Donor FAQs

Description.

What are the risks involved?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved – but they are rare. Rest assured, we thoroughly counsel all donors on the potential risks before they choose to donate, so that they can make an informed decision on moving forward. In addition, as one of the biggest and most experienced egg banks in the world, we possess the expertise to monitor and cycle donors carefully to mitigate the risk of complications occurring.

  • Pregnancy: It is possible that not all of the eggs will be retrieved and therefore, donors are at a high risk for pregnancy for a period of time after the egg retrieval. We ask that donors practice abstinence during this time. Donors should always use protection if having intercourse at any time during participation.
  • Infection: The risk of infection from egg retrieval is less than 1%. To lower the risk of possible infection even further, donors will be instructed to take an antibiotic for several days following the retrieval.
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Occasionally excess fluid from the ovaries will transfer into the abdominal cavity causing moderate to severe bloating. If a significant amount of fluid is present, it will be removed in a procedure very similar to the egg retrieval and IV fluids will be given in replacement. In mild to moderate cases of OHSS, the fluid is slowly reabsorbed over the course of several days. Approximately 1-3% of women will experience significant OHSS. In order to reduce this risk, donors may be given different medications or a change in protocol to help eliminate or significantly decrease the risk of donors having OHSS.
  • Ovarian Torsion: Very rarely the ovary can twist on itself causing a sudden onset of severe pain on one or both sides. The risk of ovarian torsion is less than 1%. For a period of time, donors are asked to discontinue activities such as running, moderate to high impact aerobic activity, horseback riding and strenuous lifting to further decrease this risk.

How do I apply?

The first step in becoming an egg donor is to fill out our online application. If your application is approved by our Clinical Geneticist, you will be contacted to move on to the next step of the process.

Will I be in pain?

Administering self-injections is not an enjoyable experience, but the needles are very thin and small. Most donors find the experience gets easier after each shot. For the actual egg retrieval, you won’t feel anything since you’ll be asleep under conscious sedation. Once you wake up, you’ll probably be a little groggy. You may also experience some cramping and bloating, similar to what you may feel during a menstrual cycle. Tylenol is typically sufficient to quell any discomfort. Most donors are able to resume normal activity and return to work/school the next day. Pain tolerance varies widely from person to person. For for more information, check out our blog How Painful is Egg Donation?

What’s my application status?

Applications take about 2 weeks to be reviewed by our team and Clinical Geneticist. If the duration has been longer than that period, contact us so we can let you know the status.

I applied and was denied. Why won’t you tell me why?

We sincerely apologize for not being more transparent on why a candidate has been declined, and can see why that can be frustrating.

We used to be able to share this more openly, but found that many applicants would apply to other locations and change their answers in order to be accepted into their program. From a moral standpoint, we need to ensure we are doing everything we can to ensure a donor is as healthy as her medical tests and self-reported medical questionnaire indicates, so that our recipients have a chance at having a healthy child. So, this definitely is not to say that you or others will be guilty of doing such a thing, but this is our way of collaborating with other egg donor companies to protect recipients from the few that do.

You can learn our requirements here. If you feel you’ll meet our requirements at a future date, we encourage you to contact us again.

Why are the egg donor requirements so strict?

We receive thousands of applicants every month, and less than 1% of applicants are accepted into the program. The screening process is very rigorous as want to make sure our donors are healthy and ready to donate. Our goal is to give our recipients, who have undergone many infertility challenges, the best possible chance of conceiving a healthy baby with the help of our egg donors.

What is BMI and why is it important?

BMI is a medically accepted and scientifically proven formula that is an indicator for medical risk. Medical evidence shows that people with BMI’s under 18 or over 26 are at a higher risk for developing medical complications. Our donors’ health and safety are our primary concerns, which is why we only accept donors with BMI’s between 18-26. We realize that there are many healthy individuals with BMI levels outside our requirements; however, due to the volume of applications we receive we’re unable to evaluate every applicant on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more about why BMI matters, click here.

