Elite Fertility

Egg Donor Questions and Answers

Find out what you need to know with egg donor questions and answers

Elite Fertility Solutions wants you to feel comfortable with your decision to become an egg donor. Our California egg donation agency believes that knowledge is power when it comes to making such an important decision, so we have provided a list of egg donor questions and answers.

Question: What is Elite Fertility Solutions?

Answer: Elite Fertility Solutions is not a clinic, so no medical procedures occur in our offices. We are an egg donation agency, which means that we recruit egg donors and match them with intended parents. All egg donors visit board certified fertility specialists for medical procedures relating to the egg donation process. These doctors follow all the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, CDC and FDA.

Question: Who am I donating to?

Answer: Our California egg donation agency helps individuals, couples and members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been struggling to start or grow their family. Many intended parents have been on an emotional rollercoaster, having spent thousands of dollars and several years trying to conceive. By donating your eggs, you help hopeful parents fulfill their dream of having a baby of their own.

Question: How old do I have to be to become an egg donor?

Answer: We accept applications from women between 20 and 29 years old.

By 20, most young women are mature enough to understand the importance of their decision to donate their eggs. They can also follow through with the commitment and responsibilities of the process.

Capping donations at age 29 helps us ensure that the intended parents have the best chance of success using the highest quality donated eggs. When women reach their 30s, their egg quality and quantity may start to decline, and they may not respond as well to the fertility medications.

Question: What BMI do I need to donate my eggs?

Answer: BMI stands for body mass index and is a ratio of your height and weight. Doctors use BMI to measure whether a person is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight or obese. Having a healthy BMI means you could become an egg donor and help someone start their family.

As an egg donor you need to have a BMI between 18 and 26. We have this requirement because  your BMI can affect the amount of stimulation medications you will need to take. To prepare for donation, your doctor will prescribe injectable medication that will encourage your ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

An egg donor with a BMI above the acceptable range may need to take higher doses of the medication. This may affect the quality and quantity of eggs produced. In contrast, an egg donor with a low BMI may be more likely to develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which occurs when the ovaries over-respond to medication. Having a healthy BMI (18-26) helps ensure you will have a successful and safe egg donation cycle.

Question: How much will it cost me to donate my eggs?

Answer: There are no out-of-pocket costs to the egg donors for participating in our program. Any out-of-town travel expenses (if needed for the donation cycle), meals, transportation and lodging for you and a companion will be arranged by the agency and paid for by the intended parents.

Question: How long is an egg donation cycle?

Answer: The timeframe for an egg donation cycle depends on several factors, including your availability, the timing of your menstrual cycle and the medication protocol that is best for you. A typical egg donation cycle ranges from a few weeks to one month.

Keep in mind that before beginning an egg donation cycle, you must be selected by a prospective parent as a donor. This can take a few weeks or a few months.

Question: Will my insurance be billed for any appointments or medications?

Answer: No. All medical expenses related to the egg donation cycle are paid for by the intended parents. An insurance policy will be purchased for you before you start the medication.

Question: Can I donate if I do not have medical insurance?

Answer: Yes. You will receive an incidental insurance policy as an egg donor that covers you and all related costs throughout the egg donation process.

Question: Is travel required for egg donation?

Answer: You will decide if you would like to travel in-state or out-of-state when you are selected as an egg donor. If you agree, all expenses for you and a companion will be paid for by the intended parents. This includes airfare, transportation, hotel accommodations and a meal allowance. The stays can range from four to 10 days depending on the clinic. Elite Fertility Solutions will manage all the travel arrangements for you.

Question: Will I have to take time off from school or work?

Answer: Appointments are usually early in the morning between 6:30 and 10:30, so there will be limited disruption to your schedule. These appointments are not flexible. Please be sure they will fit with your personal and professional commitments before you agree to donate .

The egg retrieval procedure will require you to have the entire day free. Depending on how you feel, you may need to take the next few days off. Although uncommon, missed wages will be covered if you need more than three days off from work following the procedure. Your doctor can provide a note upon request.

Question: How time-consuming is the egg donation process?

Answer: Not at all. The process mainly consists of 30-minute doctor appointments. These appointments will take place early in the morning between 6:30 and 10:30. You can expect to visit the clinic  approximately six to10 times. From start to finish, the whole egg donation cycle takes about two to four weeks.

What type of medications will I take?

Answer: The medications we administer are synthetic hormones that mimic the hormones that the body already produces. These medications are individually dosed, considering each woman’s natural hormone levels, response to the medications and number of follicles (eggs).

Question: How long will I be on medications?

