Frequently Asked Egg Donor Questions and Answers

The decision to become an egg donor is extremely generous, but it’s also a serious commitment. We appreciate that you may have dozens of questions, and the Fairfax EggBank team is available to answer all of your questions. The FAQs below should answer many of your questions, however you can also contact us with inquiries.

Application & Qualifications

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.

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 programs. 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. 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.

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 Donor Coordination Team and medical leadership, you will be contacted to move on to the next step of the process.

Who is eligible to become an egg donor?

There are several characteristics of an ideal donor candidate, including but not limited to:

  1. Age Range
  2. Normal Reproductive Function
  3. BMI
  4. Citizenship
  5. Medical History

Learn more about our egg donor eligibility requirements.

What is my application status?

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

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 we 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 a BMI 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 a BMI 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?

Many intended parents hold a minimum of a college degree and highly value education. More often than not, they are looking for a donor whose background and education is similar.

Each donor is on her own journey. Many begin college immediately after high school or complete certifications that help them on their next step.

For that reason we require that our donors hold a high school diploma as a minimum. We understand this may not seem fair to those without a high school diploma.

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 generations of medical history for every donor, regardless of whether they are biologically related to their parents or are adopted. It is important 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, and are fully informed so that important information is available to share with their child’s pediatrician as they grow.

Am I eligible if I have mental health issues?

Eligibility will depend on severity, length, medication usage, family prevalence, and other factors pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of depression. Our goal is to not only screen out applicants who may have genetic predispositions towards mental illnesses, but to also protect the emotional and mental well-being of the donor as she goes through the process.

Am I eligible if I have endometriosis of PCOS?

For the safety of the donors, those with endometriosis and PCOS are not eligible to become egg donors. This is due to the reduced likelihood of a successful egg donation cycle and the increased risk for medical complications.

Can I donate eggs if I am on Depo Provera?

If you are accepted into our program based on the review of your application, you would need to agree to discontinue use of Depo Provera. You may choose to use another form of contraceptive such as birth control pills, the patch, Nuva Ring or an IUD. In addition, if you choose to discontinue using Depo Provera in order to participate with us, we would need to wait until you have two consecutive menstrual cycles before we can begin the medical screening. This can take anywhere from a month to a year, depending on the person. As a first step, we’d recommend you apply online to see if you meet our medical requirements. If you pass this phase and are invited to an interview, you can discuss with your coordinator whether it’s worth discontinuing use of Depo Provera.

What if I have an IUD or a contraceptive implant? Can I donate eggs?

If you have a hormonal IUD, such as Mirena or Skyla, you will be able to donate, pending your test results. If you are using a contraceptive implant, such as Implanon or Nexplanon, you will not be able to participate as an egg donor, unless you have it removed.

If you are accepted into our program, you would need to agree to have your own physician remove the IUD (if required) or implant prior to our medical screening. While in the program you may use another form of contraceptive such as birth control pills, the patch, Nuva Ring or a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard). As a first step, we’d recommend you apply online to see if you meet our medical requirements. If you pass that phase and are invited to an interview, you can discuss with your coordinator whether it’s worth having the IUD/implant removed.

Can I be on birth control while donating eggs?

The only forms of contraception that we do not allow during your participation as an egg donor are Depo Provera or a contraceptive implant such as Implanon or Nexplanon. You can continue to use birth control pills, the Patch, an IUD, or the Nuva Ring.

Will I be able to donate if I've never been pregnant?

Yes! Past pregnancy is not a requirement. Pregnancy history is generally only a requirement to be a surrogate. As an egg donor at our company, it does not matter. We have women who have never conceived and plan on having kids later, women who have never conceived and don’t plan to, women who have conceived and still plan on having more kids later, and women who have conceived and don’t plan on having more children.

Will I be able to donate if I smoke or vape?

Ingesting tobacco or nicotine, even if it’s just on an occasional basis, can impact the quality of eggs and the egg donation cycle. Therefore, applicants who smoke are not eligible to donate. To learn more about the impact of smoking on fertility, click here.

In the future, if you go nicotine-free for several months and can commit to staying nicotine-free for the duration of the program (approximately 4-7 months), then we encourage you to reapply. Be advised we will administer nicotine drug testing to verify answers.

Will tattoos disqualify me from donating eggs?

Tattoos in and of themselves will not disqualify you, but you must have received them under sterile conditions. The FDA enforces this requirement, mandating that applicants not be at increased risk for infectious diseases that could have been transmitted through non-sterile needles.

What do you mean by requiring three generations of medical history?

