Common Questions from Egg Donors
Whether you have been an egg donor before or this is the first time you are considering egg donation, Forward Fertility always welcomes questions. You will find some of the common questions donors have had in the past on this page. However, if there is a question on your mind and you do not see the answer here, please email Forward Fertility at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be replied to within 1-2 business days.
Asking questions about the process shows you care about the details. Forward Fertility cares about the details, too.
Are you considering becoming an egg donor?
If after reading these common questions, Egg Donation sounds like something you would like to explore further, click here to complete a short screening application. Or, review the Learn More or Process pages for Egg Donors.
COMMON APPLICATION QUESTIONS
- Forward Fertility requires egg donors to be between the ages of 20-29 years when they apply.
- Per the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) guidelines, donors must be 21 years old to donate their eggs.
- In some cases, a donor will remain in the pool or be accepted when she is between the ages of 30-32, if she has medical records indicating she has had a recent successful egg donation.
YES. If you just had a baby and you are interested in egg donation; you should apply now. When you have recovered from your delivery and have discontinued nursing, you will be able to donate your eggs. The application process and getting matched with the right couple will take some time. Forward Fertility will work around your recovery and breastfeeding plans to make sure you can donate when you are ready.
If you had a healthy pregnancy and delivery, you may also be interested in learning more about being a Gestational Surrogate..
Yes and Yes.
Having had a tubal ligation typically does not affect your ovaries; so you are still able to go through the ovarian stimulation process and egg retrieval without any problem.
Tattoos are cool, so long as they were done under sterile conditions. If they were not done under sterile conditions, they must be from more than 12 months ago and your infectious disease testing must be completed and negative.
This is not predictable, although because Forward Fertility works with many IVF centers, there are numerous Parents to Be in search of the right donor for them at any given point.
Some donors match within one week of applying; others match after a year of being in the donor pool and even others have never matched after much time in the pool.
If you think egg donation could be a good fit for you, then apply. You are not obligated to donate until Forward Fertility contacts you with a potential match. You will be able to make your decision about doing the donation based on what is happening in your life at that time.
Many egg donor agencies match you with a recipient couple and you rarely hear from them again – they are warm body finders interested in collecting their agency fee. You may see some of these national agencies advertising on the local Craigslist of Job boards, but they are not local at all! Forward Fertility specifically works with donors from the Upper Midwest and will never leave you high and dry.
Whether it is at the clinic, meeting with the psychologist, or months after you have donated. You, as a fellow human, are a top priority and Forward Fertility will always work to make your experience the best it can be.
At Forward Fertility, donor compensation is competitive with national compensation for egg donors. There will never be a financial incentive for you to choose a national agency when Forward Fertility is here for you. Forward Fertility does follow ASRM Guidelines for Egg Donor Compensation. Learn more about Egg Donor Compensation here.
Keep it Local
Sure, you can drive to Chicago to work with an egg donor agency or Skype with an agency person in Austin Texas, but why would you? Skip the hours of driving, traffic jams, toll booths, and frozen screen shots of your face and work with Forward Fertility where your initial meeting can occur around your own schedule without leaving town. If you live in the Upper Midwest and are considering Egg Donation, Forward Fertility is your ticket.
With Forward Fertility, there is no medical or financial advantage for you to work with an egg donation agency outside of Wisconsin or the Upper Midwest for that matter. If you’re considering being an egg donor ~ keep it local!
Connecting with YOU
Christie personally gets to know each Egg Donor and Parent to Be. She works hard to make each match the best, most rewarding experience possible. As part of the application process, she will meet you to discuss the details of the egg donation process. You deserve the time and attention of Forward Fertility to guide you every step of the way; from those first questions to the very last detail.
Once you meet Christie, you will see for yourself she is approachable, genuine, thoughtful, and works hard with your best interest in mind. Check out the testimonials page to see what egg donors who have worked with her are saying about their experience.
COMMON MEDICAL QUESTIONS
There are typically 4 types of medications you take during the egg donation process, in addition to the birth control pills you may take to coordinate your cycle with the recipient. Egg donation does involve about 9-14 days of taking injections with a small needle (similar to the way a diabetic uses insulin) in the fatty tissue of the belly.
1. Medication to Stimulate your Ovaries.
On day one of a young healthy woman’s menstrual cycle, the ovaries have between 10-40 follicles (small fluid filled sacs on the surface of the ovary that each contain an egg). Her body makes Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) each month so that 1 of those lucky eggs per month matures and gets ready to ovulate.
