be shared. The Intended Parents will not know your identity but will know your physical characteristics and any pertinent details of your medical and family history. In some instances where both egg donor and Intended Parents want an open donation arrangement, we will arrange to have both parties meet.
What is an egg donor?
An egg donor is a special, healthy young woman who wants to provide an extraordinary gift and service to a recipient who strongly desires to have a child but who cannot conceive or give birth to a child. There are many reasons why a woman may need donor eggs, including ovarian problems, genetic risk factors or age. Egg donation involves a physician supervised process in which the donor’s eggs are retrieved, fertilized outside of her body, and then transferred to an intended mother with the hope that the intended mother or a surrogate will become pregnant.
Why do women seek egg donors?
A women who seeks an egg donor egg(s) is someone who desires to have a child but is unable to produce viable eggs from her own ovaries. Various reasons a woman might not be able to produce eggs include premature ovarian failure, infertility due to poor egg quality or age, severe endometriosis, genetic disorders that she does not want to pass on, or elevated follicle stimulating hormone.
What is the ideal age for egg donation?
Statistically, women in their mid-20s are considered ideal candidates for egg donation. Advocates for Surrogacy accepts donor candidates who are between 21 and 32 years old. We will consider candidates who are younger or older on a case by case basis but under no circumstances will we consider anyone younger than 19 years of age or older than 34 years of age.
Will I be paid?
According to American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines, donors may be compensated for the time, inconvenience, and risks involved in egg donation. Remaining within the ASRM guidelines, we offer compensation from $5,500 to $8,000 per completed retrieval cycle, depending on the number of times the donor has worked with our program. In addition, donors receive $500.00 for gas, tolls, parking, and missed work expense. Donors are paid within 72 hours of egg retrieval.
This is in recognition of the time, inconvenience and discomfort that you undergo to donate your eggs.
Will it cost me anything to donate eggs?
There are no out-of-pocket fees for participating in our program. Any travel expenses are paid for by the prospective parents through our program and arranged by Advocates for Surrogacy prior to travel. You will be reimbursed for all routine expenses, such as mileage and parking. In addition you will be compensated.
What if I am on birth control?
You can continue to use birth control pill while you are waiting to be matched with an Intended Parent. If you are using Norplant or Depo Provera you will have to discontinue use for several months before you can donate. If you have an Intrauterine Device (I.U.D.) that does not release any level of hormone, you may be able to donate without removing it.
Will donating eggs now affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?
No. You are born with approximately two million eggs. Each month a group of eggs enter a growth phase that will ultimately result in ovulation. Normally, your body selects only one egg each cycle to ovulate and the remaining eggs from this group do not develop fully and are lost. Fertility medications allow your body to rescue many of those eggs that would have been lost and do not affect any eggs destined to enter growth phase in future cycles.
How many eggs are removed during the retrieval?
On average, ten to twenty eggs are aspirated (removed) per cycle. Donors can produce sixteen or more eggs.
Will I run out of eggs if I give them to someone else?
No. Few women are aware that each month many eggs are dissolved and absorbed by their own bodies prior to the selection of the single egg that will be ovulated. Fertility medications preserve a portion of these excess eggs, which the body would have ordinarily discarded. Therefore, no additional eggs are used up in the process.
What are the side effects of the retrieval?
You may experience very minor discomfort such as bloating, breast tenderness, or some soreness, and your ovaries will be enlarged.
What are normal activities after the procedure?
After the procedure, you MUST have someone drive you home. Though you can generally return to your normal activities such as work and school the next day, you may find that you will wish to sleep for the remainder of the day after the procedure, and we recommend you take it easy for a few days after the retrieval procedure. Your fertility clinic physician may give you other guidelines regarding post-operative activities.
Can the donor have intercourse during the stimulated cycle?
Advocates for Surrogacy prefers you do not have intercourse throughout the cycle, but the fertility clinic physician will give you exact guidelines.
When can I resume sexual intercourse?
You will need to wait at least a week after the aspiration to resume sexual intercourse, preferably after your normal cycle resumes.
When will I get my next period?
The next period of your normal cycle will generally start ten to twelve days after the aspiration.
How many times can I donate?
Based on American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines, we allow each donor up to 6 completed retrieval cycles. However, we require a six-week rest period before you start the medical process for each successive arrangement. Between your fifth and sixth donation we require a three-month rest period.
Who pays my medical bills?
All medical costs are funded by the Intended Parents.
Will I have to miss time from school or work?
Yes, possibly. You will have to go to the clinic six to eight times for ultrasounds and blood work. Appointments are usually early in the morning, so little or no time is missed. You will also have to miss school or work for one to two days for egg retrieval. In some cases the Intended Parents may require you to travel to their clinic in which case travel time is generally between 5-7 days. If you do not wish to travel beyond your local area, then you will be given the opportunity to indicate this in your application.
When does the recipient receive the eggs from me?
After about three days the recipient will have your eggs transferred.
Can I have a tattoo or body piercing?
Before you can donate you must wait at least one year after receiving your tattoo or body piercing.
How many clinic visits are required?
You need to be available for approximately eight monitoring appointments. At these appointments, blood may be drawn and ultrasounds may be performed in order to monitor the response of the medications. These appointments are mandatory and cannot be missed.