Three generations includes yourself, your biological siblings, parents, aunts/uncles, and grandparents on both sides of the family. If you have children, we’ll ask for his/her/their medical information as well.

You will need to be able to list any deaths, medical and/or genetic conditions, and psychological conditions, along with age of onset across the three generations. Our clinical geneticist needs this information to determine your eligibility for the program.

What if I don't have medical information on both sides of my family?

We understand that it can be challenging to obtain information on your parents and grandparents on both sides of your family. However, this information is necessary since we need a comprehensive understanding of genetic dispositions you and any subsequent donor-conceived children may have. If you cannot supply this information, unfortunately you will not be able to move forward into our program.

Why do I need to provide three generations of medical history?

We require three-generation medical histories as part of our screening for serious genetic conditions that can potentially be passed on to offspring. We do everything we can to give our recipients the best chances of having a healthy baby and appreciate your help and diligence.

Reimbursements for Egg Donors

How much are reimbursements?

Reimbursement for completing a cycle is several thousand dollars. You can learn the exact reimbursement amount when you complete an application. In addition to the cycle reimbursement, donors receive the following benefits:

– 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.

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.

Are ethnic minorities or those with higher education degrees reimbursed more?

No, reimbursement is standard for donors regardless of educational or ethnic background. We encourage women of all ethnic backgrounds to apply. No race is immune to infertility, and there are many recipients in need of an egg donor.

Are reimbursements taxed?

Yes, egg donor reimbursement is considered taxable income.

Why is it called “donation” if donors are getting paid?

We reimburse for the time and effort involved, not the actual eggs. As an illustration, if a donor cycles but for one reason or another doesn’t produce eggs that a recipient will be able to use, the donor will still be reimbursed.

Do you reimburse per egg?

We reimburse per cycle completed and for the effort involved, not by egg. Therefore, a donor is reimbursed the same whether we receive 0 eggs or 12 from a completed egg donation cycle.

How many times can I donate?

Per the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines, the governing body of reproductive medicine, we allow donors to cycle up to 6 times in their lifetime. Typically, donors donate several times. The success of previous cycles along with the donor’s willingness determine how often the egg donor will ultimately donate.  Learn more here.

Do I need to be matched to a recipient in order to be reimbursed?

We’re a frozen donor egg bank, so the reimbursement process is different from a fresh egg donor agency. With us, there’s no waiting to be matched to a couple or recipient. Once you’re accepted to our program, you can cycle immediately and get reimbursed quickly.

To learn more about the frozen egg donor process, read our blog Fresh or Frozen Egg Donation? What Does it Mean for You, the Egg Donor.

How am I reimbursed for egg donations?

Due to the dedication, time and effort required by participation in the donor egg program, you will be adequately reimbursed for each donation cycle you complete. Donors can receive monetary incentives throughout the process for their timely responses. They will also receive generous reimbursement (amount varies according to location) at the conclusion of each completed egg donation cycle. Most donors donate several times, with a lifetime maximum of being able to donate up to 6 times.

Can I refer a friend to be a donor?

Yes! We have two referral programs:

  1. Open program: Anyone and everyone is eligible to participate in this program. If you refer a friend and she is accepted into our program and completes an egg donation cycle, you can earn up to $200.
  2. Donors-only program: If you’re a donor at Fairfax EggBank and you refer a friend who is accepted into the program, and completes an egg donation cycle, you can earn up to $1,000.

There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make! Just complete the web form to obtain a referral code, and share it with all of your friends. They’ll need to enter in your referral code when they apply.

Egg Donation Process

What if I don’t get chosen by an egg donor recipient?

We are an egg bank, so unlike typical programs, you don’t need to wait to be chosen by a recipient in order to begin your cycle. Once you’re accepted into the program, you’re cleared to cycle immediately, which means a much quicker process and a much better guarantee of reimbursement. Learn the other benefits of doing a frozen donor egg cycle here.

Who do donor eggs go to? Can I choose who receives them?

We only work with patients whose IVF clinics have qualified them to become egg donor recipients. This involves rigorous testing as well as comprehensive psychological evaluations and counseling.

As an egg donor candidate with Fairfax EggBank you would be counselled on the process with a psychologist. If accepted into the program, it is important to understand that you would waive any rights to any eggs retrieved for the purpose of donation. As a result you would not be entitled to know who receives eggs from your retrieval, nor would you be able to access that information.

Separately, you can opt in to our ID Option program that would allow any child conceived from your donation to be able to contact you once they turn 18 years old. The parents would also have to opt-in to the program in order for the child to receive any contact information from you. The ID Option program is also discussed thoroughly with a psychologist.