With an egg donation cycle, the exact same thing happens (10-40 follicles line up), however you are given medications with FSH and or LH so that instead of just 1 egg maturing, 10-20 eggs will mature. It is important to remember, you are not using your eggs more quickly with egg donation than you would if you were just having a regular menstrual cycle. With egg donation, the medications allow the doctor to take advantage of each egg that has shown up that month, instead of just one.
2. Medication to Prevent you from Ovulating Early.
The last thing the fertility doctor wants is for your follicles (the sacs on the surface of your ovaries that have an egg inside) to ovulate early and release the egg. So, you are typically given a medication that prevents you from ovulating early. This is given with small needle in the fatty tissue near your belly button.
3. Medication to Trigger the Ovulation Process.
Based on the number of follicles you have, how long you have been taking medication, the size of your follicles, and your hormone levels, you will be instructed by the clinic staff on a certain day at a certain time to take what is called your ‘trigger shot or shots’. This medication will prepare the egg inside the follicle so that when it is retrieved, it is receptive to fertilization.
4. Oral Antibiotics to reduce the Risk of Infection.
The egg retrieval is done under sterile conditions, however there is always a risk with any procedure that you can develop an infection. This would be extremely rare, but to be safe, fertility clinics have women take antibiotics for 3-7 days after an egg retrieval to reduce the risk she gets an infection.
Medication Side Effects
Most egg donors go through the process with few medication side effects. The most common medication side effects are bruising at the injection site, bloating, water retention, fullness, pelvic cramping/discomfort and possibly moodiness.
For women who do experience side effects, they typically gradually appear during the two weeks of injection medications and they decrease within a day or two after the egg retrieval.
You should not feel any pain during the egg retrieval. That is because you are given medications during the retrieval to keep you comfortable.
Every IVF clinic is different, but because the egg retrieval procedure is usually short, 10-20 minutes, most offices use conscious sedation, also known as twilight sedation. An IV is started prior to the retrieval and the sedation medications go through the IV. Typically, you are breathing on your own and not intubated. The medications prevent you from feeling any pain and usually you are in a deep sleep state.
Many women are crampy and uncomfortable prior to the retrieval and those symptoms will often continue for a day or two afterwards. Occasionally, you may experience the following short-term side effects from the sedation: nausea, vomiting, sleepiness.
Because of the sedation, you will need a ride to and from the egg retrieval appointment. The day of the retrieval is the one day of the cycle that you should take it easy; no work or school is best.
In general, donating your eggs is a very safe process and procedure. Relatively, you are more at risk of being harmed by riding in or driving a car.
As an egg donor, you will be working with a physician who specializes in reproductive medicine. He or she will meet with you to discuss the risks of egg donation in detail as part of the clinic’s informed consent policy. The three most serious risks are: accidentally becoming pregnant (by having unprotected intercourse near the time of the retrieval), hyper stimulation due to an exaggerated ovarian response, or infection from retrieval. Each of these risks are easily avoided by following medical instructions and careful monitoring of your ovarian response while taking the medications. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine indicates there is no long term risk of cancer or fertility problems among women who donate their eggs.
OHSS stands for Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome. It is an exaggerated response of your body to the medications used during an egg donor cycle. Egg donors can be at risk because they are usually young, have a lot of eggs, and respond well to the medications.No one benefits when an egg donor gets hyper stimulation, so clinics are very cautious. Certain medications and doses are used, as well as frequent monitoring, to make sure your ovaries are not being overstimulated. There are particular medication regimens that have shown, in well designed research studies, to reduce an egg donor’s risk of severe ovarian hyper stimulation.Since Forward Fertility is an egg donor agency that cares about your well being, Christie will speak with you about ways to minimize risks and donate your eggs in a safe fashion.
A woman’s fertility has to do with her Egg Quality (best determined by her age) and her Egg Quantity (also known as ovarian reserve). As a potential egg donor between 20-29 years old, your egg quality is presumed to be quite good, maybe the best it will ever be.
Egg Quantity or Ovarian Reserve is harder to determine and is usually done with hormone tests.
Once a Parent to Be decides to match with you and you agree to match, Forward Fertility will arrange for you to get a blood test called AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone). There is no perfect way to predict if you will respond well to the fertility medications, but the AMH test is the best test that currently exists.
COMMON COMPENSATION & HEALTH INSURANCE QUESTIONS
NO. You should not have any out of pocket expenses as an egg donor. Your time, trouble, and commitment are compensated with you compensation check. If you have any expenses (mileage, purchasing birth control pills), you will usually be reimbursed.
