As a society, we are waiting longer and longer to pursue parenthood. The media bombards us with photos of celebrities becoming mothers well into their 40s. That makes us feel safe, like there is still plenty of time to put off having children. However, the reality of our bodies is a different story.
Fertility declines sharply at age 35 and continues to decrease with each passing year. By the time a woman reaches 40, her chances of conceiving naturally or via IVF with her own eggs, is very slim. Women at ages 40+ can still get pregnant, but their chances are increased (by as much as 80%!) using IVF with donor eggs.
What is An Egg Donor?
An egg donor is a woman who anonymously donates her eggs to a couple or individual experiencing infertility and desiring pregnancy.
Who Uses Donor Eggs?
Typically the woman receiving a donor’s eggs has impending or complete ovarian failure. Ovarian failure is one of the leading causes of infertility and may occur for many reasons. Delayed child-bearing, autoimmune diseases, radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, and surgical removal of the ovaries are all examples of why ovarian failure can occur. For women with ovarian failure, there is little to no chance of achieving pregnancy.
Same sex male couples hoping to become parents also look to egg donors to achieve their dream of parenthood.
Why Should I Consider Becoming An Egg Donor?
Most women who research egg donation are originally lured by the compensation offered, but ultimately, those who opt to complete the screening process and go through a stimulation cycle, do so to help couples or individuals build the family they desire.
What Compensation is Offered?
Carolina Conceptions compensates egg donors $4,500 per egg retrieval cycle for their time and kindness. Egg donors can complete a maximum of six donor cycles.
What Are the Physical Requirements for Egg Donors?
- 19- 31 years old
- Outstanding physical & emotional health
- Non-smokers, no recreational drug use
- No known genetic disorders
- BMI (Body Mass Index) of <27
- It is preferred that donors have graduated from an institution of higher learning or are currently attending an institution of higher learning.
Proven fertility demonstrated through children, or through a previously successful egg donation cycle is a bonus.
I May Want to Become An Egg Donor & Meet the Physical Requirements. What’s Next?
- The first step in our application process is to complete Online Prescreening.
- Carolina Conceptions will review your Preliminary Application, and if appropriate, will ask you to complete a more comprehensive application along with a simple blood test to check your AMH (Anti-Mullerian hormone). The value of this hormone level is used to estimate your ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have).
- Our donor coordinator will contact you with the results of your AMH level. If the level falls within acceptable parameters for egg donation, she will confirm this is a decision you want to proceed with.
What Else Should I Know Before Committing to This Process?
Donating eggs is not an easy process and requires a commitment of time and energy. Recipients with whom you may be matched will typically be investing approximately $28,000 just for one attempt at pregnancy, and have likely been through many previous disappointments before arriving at the decision to use donated eggs. Therefore, it’s imperative that once you begin this process, you are committed until its completion.
How Does a Donor Get Matched to An Intended Parent?
Once a woman agrees to become an egg donor, a profile is created for her and added to the Carolina Conceptions Egg Donor Database. Through the use of a password, intended parents (or egg recipients), can look through this private, online database to select a donor who best matches their preferences.
What Happens After An Intended Parent Selects An Egg Donor?
Once the donor is selected by intended parents, the donor will be asked to complete genetic testing, a physical exam, and a psychological evaluation. Our Egg Donor Coordinator and clinical psychologists are available to address questions and concerns regarding the decision to become an egg donor.
What Is Involved Medically for Egg Donors?
- Physical Exam @ CC: Includes signing consent forms and learning how to administer cycle injectable cycle medications
- Medication injections @ home: Approximately 8-12 days
- Monitoring Appointments @ CC: Labs and trans-vaginal ultrasounds will be completed in our office to confirm ovarian response to the injected medications.
- Egg Retrieval: The end of an egg donation cycle culminates in a 15-20 minute, outpatient surgery in our office under light anesthesia to remove the eggs.
Do I Need to Take Time Off From Work or School?
This depends on how flexible a donor’s work or school schedule is. There will be multiple visits to the clinic required for cycle monitoring. ALL of these will occur between 7:30 and 11:30 AM and may occur any day of the week. Only the first 2-3 appointments will have a “set date.” Subsequent appointments will be determined by ovarian response. A typical cycle will require about 4-6 appointments over the course of about 2 weeks.
The day of the egg retrieval procedure donors should not plan on attending school or work. In most cases, donors feel back to about 80-85% “normal” the day after that procedure.
Will I Find Out If Someone Got Pregnant Using My Eggs?
If an egg donor wants to know, she can absolutely find out if her recipient gets pregnant!
Will I Have Enough Eggs Remaining for Myself Should I Decide to Have My Own Children One Day?
YES! Egg donation is based on the idea of “rescuing oocytes” (eggs) that would not otherwise be used by the donor herself, but would instead be destroyed in a “natural” cycle. Egg Donation has been used for 20+ years and so far there is no evidence to suggest a detrimental effect on the donor’s own future fertility.
For more information about becoming an egg donor:
- Watch a video from a former egg donor sharing her experience with Carolina Conceptions
- Learn more about the medications involved in an egg donation cycle
- Learn more about egg retrieval day and the light anesthesia used in this procedure