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. US Citizen or Valid Work Visa/Green Card
  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 you haven’t heard back in 1-2 weeks please check your spam folder. 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.

Can I donate if my tubes are tied?

Yes, you can still donate your eggs if your tubes are tied. For more information, 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.

I recently gave birth, when will I be eligible to donate my eggs?

You’ll be taking hormone medications for the egg donation cycle, therefore, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you won’t be eligible to donate. However, you’ll be eligible again once you’re least 5 months postpartum, are no longer breastfeeding, and have had at least 2 consecutive normal periods.

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 or equivalent as a minimum. This is also to ensure our donors understand and have informed consent throughout the entire process.

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

Adopted and donor-conceived 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.

We want to provide intended parents with the ability to share comprehensive medical history with their donor-conceived child.

Am I eligible if I have mental health issues?

Eligibility will depend on severity, length of symptoms, medication usage, family prevalence, and other factors pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of the mental health issue. 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. We reference standard guidelines in the industry.

Am I eligible if I have endometriosis or PCOS?

For the safety of the donors, those with endometriosis and PCOS are not eligible to become egg donors with our program. 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 or a contraceptive implant such as Implanon or Nexplanon?

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 or remove your contraceptive implant. You may choose to use another form of contraceptive such as birth control pills, the patch, Nuva Ring or an IUD (non hormonal preferred). In addition, if you choose to discontinue using Depo Provera or remove your contraceptive implant in order to participate with us, we would need to wait until you have two consecutive menstrual cycles before we can complete 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 or removing your contraceptive implant.

What if I have an IUD can I donate eggs?

If you have any IUD non hormonal or hormonal, such as Mirena or Skyla, you will be able to donate, pending your test results. As long as your testing parameters are within our program limits we will allow you to cycle with your IUD in place. If there are concerns we may give you the option to have your hormonal IUD removed with your own physician and retest to see if you qualify.

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. For more information, click here.

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.

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 currently smoke or vape 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 3-6 months), then we encourage you to reapply. This also includes any nicotine ingested including nicotine gum, patch, or any other nicotine products. 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 medical and/or genetic conditions, and psychological conditions, along with age of onset, as well as any deaths 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. In addition, we want to provide intended parents with the ability to share comprehensive medical history with their donor-conceived child.

Reimbursements for Egg Donors

How much are reimbursements?

Reimbursement for completing a cycle is several thousand dollars. You can learn the exact reimbursement amount after you complete a medical application and during your interview with your donor coordinator. In addition to the cycle reimbursement, donors receive the following benefits:

– Earn up to $500 once accepted into 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 you will get reimbursed quickly.

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

Can I refer a friend to be a donor?

Yes! We have a referral 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! Contact your coordinator for more details.

Egg Donation Process

Do I need to be selected by an egg donor recipient to participate?

We are an egg bank, so unlike fresh egg 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 intended parents 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 during your mental health evaluation.

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, including genetic screening, and a mental health evaluation including a health history and an evaluation of your comfort level with the donor egg program.

What do monitoring appointments involve?

During your donation cycle, you will be required to come to the office for monitoring appointments. These appointments are typically in the morning and will include a blood draw, to evaluate hormone levels, and/or vaginal ultrasound, to measure your follicles. These help in determining your medication dosing 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 3-4 months. It takes about 2-3 months to complete the screening process and 1-2 months to complete each cycle.

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

Egg donor agencies focus on fresh egg donations, while egg banks focus on frozen donor eggs. With an 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. 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’ll receive your reimbursement after you’ve completed your donation 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 3-6 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. If you do not reside near any of our monitoring sites, we do offer a travel program. Learn more.

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.

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. Likewise, should there be any adverse outcomes reported from use of your donated eggs you will be notified by our genetics team with any pertinent information.

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 through the donation cycle. Pregnancy is a preventable risk. 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. 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?

You will be self-administering injectable medications over the course of several days using a very small needle by pinching your skin and injecting the medication. You will feel the pinch more than you will feel the needle.

For the actual egg retrieval, you won’t feel anything since you’ll be asleep under twilight 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.

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

What if complications occur and I need medical treatment?

As an egg donor at Fairfax EggBank, you will be covered under a primary insurance policy for any complications directly related to your donation cycle. 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 under the parameters of the policy.

Will I gain weight?

The process will not cause you permanent weight gain – you may gain a few pounds during the egg donation process because of bloating and larger ovaries, but this should 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 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.

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 become mothers or have more children after they donate. 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 are recruited to mature inside follicles. However, usually only one follicle reaches maturity and releases 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 were naturally recruited for that cycle. We are only able to stimulate and retrieve the recruited eggs for that month. We are unable simulate or retrieve follicles or eggs that your body did not select 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 hormone 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.

How long do I take 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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