Egg Donation: Back to the Basics

So you’ve decided to apply to become an egg donor. Congrats on making such a powerful decision! Many people dream of having a family of their own, and egg donation is a safe and generous way to help those who have trouble conceiving on their own. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about the egg donation process – with helpful tips along the way.

Before You Apply

To streamline your application process, here are a couple of basic things you should know.

1.  There are qualifications you’ll need to pass in order to become an egg donor. At Fairfax EggBank, donors must:

  • Be between the ages of 19 and 31
  • Possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have a BMI in the range of 18-26 (BMI Calculator)
  • Live within 2 hours of one our partnering satellite clinics
  • Be physically and mentally healthy
  • Have no reproductive disorders or abnormalities, and have regular periods and both ovaries (those who had a tubal ligation are still eligible)
  • Not be currently pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Be willing to undergo a medical and psychological evaluation
  • Be willing to administer injectable medications, undergo an outpatient procedure, and can commit to the process for at least 5-8 months
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have a current work visa or Green Card

 

2.  You’ll need to be prepared with and supply important medical information about yourself and your family. This includes information on your parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles on both sides of your family. To learn some tips on how to get family history, click here. 

We understand we’re asking for a lot of information, but all of it is necessary in order for us to assess any potential risk for the donor-conceived child of inheriting genetic diseases. We also want to make sure we understand your health thoroughly; the last thing we want to do is put your safety at risk if you were at increased risk for developing medical complications from an egg donation cycle.

 

3.  You should think through thoroughly on whether you’re prepared to become an egg donor. Read our readiness assessment. Also, we encourage you to research and even ask other egg donors, if you can, about what their experience was like. But be wary about what you read and make sure you’re questioning whether the article is based on evidence and science, since there are a lot of myths out there on egg donation. Rest assured, there is no evidence showing any long term effects of egg donation on your health; it doesn’t lead to an increased risk for cancer, infertility, or premature menopause. Also, know that Fairfax EggBank is one of the biggest and most experienced egg banks in the country, and we take great lengths to protect the safety of our donors. Of note, our team along with a mental health professional will meet with you to explain our process and any potential risks in honest detail; no donor voluntarily agrees to be in our program without being fully informed.

 

The Application

Once you have gathered all information listed above, you’ be ready to start the initial online application. Here are some tips for creating a strong application:

  1. Check out the program requirements before starting the application to see if you qualify.
  2. Be truthful and thorough! This is most important. All answers are verifiable with medical testing and interviews during the screening process.

Complete the initial application online and upload 2-3 recent photos of yourself with the application.  You’ll be notified immediately if you’ve been approved to move on to the next step in the application process.

Next, you’ll be asked to complete our full medical application. This is where you’ll need to supply the medical history of three generations of your family. Make sure to be as thorough and thorough as possible; otherwise the back and forth between you and our coordinator to clarify answers will delay the review process. Our clinical geneticist will review your application and let you know if you’re eligible to move on within 1-2 weeks.

 

The Screening Phase

If approved, you’ll be invited to complete an online information session which provides in-depth details about the screening and donation process as well as a quiz.  You must answer all the questions correctly to complete the session, but don’t worry: you can retake the quizzes as many times as necessary until you get the answers right.

Upon completion of the information session, our donor egg coordinator will schedule a virtual or in-person interview with you.  During this interview, the coordinator will provide more information about the donation process, review your medical history, and answer any questions that you may have.

If you pass the information session and interview, we’ll reward you with a $50 gift card!

Following the interview, you’ll begin medical screening.  The screening will happen in three steps:

Step 1:

A lab visit for a urine drug test and hormone testing.  The results of this visit will determine if you can continue on to the next steps.

Step 2:

A clinic visit for a physical exam, vaginal ultrasound, and genetic and infectious disease testing.

Step 3:

A clinic or office visit for a psychological evaluation.

 

If you complete all 3 steps, you’ll receive another bonus: a $150 gift card!

After all the screening is complete, the Donor Egg Coordinator, Program Manager, and Medical Director will do a final review of your information to determine your acceptance into the program. If you’re accepted, then you’ll receive yet another bonus: a $300 gift card!

Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll schedule an appointment with a professional photographer to take headshots. These photos will eventually be added to your profile for recipients to review.

The next phase is the egg donation cycle.

 

The Egg Donor Cycle

We’ll teach you how to administer injections; the injections will include hormones that stimulate the maturation of multiple follicles (each follicle will contain an egg). We get that needles can be scary, but don’t fret: the needles are very thin and small, and we promise it gets easier day by day. 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.

You’ll have several monitoring appointments at the clinic during the donation cycle. These are typically done early in the morning so that it doesn’t interfere with your daily schedule. The appointments allow the doctor to track the eggs’ maturity and determine the proper amount of medications that you should take from appointment to appointment.

You may experience side effects from the medications that will mimic PMS-like symptoms. Here is a blog that better explains a donor’s experience and how she described the injections. When your ovaries are ready, you’ll be instructed to take a trigger shot to promote ovulation. Your egg retrieval procedure will be scheduled within 36 hours of the trigger shot.

 

Egg Retrieval

During the procedure, anesthesia will be used so you do not feel any discomfort and will be able to sleep through the procedure. The physician will use an ultrasound machine to carefully guide a needle through the vagina and into your ovaries.  The procedure is short, averaging 15 – 20 minutes. After the retrieval is complete, you’ll spend about an hour in recovery. Afterwards, the most common symptoms are cramping, spotting and bloating.

After the procedure you’ll need to take the rest of the day off to recover, so load up on your favorite TV shows.

You’ll receive compensation for your egg donation after the retrieval.

 

Follow-Up

If you’re like most of our egg donors, you’ll be able to resume normal activities the very next day. Some egg donors may continue to experience side effects the next day, so make sure to listen to your body.  Your next period should start in 1 to 2 weeks.

Be sure to let us know if you wish to donate again. Most of our egg donors donate more than once, and the subsequent cycles get easier and easier. Future cycles can be completed pretty quickly: within one to two months!

 

Okay, you’ve done it! You have finished the egg donation process. You have just given a precious gift to someone in need. We hope this was helpful in simplifying a very complex process. If you have any further questions please visit our FAQ page or contact us at donor@fairfaxeggbank.com so a donor coordinator can follow up with you.