What are the risks and side effects?
The infertility physician will explain specific side effects related to the medications you will be administering. These may include:
- Moodiness and Sensitivity
- OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome)
This occurs in 1% to 2% of all donors. This is a condition in which your body has over-responded to the injectable medications, and your ovaries have become excessively enlarged. This is the most significant risk involved in egg donation and one that should not be taken lightly. It is treated with antibiotics and will generally disappear within 7 days. It may, however, cause discomfort.
Carefully monitoring your treatment prior to retrieval is the most important aspect in preventing ovarian hyper stimulation. Most donors return to their normal activities the day after egg retrieval. You are fully covered by an insurance policy should you require additional medical attention due to ovarian hyperstimulation.
I have an IUD, can I still donate?
Yes. once you are chosen as a donor, you will be asked to have your IUD removed at your own expense. If a donor has her own insurance, this is often covered.
Can I be an egg donor if I am pregnant?
No, you cannot be an egg donor while you are pregnan. You have to take follicle stimulating hormones which could be harmful to your baby and also undergo sedation for the retrieval. If you are pregnant, your body is not currently stimulating eggs. You will need to wait six months post the birth of your baby before you can donate. You can apply three months post the birth, but we will not be able to match you until it has been six months.
I just had a baby, can I still donate?
Yes, provided you are no longer breast feeding. Also, you should wait 3 months and then apply and we can match you at 6 months past the birth of your child.
How long is the entire process?
Once a donor is chosen, the cycle is most often completed within a two- to three-month timeframe.
What happens during the retrieval?
It is only a 20- to 30-minute procedure, during which time you will feel no discomfort. You will be given a sedative and you will be given a vaginal anesthetic. The eggs are retrieved vaginally through an ultra-sound guided needle.
How long do the side effects last?
Most side effects will dissipate within 3-4 days after retrieval.
Is donor compensation taxable?
The IRS recently issues a decision that egg donor compensation is taxable income and must be reported.
Are there any forms of birth control that will prevent me from being accepted as an egg donor with your program?
You will not be considered or accepted into our program as an egg donor if you are currently using Depo-Provera, Norplant or a Hormonal IUD, such as Mirena. You will be required to have at least three regular menstrual cycles after you discontinue using these methods of birth control. If you have a Non-Hormonal IUD or are using birth control pills this will not affect your ability to donate.
Why is it important to be height and weight proportionate?
It is necessary for you to be within a healthy weight range so that you are not at an increased risk for medical complications while participating in an egg donation cycle.
Will donating eggs now affect my fertility or the ability to have children in the future?
No. All currently available information shows that there is no decrease in a donor’s ability to get pregnant after completing a normal retrieval.
What happens once I am chosen by an Intended Parent and agree to be their Donor?
- The entire process should take between 6 to 8 weeks.
- We will schedule your initial required psychological evaluation and testing and medical evaluation.
- You will receive a contract and you will meet with an agency-appointed attorney for legal consultation and contract review.
- The treating physician will counsel you through the process and inform you of your schedule and how and when to begin taking the fertility medication.
- You will be scheduled for a procedure that will remove the eggs from your ovaries. This procedure usually takes about 30-40 minutes and is done under sedation in an outpatient setting.
- You will receive your compensation check within 3 days after the retrieval.
How long will it take to be matched?
This is not something we can predict. Some donors have been matched within one week of applying; others have taken as long as one year and some may never be matched.
What are the primary risks and side effects of taking the fertility medication?
The primary risk is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. This is relatively rare (1-3% of cases). Your physician will monitor you carefully in order to avoid this possibility. Side effects include weight gain and a feeling of extreme bloating. Also, as with any procedure, a risk of infection exists, you will most likely be given antibiotics to avoid this.
What are my responsibilities to the children that may be born from this process?
You are not responsible to any children born from this process. The Intended Parents assume all responsibility. This will be outlined in your contract.
Must I have health insurance?
No. The Intended Parents are responsible for all of your medical costs and for supplementary insurance should any complications arise which are directly related to the egg retrieval process.
How many times can I donate?
Advocates for Surrogacy will allow you to donate up to six times in your lifetime, depending upon the approval of a treating physician.
Will it hurt?
That will vary depending on the individual. In an average retrieval cycle you will be taking a series of subcutaneous (small needles injected under the surface of the skin) injections over an 8 to 14 day period to cause you to produce a number of mature eggs instead of the single egg that normally develops each month. Throughout the process the physician will use blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor your health and the development of your follicles. You should not feel any pain during the egg retrieval procedure itself because you will be under light anesthesia. Some donors have reported soreness and discomfort the following day.
What does my biographical information include?
Your biographical background information includes a three-generation family health and genetic history, physical characteristics, educational background, sexual history, and talents and interests. We will also ask you to write a one-page letter explaining why you would like to be a donor. Since the recipient will not meet with you personally, some of our questions are meant to give you the chance to express your personality.
Why should I work with Advocates for Surrogacy?
Our team is comprised of professionals. Our Executive Director is an attorney. Becoming an egg donor is a major decision for you and you will need to explore personal, legal and psychological issues.
What is my first step?
Your first step is to apply online, contact us by email or call us at 305-358-2450.