Complications are rare and you will have a special insurance policy to cover you, should one arise. Keeping you safe is a priority for everyone. Every egg donor, once matched with a recipient couple, is covered by a special insurance policy that covers complications related to egg donation. In the rare case where there is a complication directly related to the egg donation process, that insurance policy will be your primary insurance and cover the costs of your care.
Additionally, the legal contract you sign with the parents-to-be indicates they are responsible for any medical bills that occur as a result of your role in the egg donation. That means they cover the costs of the monitoring visits, the medications, the testing, and the egg retrieval.
When you match with a parents-to-be, they will place money into a special account, called an escrow account, managed by a third party (not Forward Fertility). Your checks will come from that escrow agency, according to the legal contract you and the Parents to Be have signed. Usually, that means you will receive a portion of your compensation after the legal contract is signed and the second portion once the egg retrieval is completed.
You should discuss tax implications of that money with your tax specialist. Forward Fertility is not a resource for tax information. Forward Fertility believes the IRS views people receiving money as people who should pay taxes.
It depends how far you travel. If you travel more than 30 miles from your home to any appointment related to egg donation after you have been matched, you will be reimbursed per mile, with documentation showing your mileage.
If your match requires you to travel by plane, your airfare, hotel, meals, and car rental (if needed) will be reimbursed. Typically, you are allowed to bring a companion along as well.
COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING THE PARENTS-TO-BE
Forward Fertility works with donors and parents-to-be to determine what type of contact, if any, is mutually desired by each person. Most IVF clinic donor programs and many egg donor agencies are not willing to spend the time to do this. Forward Fertility is Forward Thinking. In 5, 10, or 20 years, it is possible that any one of people involved (egg donor, the parent, or the child conceived) might have questions. Creating a mechanism at the time of the egg donation so that connections can be made later is a simple solution. Just as adoption has moved from closed to open, egg, sperm, and embryo donation are moving in the same direction.
Anonymous Egg Donation:
Currently most egg donor cycles are anonymous, even though it is technically impossible to guarantee this. An anonymous donation means you never know or meet the recipients. The recipients typically know your physical characteristics, your health history, and information from your application. They also have your childhood photos you submitted as part of the application.
This arrangement would involve contact between the egg donor and the parents-to-be that did not include identifying information (name, location, contact information). One fabulous tool to facilitate this is The Donor Sibling Registry (www.donorsiblingregistry.com). It is an online database that connects people conceived via sperm, egg, or embryo donation, with their donors or with others to whom they are genetically related. As part of preparation for the cycle, Forward Fertility clients and Parents to Be will be offered the opportunity to set up an account that would allow non-identifying contact with each other. The choice to use it or not lies in your hands.
This type of arrangement would involve the Egg Donor and Parents to Be meeting and having contact information for each other. It could be done after the cycle is complete or prior to starting the cycle. It could be in person or via Video Call.
Once you have completed the application requirements and are accepted as a Forward Fertility egg donor, your application will be made available to parents-to-be in search of a donor. They will view your application (with all identifying information hidden). When the recipient selects you as the donor they want to work with, Christie will contact you to see if you are available. If you are, then the pre-treatment process will begin. (See Process for Egg Donor – Step Four: Testing).A very brief summary of your application (height, weight, eye color, hair color, race, education, self description) is available at www.forwardfertility.com without a password. However, for parents-to-be to view your complete application, they will register with Forward Fertility and get a username and password.
On the day of the egg retrieval, the eggs are fertilized with sperm. The day of the retrieval is considered day zero. Most embryo transfers happen on day 3 or day 5. Most, but not all, egg donor cycles will result in 1-2 fresh embryos to transfer and several embryos to freeze. Parents-to-be can use the frozen embryos if the fresh cycle is not successful or they may return in a few years to get pregnant again.Forward Fertility does allow you the option to request to bank some of your eggs for your own future use. This must be agreed upon with the parents-to-be prior to the cycle starting.Once your eggs are retrieved, unless specified in the legal contract you do not control what happens to them. You also bear no responsibility for the outcome of the pregnancy.
The national average success rate for a fresh egg donor cycle (not including frozen embryo transfers) is about 56%. So, the odds are more likely than not, a live birth will result from your egg donation. However, remember, the uterus, sperm, and health conditions of the woman carrying the pregnancy also contribute to the success or failure of a cycle.
Depending on the type of arrangement you have, you may know very little about or you may be in contact with the parents-to-be. Forward Fertility is a strong advocate for you knowing ALL information available about your own fertility. You will always have access to your own medical records, test results, and information about the egg retrieval.