Am I eligible if I only have one ovary?

You will need two functioning ovaries in order to be eligible. There are many factors to take into consideration when screening and accepting donors into our program. One of the most important things we look at is a donor’s expected ovarian reserve. We do this by evaluating blood work and something called an Antral Follicle Count. Antral follicles are small follicles (where the egg is stored) that we can see and measure with ultrasound to estimate the ovarian reserve. This helps us to determine how much stimulating medications will need to be used and the chance for a successful pregnancy using in vitro fertilization. The number of antral follicles are an indication of how many eggs we should expect to be able to stimulate and potentially develop into mature eggs to be able to retrieve and freeze.

When there are only a few antral follicles, there are fewer eggs to work with. The number of eggs retrieved correlates with IVF success rates. When we are starting with only one ovary, our possible yield of mature eggs for each cycle is cut in half. When there are an average or high number of antral follicles, we tend to get a good response, good number of eggs and higher pregnancy rates. When there are fewer antral follicles, as expected in someone with only one ovary, we tend to have a lower response, sometimes cancelled cycles and lower pregnancy rates. This has no bearing on your own ability to become pregnant and have your own children; this is purely in the context of becoming a donor and undergoing stimulation with an egg retrieval.

Why does education matter?

We are actually one of the more unique companies, as the typical standard for a donor egg company is to require a college degree, at minimum.  We, on the other hand, require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.

Women are correct when they assert education attainment level is not correlated to the health of an individual.
With that said, the reason for why we require a minimum of a high school diploma is two-fold, and they are attributed to business decisions, and not for medical reasons.

1) Demand: When choosing a donor, many egg donor recipients tend to choose donors who resemble them in characteristics such as physical appearance, values, and educational background. Many egg donor recipients hold a minimum of a college degree and value education; so when they choose a donor, more often than not, they also want a donor who has attained a similar education level and also values education. Therefore, donors without a high school diploma are often looked over – which means that a donor egg company, we will have invested time and money into the donor’s recruitment and screening, only to have the donor never be selected.

2) Conversion rates: the donor process is very involved. It requires a donor to go to many medical visits and to closely adhere to a very precise protocol over the course of a few months. At an aggregate level, those who have an educational degree tend to exhibit higher compliance levels, and therefore are more likely to complete the process of becoming a donor. It’s just a hypothesis, but perhaps this is because those who have gone through high school and college are used to a structured environment, and so the donor process is easier to adhere to.

As a business that experiences extremely high costs to recruit and screen donors, we need to make certain business decisions that enable us to keep the lights on and to continue serving recipients. We understand this may not seem fair to those without a minimum high school diploma, and there are plenty of applicants without a high school diploma who have perfectly good eggs. We are sorry we cannot accommodate those without a high school diploma but hope this sheds a bit more insight and makes the reasoning less arbitrary.

Am I eligible if I’m adopted or donor-conceived?

Adopted women are eligible to donate if they have detailed medical histories of their immediate family, biological parents and aunts/uncles,  and grandparents. We require three-generation medical histories for every single donor, regardless of whether they are biologically related to their parents or are adopted, so that we understand any serious genetic conditions that can potentially be passed to offspring. Donor recipients are going through a tremendous amount of stress during their infertility journey, and accepting that they could only conceive via a donor can be especially challenging. That is why we try to do everything we can to ensure they have a healthy child when they make the brave decision to use a donor.

How much is compensation?

Compensation for completing a cycle is several thousand dollars. You can learn the exact compensation amount when you complete an applicationIn addition to the cycle compensation, donors receive the following benefits:

Bonuses:
– Earn up to $500 if you enter the Donor Egg program.
– Earn $1k every time you refer a donor who cycles.

Medical care:
You’ll receive thousands of dollars worth of free medical and genetic testing.

Insurance:
We’ll fully insure you to cover medical treatments related to your egg donation.

Dream fulfillment:
Because of you, someone now has a chance to have a family.

To learn more, click here.