Answer: This depends on how your body reacts to the fertility medications. Depending on your specific protocol, you will be on the medications for approximately two to four weeks.

Question: How will I feel on the medications?

Answer: If you are prone to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) you may feel some of these side effects attributed to the hormone injections. Some donors have little to no side effects. However, other donors may experience breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You may even gain a few pounds, which is only temporary, as it is when you have PMS. These side effects usually occur towards the end of the cycle. It is important to remember that these symptoms are temporary and will go away within a week of the egg retrieval.

Question: Is egg retrieval a major surgery?

Answer: No. The retrieval is a non-invasive procedure that requires no incisions or stitches. You will receive IV sedation during the 20 to 30-minute procedure. The word “surgery” might seem scary, but the egg retrieval process is quick and painless. You will feel a little woozy afterward from the anesthesia and will need someone to drive you home.

Question: What type of anesthesia is used?

Answer: You will receive “twilight anesthesia,” which means you’ll be sedated but can breathe on your own. The anesthetic used is like the sedation your dentist might use to remove your wisdom teeth. The anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia through an IV. You will not feel any discomfort but will feel groggy when you wake up. You will be in recovery for about 30-60 minutes and will need someone to drive you home.

Question: Do I need someone to bring me to my egg retrieval appointment?

Answer: You should have a trusted friend or family member drive you to the clinic for your egg retrieval. You will wake up feeling groggy from the anesthesia, so you will need someone to help you get home safely. For your own safety, you cannot take a taxi, Uber, Lyft or public transportation.

Question: Is egg donation safe?

Answer: Egg donation has been around for more than 30 years and more than 100,000 babies have been born through this method. All medical procedures have some risk, but egg retrieval is low-risk and minimally invasive. You have less than a 1% chance of experiencing any severe side effects and donating will not affect your future fertility.

Question: What are the risks of egg donation?

Answer: The primary risk is a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). It is relatively rare (1-3% of IVF cases). The doctor will provide careful monitoring to avoid this possibility. As with any procedure, a risk of infection exists, but you will receive antibiotics to avoid this.

Question: Does egg donation hurt?

Answer: You may experience some bloating, irritability or mood swings while taking the stimulation medications. Administering the medications does involve an injection with a very small needle in your thigh or abdomen. During the process of the egg retrieval, you will be sedated, so you will not feel any pain during the procedure. There are no incisions or stitches for this procedure. After the egg retrieval, you will likely feel tired, due to the sedation and should plan on resting that day. You may experience some cramping and spotting, which can last from one day to a week.

Question: How often and how many times can I donate?

Answer: Fertility doctors recommend that you have two regular periods between egg donations. Elite Fertility Solutions follows the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines for a maximum of six donations per donor. This is to limit the number of genetically related children that may meet as adults and to protect the health of the donors.

Question: Will the fertility medication affect my hormones in the future?

Answer: No. Studies have shown that fertility medications do not have long-term consequences. They boost your hormones while you are taking them and leave your body quickly once you stop. Once you stop taking the medication, your hormone levels will return to normal, and you will get a period about two weeks after the egg retrieval.

Question: Can egg donation harm my fertility, egg supply and ability to have children?

Answer: No. If you are fertile enough to donate eggs in the first place, donating your eggs should not have any effect on your future fertility. Research has never shown any evidence that egg donation affects future fertility and will not deplete your natural egg supply.

Each woman is born with millions of eggs in her ovaries. During a normal menstrual cycle, a woman’s ovaries develop many follicles (10-30 eggs). However, one egg becomes the leader of the pack and is selected to mature for ovulation.  The remaining follicles (eggs) are absorbed into your body and are never used again.

The fertility medications will stimulate some of the extra eggs to grow and mature at the same time. During an egg donation cycle, you will only donate the number of eggs that you would normally lose during one menstrual cycle. As a result, you will not use up your eggs any faster as an egg donor.

Question: How does Elite Fertility protect my privacy?

Answer: Egg donation is a very personal decision, and some donors are worried about family and friends finding out. Others wonder about boundaries with intended parents. Your privacy is very important to us, so we will not provide any of your identifying information to prospective parents or their family.

Your identity will be protected throughout the process, and your medical and personal information will be held in the strictest confidence. Most egg donations are considered unidentified, so intended parents and their children will never have direct contact with you or know your identity, unless all parties specifically agree to this in advance.

However, with new technology like AncestryDNA and 23andMe, there is always the possibility of someone contacting you or a family member in the future.

Question: Will I meet the intended parents who receive my eggs?

