FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Anonymity and Legality

What are the legalities of egg donation?

You assume no responsibility or liability for any child conceived by your donation. Likewise, you will have no rights to any child conceived by your donation.

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 anonymous 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 an anonymous or ID Option donor. Even if the recipients choose an ID Option donor, they may still elect that the donor remain anonymous.
  • Once you’ve chosen to be an ID Option or anonymous donor, you may not change your mind as this may be an important factor in the recipient’s donor selection.

To learn more about our ID Option Program, click here.

Application and Qualifications

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For the safety of the donors, those with endometriosis and PCOS are not eligible due to poorer chances of a successful egg donation cycle and increased risk for medical complications.

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 a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard). 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.

If you have an hormonal IUD, such as Mirena or Skyla, or 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 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 this phase and are invited to an interview, you can discuss with your coordinator whether it’s worth having the IUD/implant removed.

The only forms of contraception that we do not allow during your participation as an egg donor are Depo Provera, a hormonal IUD (Mirena) or Implanon/Nexplanon. You can continue to use birth control pills, the Patch, a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard) or Nuva Ring.

Yes, being pregnant in the past is more of a requirement as 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 are don’t plan on having more.

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 (around another 4-7 months), then we encourage you to reapply. Be advised we will administer nicotine drug testing to verify answers.

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 being transmitted through unsterile needles.

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 – we want to make sure we are providing egg donor recipients with the best chance possible of conceiving a healthy child, and equally as important we want to make sure you are healthy and that we don’t put your health at risk by having you undergo an egg donation cycle.

We understand that it can be challenging to obtain information on your parents and grandparents on both sides of your family, especially if you are adopted, donor-conceived, or were raised by a single parent. 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. Find tips on obtaining your medical history here.

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.

Compensation and Benefits

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.

We get that it can be funny semantics since there is compensation is involved. We compensate 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 compensated.

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

Per 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.

Due to the dedication, time and effort required by participation in the donor egg program, you will be adequately compensated for each donation cycle you complete. Donors receive $200 upon completion of the initial medical screening tests and an additional $300 upon acceptance into the program. They will also receive generous compensation (compensation 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.

The benefits are many as an egg donor..

Cycle compensation:
If eligible, you can complete up to six cycles and be compensated each time for your time and efforts.

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.

Egg Donation Process

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 compensation. Learn the other benefits of doing a frozen donor egg cycle here.

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.

For the most part, egg donor recipients consist of those who have experienced numerous rounds of failed IVF cycles, and have suffered a tremendous amount of stress and heartache along the way. Despite the failures and the acceptance that they won’t be able to conceive using their own eggs, they endure and persist, wanting to achieve their dream of having a baby. 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.

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.

No. We cover all testing and screening costs (worth thousands of dollars) for your health screening which provides valuable information about your health and genetic history. This information is provided to you regardless of whether you are accepted into the program or not. We also insure you to cover any medical expenses related to the egg donation. Rarely, some donors’ private insurance may require co-insurance or a medical visit fee for pap smears. Also, your academic institution may require a fee to provide your official transcripts.

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.

At your morning monitoring appointments, we will draw your blood to assess your hormone levels. Following the blood draw, we will evaluate your ovaries using an ultrasound. This will show us how your follicles are growing and help us determine your evening medication dosage. It may be 3 or 4 nights of medication at the beginning of the cycle but that will change to every day or every other day. The donation cycle usually lasts for 10-14 days. We’ll provide an calendar for you follow and we’ll call to remind you of your monitoring appointments and advice you of your evening medication dosages.

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.

Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs

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 compensated for your time and services. And if you are matched with a recipient, you should know that fresh egg donation is a more complicate 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

  • Once accepted, you can donate right away and you can donate up to 6 times.
  • You receive your compensation after you’ve completed your donation.
  • You can donate locally; there’s no need to travel.
  • Upon approval, you can donate more than once, and you’ll work with the same team each time you donate.

To learn more about the advantages of frozen egg donation versus fresh egg donation, read our blog Fresh or Frozen Egg Donation? What Does it Mean for You, the Egg Donor.

Locations

No. Egg banks like ours are different from traditional egg donor agencies, where donors are often required to travel far to the recipients’ IVF clinic for the egg retrieval procedure. Every part of the donor egg process will happen at a local site in a city near you. Learn about the other advantages of donating through a donor egg bank here.

During the course of an egg donation cycle, you will be required to come to the 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.

Referral Program

We have two referral programs:

  • 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/or completes an egg donation cycle, you can earn up to $200.
  • Donors-only program: If you’re a donor at Fairfax EggBank, this referral reward increases. If you refer a friend and she is accepted into our program and/or 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.

Risks and Side Effects

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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. To read more about the effects donation can have on fertility, click here.

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.

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.

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