We can tell you confidently that our egg donor recipients are some of the most compassionate and loving people we know, which is why we continue to work so hard for them to find the perfect donor. To read a thank you letter from a recipient to her egg donor, click here.

How do you get the eggs out?

After approximately 8-12 days of appointments and medication, your eggs will be ready for retrieval. The egg retrieval procedure is the only time throughout the egg donation process where you’ll need to set aside an entire day. Egg retrieval is an outpatient procedure that takes place at our partnering fertility center. You will be under twilight sedation, unconscious but breathing on your own. Once you are comfortably asleep, a reproductive endocrinologist will retrieve your eggs using a vaginal needle and ultrasound guidance. The procedure is quick—about 15-20 minutes. After it’s done, you will rest for about an hour before you are released. You will need a friend, significant other, or family member to drive you home since you’ll be considered legally intoxicated, even if the twilight sedation is wearing off. You’ll want to relax for the rest of the day and you may experience some post procedure cramping, spotting and bloating. Most donors resume normal activity the next day with minimal to no side effects.

What do the medical tests involve?

You will be required to have a physical and pelvic exam, infectious disease testing, genetic screening including a chromosome analysis, and a psychological evaluation including a psychological health history and an evaluation of your comfort level with the donor egg program. The genetic and infectious disease testing is state-of-the-art. All appointments will be arranged for you or performed onsite at one of our affiliated clinics.

What do monitoring appointments involve?

During your donation cycle, you will be required to come to the office for monitoring appointments. These appointments will be in the morning and will include a blood draw, to evaluate hormone levels, and/or vaginal ultrasound, to measure your follicles. Both tests will help in determining how much medication you will need to take each day. You will be given a calendar at the beginning of the cycle which will serve as a guideline for your schedule. The days you will need to be seen in the office can and will change. Your schedule will need to be flexible during your donation cycle, as many of these appointments may need to be scheduled with less than 24 hours’ notice.

How long does the entire process take?

From when you complete the medical application to when you finish a cycle, the average time span is about four to five months.

For the egg donation cycle itself, the process is approximately 2 months, with the first month predominately dedicated to simply taking birth control pills. It consists of 3 main stages:

  • 2 to 3 weeks of birth control pills
  • An average of 8 to 10 days of stimulation via self-administered subcutaneous injections and in-office morning monitoring appointments
  • A ~1-2 hour outpatient egg retrieval procedure (though you’ll be required to take the entire day off)

Your period will resume 1-2 weeks after the egg retrieval.

What’s the difference between egg donor agencies and egg banks?

Egg donor agencies focus on fresh egg donations, while egg banks like us focus on frozen donor eggs. With a fresh egg donor agency, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be matched with a recipient so there’s a risk that you may not be reimbursed for your time and services. And if you are matched with a recipient, you should know that fresh egg donation is a more complicated process, entailing syncing your menstrual cycle with the woman who will be receiving your donor eggs and traveling to their location. Fresh egg donors have much less control over timing, traveling, and other aspects of the egg donation process.

Frozen egg banks make it simpler and more convenient for donors

  1. Once accepted, you can donate right away and you can donate up to 6 times.
  2. You receive your reimbursement after you’ve completed your donation.
  3. Upon approval, you can donate more than once, and you’ll work with the same team each time you donate.

Why am I required to live within two hours of the monitoring sites?

During the course of an egg donation cycle, you will be required to visit the monitoring site for approximately 6-8 appointments so we can monitor you and your progress. These appointments will take approximately 30 minutes. Because of the frequency of these visits, we require donors to live within 2 hours of a location.

Anonymity & Legality

What is an ID Option Donor?

Our ID Option Donor Program gives egg donors the option to release their identity and contact information to the donor-conceived child when that child reaches the age of 18 and requests that information.

Here’s how it works:

  • An egg donor may choose to be a Non-ID Option or elect for the ID Option.
  • If an egg donor chooses the ID Option, she agrees to allow us to release her identity and contact information only to the donor-conceived child, not the recipients of donor eggs, once that child reaches the age of 18 and requests the information.
  • The recipients of the donated eggs decide whether they want to choose a Non-ID Option or ID Option donor. Even if the recipients choose an ID Option donor, they may still choose to not opt into the ID Option program.
  • Once you’ve chosen to be an ID Option donor, you may not change your mind as this may be an important factor in the recipient’s donor selection.

Do I bear any responsibility to children that result from my donated eggs?

No. You will not be legally bound to any donor-conceived children. Should you be diagnosed with any serious medical issue that may be genetic, however, we do mandate that you contact us.