Answer: Most egg donations are unidentified, so most donors do not meet the intended parents. However, some intended parents would like to meet their donor. At no point will you feel pressured to meet a prospective parent.

However, if both parties agree, the meeting will be at our office or via zoom with an Elite Fertility Solutions staff member present. First names may be exchanged if the donors and intended parent(s) agree. These meetings offer an opportunity for the prospective parent to learn more about the donor and the donor to gain insight into their personal family-building journey.

Question: Do I have any responsibility to children who result from my egg donation?

Answer: No. The intended parents have total custody and assume all responsibility for any children born from egg donation. Parental rights are covered in detail during the legal phase prior to the donation cycle. You will speak with an attorney that we provide for you. This legal professional will review the contract with you in detail.

Question: Once I become an egg donor, how long is the match process?

Answer: Choosing an egg donor is an extremely personal decision for intended parents, so the time for a donor to be matched will vary. It can happen as quickly as the same day, or it can take a month or longer. This is a very emotional process for prospective parents and they often look at several profiles before they find their perfect donor.

Question: Can I be a donor if I’m on birth control or have an intrauterine device (IUD)?

Answer: Yes. You can become an egg donor if you are taking birth control pills, but you may need to stop taking them before you undergo fertility testing or an egg donation cycle. During this time, we recommend that you use an alternative method of contraception, such as a condom.

You can also become an egg donor if you use a birth control patch, the NuvaRing, or a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD). Just as with birth control pills, you will need to stop using these methods of birth control before you start the egg donation process. If you have a non-hormonal  IUD, these most often do not influence the process and can remain in place.

If you are using Depo-Provera or a Norplant device, you will need to stop using it for about one to three months and have had at least one normal menstrual cycle before you can donate your eggs. It can often take this long to get selected, so you can still be part of the program during this process.

Your first period after the egg retrieval is when you can resume your previous form of birth control.

Question: Can I be a donor if I have had an abortion or tubal ligation in the past?

Answer: Yes. You can become an egg donor if you have had an abortion or tubal ligation.

Question: Can I donate if I have tattoos or piercings?

Answer: Yes. You may still donate your eggs if you have tattoos and/or piercings.

If your tattoo or piercing is recent (within the last six months to a year), we ask that you provide a signed letter from the tattoo or body piercing studio stating that proper sanitation guidelines followed and that sterile, disposable needles were used.

If you are unable to obtain this written letter, there is a waiting period of six months to one year (FDA guidelines) before you are eligible for egg donation.

When possible, please refrain from getting tattoos or piercings while you are waiting to become a donor.

Question: Can I have sex while taking fertility medications?

Answer: We recommend that you refrain from having sexual intercourse or exchanging of bodily fluids while taking the stimulation medication. Although the medication prevents you from ovulating, you are more fertile during this time. We also want to reduce the risk of infection during this process. If you do have sex, we recommend using a condom.

Following the egg retrieval, we recommend you wait until your next period, which is typically about two weeks, to resume your normal sexual activity.

Question: Can I exercise while I donate my eggs?

Answer: Your ovaries will be enlarged towards the end of egg donation stimulation cycle. It is recommended that you refrain from high impact or strenuous activities, such as running, mountain biking and jumping for your comfort and to decrease the risk of medical complications  during this time. The IVF doctor will advise you as to what type of exercise you can do, when you need to stop exercising and when you can start exercising following the retrieval.

Question: Can I donate if I have HPV, genital herpes or another STD?

Answer: Yes. You can donate with HPV or genital herpes. If you have been previously treated for an STI, you are still eligible to donate. However, there could be a waiting period of up to a year for certain conditions, per FDA guidelines.

Question: Can I become a donor if I’m a virgin?

Answer: Yes. You are still eligible to donate if you have not had sexual intercourse. However, it is important to understand that to monitor you during the cycle, you will have multiple vaginal ultrasounds that will break your hymen. If you use tampons, this has likely already happened.

Question: How much do egg donors get paid?

Answer: Our current egg donation compensation for a first-time donor starts at $8,500 and can go as high as $20,000 for a completed egg donation cycle (retrieval of the eggs). Experienced and “in-demand” donors will be eligible to receive compensation on the higher end of this range. You can also receive compensation for mileage and any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

Question: Can I be eligible to be an egg donor if I have traveled outside the country?

Answer: Women interested in becoming egg donors are strongly advised not to travel to Zika-affected areas. Per FDA guidelines, traveling to one of these areas will disqualify you for a six-month period from the date of your return to the United States.

Looking for additional egg donor questions and answers? Contact Elite Fertility Solutions to speak with a member of our friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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