Will I get to meet the parents who use my donated egg or any donor-conceived children?

No. We do not offer an open egg donation program. You will not receive information about who uses your donor eggs, and recipients will not receive personal information about their donors. However, you can elect to be an ID Option egg donor. In this case, when the donor-conceived child reaches 18, he/ she will be given the option to contact you. Learn more about this program here.

Risks & Side Effects

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 just .3%. 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.

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. Read more with these two articles: How Painful Egg Donation Was For Me and Straight Talk: Is Egg Donation Painful?

What if donor-conceived kids end up dating each other unknowingly?

There are a few things in place that will make that scenario extremely rare.

For one, when you hear about the type of crazy stories where a donor contributed to hundreds of kids, it’s most likely referring to a rogue sperm donor, not an egg donor. Egg donation is truly different in kind. Per ASRM, the governing body of reproductive medicine, the recommendation is for a donor to be able to donate up to 6 times. In addition, unlike sperm where one donation can yield in millions of sperm, in an egg donation cycle, about 18 eggs result, of which only a smaller percentage can result in an embryo. A donor is also prohibited to donate if more than 25 kids result from donations- to note, we have never gotten near that amount and have never had to cut a donor off because she has produced too many donor babies.

Secondly, we are an egg bank that works with recipients from across the world and donors from across the United States. This is in contrast to an IVF clinic with a donor program, where donors are recruited locally and where recipients are also all local. In working with an egg bank like ours, therefore, the probability of two recipients choosing the same donor within the same vicinity are much, much smaller – and therefore the type of scenario of donor-conceived kids dating each other is very unlikely.

Thirdly, but not last, the conversation is changing these days. More and more egg donor recipients are having the discussions with their kids about their origin. This leads to less likelihood that a donor-conceived child will be unaware that she/he is dating another donor-conceived child, since they’ll be more wary and aware of themselves and of others.

What if complications occur and I need medical treatment?

As an egg donor at Fairfax EggBank, you will be covered under supplemental insurance in addition to any existing health insurance you have. Your health is paramount to us, and we will cover the medical costs in the extremely rare event that you experience complications as a result of being an egg donor.

Will I gain weight?

The process will not cause you to gain weight long term – you may gain a few pounds during the egg donation process itself because of bloating and larger ovaries, but this will go back to normal with your period.

Will I regret becoming an egg donor?

We provide counseling and conduct thorough interviews to make sure our donors are emotionally prepared and confident enough to go through the process with appreciation rather than regrets. Egg donation isn’t for everybody but the experience can be extremely rewarding. You get to make someone’s dreams of having a family come true. Learn more about how the Fairfax EggBank program works to make sure donors don’t feel any regrets after they donate.

Does egg donation cause ovarian cancer?

There are no studies that show any link between egg donation and ovarian cancer. Per ASRM, the governing body of reproductive medicine, “Earlier reports from several decades ago suggested a link between ovarian cancer and the use of fertility medicines. However, more recent and well-done studies are reassuring and do not show this association.”

Will donating eggs impact my fertility? Will I be able to have my own kids?

There are no conclusive studies indicating that egg donors are at an increased risk for experiencing infertility issues. Plenty of our donors go on to becoming mothers or have more children after they donate. You may have seen some media hype on this topic, but these cases tend to lack proof of correlation. Just because a donor experiences infertility later in life doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with her being an egg donor when she was younger. Infertility is relatively common for women over the age of 35. Learn more with these articles: Can I Get Pregnant After Donating Eggs? and Will Donating Eggs Affect Your Future Fertility?

Will donating eggs deplete my own egg supply quicker?

Donating eggs will not deplete your own egg supply quicker. Every cycle, about 15-20 eggs mature inside follicles. However, usually only one follicle reaches maturity and release an egg for ovulation; the rest stop growing and are discarded by the body.

In an egg donation cycle, medications are given to fully develop all of the eggs that naturally mature in a cycle. We don’t remove any more eggs than what the body naturally creates for that cycle.

Will donating eggs screw up my hormone levels?

There is no long-term impact on your hormone levels. However, during your cycle your estrogen levels will be temporarily elevated.

What are the side effects of the medications?

The medications utilized during a donation cycle are generally well tolerated. Potential side effects include bloating, moodiness, cramping, aching, PMS-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, hot flashes or breast tenderness.

For how long will I administer the shots?

The donation cycle will vary from person to person based on their own stimulation (everybody stimulates differently), but the general time frame for administering shots is anywhere from 9-14 days.

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